MTV Cribs was one of the most defining series of the early aughts. Over the course of its 19-season run, the show gave the world a glimpse into the homes of popular celebrities. Following a couple of short-lived spinoffs like CMT Cribs and MTV Canada’s own version, the network rebooted MTV Cribs as a Snapchat series in 2017, with each episode only being available for 48 hours.
Many stars gave tours of starter homes on the original series. While it’s crazy to believe that these celebs would later upgrade to even more lavish living quarters, other famous faces simply tried to keep up appearances and stay in line with what fans might expect from an A-lister’s home. This sometimes led to some embarrassing discoveries of upgraded cars and houses, which had been rented out just for the sake of filming. Along the way, the show popularized that often-quoted « where the magic happens » adage in reference to the bedroom, all thanks to Joey McIntyre, who was reportedly the first celeb to use the phrase on the show.
All that said, the pop culture landscape has undoubtedly changed since the early 2000s, which begs the question: Whatever happened to the houses on MTV Cribs?
Melissa Joan Hart: from MTV Cribs to Sabrina the adult home owner
Actress Melissa Joan Hart was a television staple for well over a decade. Following her starring turn on Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All, she completed a seven-season sitcom run as the title character in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. As Hart was nearing the end of the latter career-defining gig in 2001, she made time to share glimpse of her Spanish-style home on MTV Cribs.
In this season 2 episode, Hart shows off her gorgeous pad, which is filled with tons of Shirley Temple memorabilia, an impressive art collection that includes Picasso etchings and at least one print by the famed artist, and a whole lot of gin. However, the charming actress has since sold her Sherman Oaks, Calif. home, according to the Los Angeles Times. While continuing to steadily, albeit quietly, work in the entertainment industry, Hart has remained busy raising her three sons alongside musician husband Mark Wilkerson. While speaking with Architectural Digest in April 2019, the TV star revealed that the family of five decided to pack up their broomsticks and make a permanent move to their vacation home in Lake Tahoe.
Naomi Campbell lived that easy, breezy island life on MTV Cribs
Supermodel Naomi Campbell started her professional career at just 15 years old by gracing the covers of popular publications like the British versions of Elle and Vogue (via The Guardian). Basically, this modeling legend has been a dominant figure in the fashion industry for most of her life — and long before she played tour guide in Jamaica on MTV Cribs.
At the time, Campbell lived in author Ian Fleming’s historic and inspiring villa, where he famously wrote all 13 James Bond novels. While giving viewers an inside look at her residence in paradise, the English beauty (cat)walks through the sun-drenched home, which displays a fridge full of beer for friends but only soft drinks for her, photos of the late Nelson Mandela (who notably called her his honorary granddaughter), and colorful guest bedrooms galore.
Other celebrities have since come and gone from this ocean-front property, including the likes of Bono, Sting, and Pierce Brosnan, with each inhabitant leaving their imprint by planting and naming a tree in the private garden. In 2011, the Fleming Villa became part of the luxury Goldeneye Resort.
Redman had no need for luxury on MTV Cribs and beyond
Redman (real name Reginald Noble) was a popular figure in the ’90s hip-hop scene. As both a solo artist and half of the Method Man & Redman duo, he released several albums and nabbed a starring role alongside his musical collaborator in the 2001 stoner movie How High. By the second season of MTV Cribs, the audience began to expect to see each guest’s extravagant lifestyle — so when the cameras made the trip to Redman’s house, everyone was in for a big surprise.
The rapper’s tour of his modest Staten Island home ended up being one of the most popular episodes ever. In addition to not cleaning up before filming and ironing his clothes on the floor, Redman’s pad featured shoe boxes full of money. While speaking with Vlad TV years later, he called out the high expectations set by the series, which allegedly led other celebs to showcase fake home rentals and other facades on the show.
According to XXL, Redman has continued to live in this same simple house, likely because, as he explained on MTV Cribs, the location has given him the sense that he can always strive to move up while inspiring him to keep moving.
50 Cent spent much more than his stage namesake on his house
Curtis Jackson III, who’s better known by his stage name 50 Cent, got his start as a protégé of Eminem and skyrocketed to fame when his 2003 smash single, « In Da Club, » soared to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Two years later, the rapper simultaneously held three of the top five songs on the same coveted chart. With records like these, 50 Cent clearly earned the big bucks and was not shy about spending it, as seen on his episode of MTV Cribs.
Referring to his pad as the « East Coast Playboy Mansion, » 50 Cent’s Connecticut home is complete with 19 bedrooms, 35 baths, and a strip-club-esque area — all within the 50,000 square foot complex. However, it was later pointed out by viewers that the music star had rented out the three Ferraris that appear in front of his home. Perhaps he spent too much at the « Candy Shop » to afford these exotic supercars.
According to The Wall Street Journal, 50 Cent ultimately sold the expansive property after 12 years on the market in 2019, settling on $2.9 million instead of his original asking price of $18.7 million.
The Playboy Mansion, ever heard of it?
