If you really want to know a celebrity, you have to get on the inside — like, literally on the inside of their house. Just ask , who's been in real estate for over 25 years and has gained insight into the lives of the rich and famous by helping them sell their homes. Cosmopolitan.com spoke to Dolly and her daughter, Jenny Lenz (who joined the real estate business after a lifetime of celebrity property visits with Mom), about what they've learned over the years.
1. Celebrities will go to great lengths to ensure their homes are safe. "We've had requests or demands for a safe room," Jenny says. "Somewhere where the celebrity, in the event of an attack, is able to run to and have water, have another way of communication that can't be cut off from the outside. We have had safe rooms built into houses. We've never had one used though. That's the good news."
2. Non-famous people will indeed pretend to be interested in buying a house just to see how a celebrity lives. "[It happens] a million times a day," Dolly says. "Obviously we are the gatekeepers so we have to be very careful who we let into a home, and we have to vet them. [The vetting process] completely depends on the person. Obviously if Leo DiCaprio is calling us, we know he can probably afford the place he's calling about so there's less vetting involved. But if someone calls and says their name is John Smith, we will either request a reference letter, generally a private banker's letter stating that this has been their client for so long and they can afford to buy the property they've requested to see. It's more to see that they're able to purchase than anything else and that we know they are exactly who they say they are."
3. Even celebrities want to live in the home of a celebrity. "Years ago, we went to contract on Barbra Streisand's penthouse, who I was representing, with Mariah Carey, who said she very specifically wanted to buy Barbra Streisand's penthouse," Dolly says. "That was the one she wanted because Barbra Streisand was her idol. It does happen — even celebs are starstruck."
4. Celebrities have some pretty crazy requests, like perfume fridges and beehives. "We've had clients want a perfume refrigerator separate from the normal refrigerator because apparently perfume goes stale if it stays out," Dolly says. "[One celebrity's] spouse has an allergy problem and apparently eating natural honey is good for you and no joke, they have a beehive on the roof," Jenny adds. "Like an actual beehive. They wanted to know that they could install a beehive, how would it work, could we get them a beekeeper and someone to make sure they would be able install it, keep it legally, checking all the zoning."
5. Celebrities want to be able to make a speedy getaway. "We've had many requests for the home to be a short ride or walking distance to a heliport, because they want to be able to get where they're going very quickly by helicopter," Jenny says.
6. Celebs will customize a home to fit their very specific needs. "So for example, in Diddy's home, he bought a normal three-bedroom apartment and turned it into a one bedroom apartment," Dolly says. "He turned an entire large bathroom into a lavish, mirrored wet bar."
7. A celebrity is usually the last person on their team to see a house. "[They're usually the last people to come] because [their team] have to make sure they would even like it," Jenny says. "They don't want to drag them through all these properties if they don't think it'll meet their criteria. Once they decide, OK, these two are something you would like, then the celebrity will come in." Dolly adds, "We've had celebrities buy homes they've never seen. Leo DiCaprio, he didn't see it until well along. Jenny met him the last day that he toured."
8. A celebrity's ideal bedroom includes its own kitchen. "[A morning kitchen] is a frequent request," Dolly says. "Very rarely do people even speak of a morning kitchen, most people don't even know what that means. And yet for some reason, the celebrities all know what they mean and they all want a morning kitchen and they all want one installed, even if they have to convert a bedroom or a bathroom. They're usually small, like a big closet. It includes an ice machine, generally, a refrigerator, a wet bar-type of situation, a sink, sometimes a Miele coffee maker built in."
9. Celebrities go the extra 100 miles to make sure their valuables are safe. "Another big thing is they want to be able to custom fit a built-in safe," Jenny says. "In some homes, we have a huge walk-in safe. They're big — I can walk into the safe, and so can someone much taller and bigger than I am."
This interview has been edited and condensed.