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Zsa Zsa Gabor forced to sell $28-million Bel-Air home to pay medical bills, debt, husband says

Anhalt Medical bills, meager savings and crushing debt have pushed the husband of ailing actress Zsa Zsa Gabor to put their Bel-Air mansion on the market for $28 million, he said Tuesday.

Frederic Prinz von Anhalt said he made the decision Saturday when Gabor returned home from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after having most of her right leg amputated.

"I just want to settle my wife's debts and keep her comfortable," von Anhalt said Tuesday during a tour of the home he gave to the news media. "The upkeep alone per month on the house is $35,000. It gives me a big headache, and I cannot afford to keep paying it."

Gabor, 93, has no health insurance besides Medicare, bringing her monthly medical bills to $21,000, he said.

"She partied with the rich and famous, flirted and sometimes got married," von Anhalt said. "She did not think of the future."

Von Anhalt described his wife's condition as "not very good." Although her leg is healing, Gabor is suffering from mucus in her lungs, liver problems and sporadic fevers, and she cannot talk or recognize her surroundings, he said. The "Moulin Rouge" star will likely never recover enough to get into a wheelchair.

"She has to stay in bed the rest of her life," he said.

Clad in a natty wool jacket, alligator loafers and gold jewelry, Gabor's ninth and longest-lasting husband gave a tour of the spacious 28-room, 12,000-square-foot mansion built by Howard Hughes and once inhabited by Elvis Presley.

In the pastel-colored living room dotted with oil paintings of a younger Gabor smiling regally, von Anhalt pointed to an olive satin canopy bed Gabor prizes as the site of "all her love affairs, starting with [John F.] Kennedy."

"I joked with her that for each lover you put a pillow down, but do you know which pillow is for which lover?" von Anhalt said, shaking his head at his wife's legendary romantic exploits. "She would not want me to sell it."

Also not for sale is the mirrored dining room table that has been the site of many a dinner party graced by political and Hollywood elites: Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Henry Kissinger, Elizabeth Taylor and both former Presidents Bush, he said.

Von Anhalt said he has already been inundated with calls from interested buyers, many from China and Russia, who are interested in owning the house for the investment and bragging rights. But the one condition of sale is that Gabor be allowed to live in the house for the rest of her life, he said.

"I will not misuse my power of attorney," he said. "Whatever I do, I do in my wife's favor. Whatever comes in will go into her account."

John Blanchette, Gabor's longtime publicist, said von Anhalt's devotion to his wife won him over after initial skepticism.

"Every night he will watch 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' with her," Blanchette said. "And read her the rags because she likes hearing what's going on in the tabloids."

The Hungarian actress, long the darling of tabloids herself, suffered several health problems in recent years, including a stroke in 2005 and a fall last year requiring hip surgery. Earlier in January, doctors amputated her right leg above the knee to stem an infection that had taken root in the bone.

But during the tour, von Anhalt preferred to reminisce about his wife's feisty nature. During their honeymoon in Munich in 1986, he recalled, Gabor threw away her passport because she wanted a new one that included the title "Princess."

And after her fall last year, Gabor kept her wits enough in the emergency room to shave 13 years off her age.

"She always wanted to be a princess," he said. "And that is OK. Women are like that."

On the terrace, which has views of downtown Los Angeles and Catalina Island, von Anhalt broke his stern demeanor and pointed out two toilets nestled in the foliage on the side of the house.

The toilets, he said, were put there to taunt a former neighbor who took issue with their Latino groundskeeper because of his race. Von Anhalt suggested his groundskeeper place the toilets there so the neighbor could have something new to look at.

The house should sell fairly quickly, von Anhalt said.

"The economy doesn't mean a thing in Bel-Air," he said. "The prices of houses just go up."

But, he added, that does not mean he and Gabor are wealthy.

"I am sick of hiding behind two words: Rich and famous," he said. "We may be famous, but we are not rich."