The actual Playboy Mansion — not 50 Cent’s Connecticut behemoth — was a Hollywood icon long before it was featured on E!’s The Girls Next Door. Variety reports that the late Hugh Hefner, a.k.a. the founder of Playboy magazine, purchased the mansion in 1971 for $1.05 million. Nearly four decades later and donned in his signature smoking jacket, Hefner and a few of his Playboy Bunnies show off the Los Angeles property in the season six premiere of MTV Cribs. At the time of filming, the mansion housed seven live-in girlfriends and boasted the legendary grotto, a staff of 80, and even its own zoo.
According to CNN, the mansion was later sold to Hostess co-owner Daren Metropoulos for $100 million, making it the most expensive property ever shown on MTV Cribs. Part of the purchase agreement was the stipulation that Hefner would live in the mansion for the remainder of his life. However, when the media mogul sadly passed away a year later at the age of 91, his death left many wondering what would happen to the famous home. In a statement released to the Los Angeles Times, Metropoulos vowed to restore the estate and even applied for the mansion to be designated as a landmark status … which was ultimately denied.
A private island is way more impressive than your average MTV Crib
Sir Richard Branson is a billionaire entrepreneur who got his start with Virgin Records in the early 1970s, before growing his Virgin Group to an omnipresent conglomerate consisting of music, airlines, telecommunications, and space travel divisions. Business Insider reports that Branson purchased the uninhabited Necker Island for $180,000 while he was just in his 20s, but was required to transform it into a luxury resort. By 2006, Branson told This is Money that the island was worth around $60 million.
MTV Cribs traveled to the destination just a few years prior to this claim, giving viewers a brief glimpse of the picturesque location, which features ten guest houses spaced out over 74 acres and, naturally, a Mariah Carey cameo towards the end.
While Necker Island sustained extensive damage when Hurricane Irma passed through in 2017, Branson has since returned the property back to its intended splendor. This private Caribbean island resort is typically vacationed by the ultra-rich. However, for a few so-called « Celebration Weeks » each year, the general public can book rooms starting at a low $3500 per night. Fun fact, the entire Nicki Swift team is free for anyone who would like to bring other fun people to this island paradise.
Mariah Carey: a true diva and her worthy pad
R&B superstar Mariah Carey got her start in music in the early ’90s. As of this writing, she’s the only artist to twice claim the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Decade-End list, which was helped by her 18 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 – the most by a solo artist. Outside of Carey’s reign in the music scene, her personality is truly one-of-a kind, which led to the perfect recipe during her MTV Cribs appearance. The network’s season four visit marked the first-ever episode dedicated to just one celeb.
In what’s still considered by many to be the best episode of the entire series, Carey guides viewers through her Tribeca triplex. Incredible tour highlights include the diva offering no explanation for being unable to show her bedroom or her piano which once belonged to Marilyn Monroe, managing a costume change while walking, and notoriously taking an on-screen bubble bath in a towel. As of 2017, Carey still lived in this impressive abode. She caught up with Vogue that same year to show how her already insane closet had grown since her MTV Cribs episode, and what it’s like sharing the space with her children — or « nesting, » as Carey called it.
Missy Elliott’s MTV Crib looks pretty tacky now
Much like the other celebrities featured on MTV Cribs, Melissa « Missy » Elliott was hitting the peak of her musical career in the early 2000s. With hit singles like « Get Ur Freak On » and « Work It, » the artist picked up four Grammy Awards and became the highest-selling female rapper ever. Elliott’s also carved out her unique personal style by popularizing tracksuits, fuzzy hats, and other articles that are considered streetwear in the modern fashion lexicon (via W magazine). Given her bravado from iconic music videos to the red carpet, it came to no surprise that her second home tour on MTV Cribs was congruent with this public lifestyle.
Oh yes, Elliott’s Florida condominium is on full display in this episode as the musician gives the world an updated look into her idea of luxury. According to BuzzFeed, the impressive pad includes nautical themed doors, a custom « Missy » water fountain, Lamborghini couches, a lounge chair with fish tanks in the arms, and an almost absurd Ferrari bed with a hidden shoe drawer.
The rapper eventually sold the place in 2014. While looking back years later gives us a mix of nostalgia, it also shows just how quickly trends can become dated. All that said, Elliott’s music career has undoubtedly adapted with the times, as she’s continued to churn out singles with the likes of Pharrell, Lizzo, Ciara, and even The Greatest Showman.
The Osbourne family’s house made its TV debut on MTV Cribs
Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne and his family had the honor of being in the very first episode of MTV Cribs. The multi-Grammy winner, who fronted one of the most legendary metal bands of all time, shows viewers around his Los Angeles home in a tour that includes cameos by wife Sharon, daughter Kelly, and son Jack. Unsurprisingly, the rocker’s house features satanic art pieces interspersed with child-friendly spaces (via Music Crowns). However, Osbourne’s odd personality and interactions with his famous family — including a young Kelly revealing that her Prince of Darkness father enjoys listening to the odd *NSYNC and Britney Spears hit — are by far the highlights of the episode.