Zsa Zsa Gabor still critical, unresponsive after surgery

Zsa Zsa Gabor doing well after leg amputation, publicist says

-- Shan Li in Bel-Air

Photo: Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (72)

Wow. If this isn't proof that failing to plan is planning to fail, I don't know what is.

Boo hoo. They have a $28M home but she has no health insurance? Sorry for her illness but no sympathy for having to sell their home.

How is that possible? Doesn't she have medicare?

This guy is a con man he is going to steal her money and leave her high and dry what a shame!

It says she has Medicare, but couldn't she buy private insurance as many of us do?

"She always wanted to be a princess," he said. "And that is OK. Women are like that."

god, man, get out more and stop generalizing. HOW old are you?

Time for Prince Whats-his-name to find gainful employment for the first time in his life instead of leeching off of his sugar-mama. What a scam-artist.

Geeze, how'd you like to be in her situation, depending on someone as sleazy as "von" Anhalt?

Pity her more for that than for the infirmities of age.

Just think, when Obamacare takes effect, the super rich will no longer be denied the free medical care that they deserve.

Forgive me for saying so, but you when start amputating legs on an otherwise fully ailing 93-year old, you're just getting in God's way.

@ tornadoes28 & Lorelei

Unbelievable questions are you that stupid and out of touch with the reality of the situation? For Christ's sake, I can't even afford insurance and I'm a regular Joe...I had to forego insurance because the rates were unbelievably high, god forbid if I had any illness!!! There are 53,000,000 Americans unemployed right now and that is a conservative number. Health Insurance is privatized and out of reach for most people and education sucks in the US...both are imperitive for a democracy to function correctly and the US lacks basic human necessities...it doesn't matter if Zsa Zsa saved it's impossible to make ends meet if you are unfortunate like her.

Finally @ tornadoes28 it's apathetic folks like you that make living in LA even more miserable...you are a quintessential ass****.

She is still a big star, It’s the pictures that got small.

A living will is a good way avoid the indignity and cost of futile medical procedures.

my god you people are harsh

"Just think, when Obamacare takes effect, the super rich will no longer be denied the free medical care that they deserve."

But that's what the death panels are for. Or didn't you get the memo from Fox?

I can't believe the gall of someone who owns a $28 Million home to be on medicare. This is the problem with the healthcare in this country. People like her get medicare, and the politicians - all of whom vote against any comprehensive health care for the rest of us.

What? How is she going to leave money behind for her dogs?

As someone once said about another blabbing celebrity: "If he moves his lips, he's lying."

$35,000 a month mansion maintenance ?
No one who has the capacity to keep a million dollar mansion running should be getting taxpayer funded medical .
Sorry , but Medicare should be for people who WORKED for a living , making normal wages for 40 years ,
If you live in Howard Hughes old mansion , pay ALL your own medical or carry private insurance .

@Larryman: Succinct and perfectly said.

Zsa Zsa has always doubled our pleasure! From her name to her outrageously wonderful antics she has kept us entertained and left us feelin' good. If she's at the end of the line (and it has been a long one) it's been one heck of a trip. Thanks for being you, Zsa Zsa.


As you coined it, Obamacare has nothing to do with providing health insurance for the rich you idiot.

it's about providing health care for the middle and lower class citizens and so us tax payers are not paying the sky high emergency room bills from the uninsured and from people who do not have access to preventative care!!!!!

Wake up!!!!!!!

I don't think we're harsh. But at some point we really have to get over the idea that heroic levels of care to simply tack on a few more crummy months to a mostly fabulous 93 years is somehow disrespectful of those 93 years. It's ok to let to go.

Agree with Rob at 2:55 pm. Not just harsh, but lacking all courtesy and civility.

This is why we desperately need health care reform. And we don't need the insurance companies to middle our health care. We need a single payer system like the rest of the industrial nations.

No house is worth $28,000,000.

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