All of this is said to have started the idea that the Osbourne clan should have their very own MTV reality series, per Hollywood.com. Indeed, less than two years later, the network launched The Osbournes. Throughout its 2002-2005 run, the series earned an Emmy and, according to E! News, was at one point MTV’s most-watched series. Variety reports that six years after Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne sold the mansion to none other than Christina Aguilera for $11.5 million in 2007, actress Miao Pu bought the property from the pop star.
No MTV Cribs list is complete without the Kardashian-Jenners
One of the most delicious throwbacks in the MTV Cribs archive is an episode featuring a young Kim Kardashian and cameos by the rest of the Kardashian-Jenner family. At this point in the mid-2000s, the popularity of The Osbournes inspired Ryan Seacrest to create a show in a similar vein, before gifting the world with Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Right before the long-running E! series began, Kimmy K. invited MTV’s cameras into former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and momager Kris Jenner’s Hidden Hills, Calif. home.
While explaining how she loves to bake, Kim points to a batch of cookies she recently threw together — which appear to be of the store-bought variety — before showing off her go-to move on a golden stripper pole in her bedroom (for exercising, she says). Outside, the TV personality has her custom white Range Rover with pink accents on full product-placement display in reference to her then-upcoming branded car wheel rim line. The audience also sees a two-story playhouse where little sisters — future model Kendall and « self-made billionaire » Kylie — often play.
After five seasons of being featured on KUWTK, this famous family home was sold, according to TMZ. However, the new owner demolished the mansion in 2012, after donating many of its components to Habitat for Humanity and spreading this piece of KarJenner history like dandelion seeds in the wind.
What’s your (dream home) fantasy?
Rapper Ludacris (real name Chris Bridges) was influential in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene before gaining popularity in the early 2000s with hits like « Rollout (My Business). » He later transitioned into acting with multiple appearances in The Fast and the Furious franchise and 2006’s best picture winner Crash. During his MTV Cribs appearance, Ludacris shows us part of his fantasy with an incredible A-town mansion.
His house — nicknamed « The Swamp » for its 3D hallway art — has a vinyl wall and a lion-themed bedroom with gold chains on the pillows and fox fur covering the bed. The property also boasts a football field and blacktop basketball court, complete with custom « Disturbing tha Peace » graffiti, in what the multi-talent calls the « biggest backyard in the world. »
It was the first home Ludacris ever purchased, and while he went on to move out and buy a gorgeous Hollywood Hills, Calif. mansion in 2014, the charitable rapper-actor kept the property and invited mom Roberta Shields to move in. Three years later, Ludacris got rid of his original bachelor pad decor and surprised his mother with a home makeover on My Houzz to better fit her style. « I’ve been wanting to do these changes and help my mom out and make sure I make her proud, » he said on the digital series. Cue the chorus of « awws. »
Not all MTV Cribs stories have a happy ending
Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons has been a major figure in the music industry since the mid-’80s, and is known for signing huge acts like Kanye West and Justin Bieber. In the fourth season of MTV Cribs, Simmons and his then-wife, model Kimora Lee Simmons, take viewers on a tour of their home, which was later featured on Style Network‘s Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane. The Saddle River, N.J. mansion includes indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym and sauna, ten bedrooms, and a movie theater — all on a 35,000 square foot property.
However, when this husband and wife duo officially divorced in 2008, they ultimately decided to sell the massive house and all of its lavish contents, including a bed previously owned by Gianna Versace (via NJ.com). After four years on the real estate market, Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons eventually settled on a $10 million sale, per Variety, which was quite the loss considering the exes purchased the mansion for $13.5 million. It’s well known that divorce is expensive but … ouch.
Wayne Newton’s house was entertaining on and off MTV Cribs
Legendary singer Wayne Newton started performing in the late ’50s and quickly became a staple in the Las Vegas entertainment scene, earning him the apt nickname « Mr. Las Vegas. » According to Travel + Leisure, the popular entertainer purchased a plot of land in Paradise, Nev. in 1966. After turning the site into his home, which includes a ranch and stable for his pure-bred Arabian horses, Newton continued to expand the property. He ultimately amassed 52 acres of land on which the 14,000 square foot mansion featured on season five of MTV Cribs resides. Featuring an opulent desert oasis complete with crystal banisters, a 17th-century French piano, rare artwork, and a vintage Rolls Royce collection, Newton’s home was later dubbed one of the show’s « Priciest Pads » by the network itself.
The Guardian reports that Newton opened up his entire estate — known as the Casa de Shenandoah — as a tourist attraction in 2015, meaning his so-called Wayniacs or mere admirers of grandeur could finally get an in-depth look at the singer’s self-designed home. According to the Los Angeles Times, this included a memorabilia room and a zoo with exotic animals. However, less than three years later, Newton decided to close the public attraction while he and his family have continued to live on the famed property.