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The Celebrity Next Door

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The annoyances of having a famous neighbor aren’t limited to the scrum of paparazzi peeking over your hedges. Taxi star Judd Hirsch made news recently for his plans to erect a 177-foot wind turbine. (He says he’s going green; his Catskills neighbors fear decreased property values and ice flung from its blades.) But these eight prove, as far as celebs who’ve terrorized the block, it could be worse.

The Hot-Rodder:
Justin Bieber
Loud music at all hours, hundred-mile-per-hour vehicular terror, face spitting—Justin Bieber is his Calabasas, California, neighborhood’s enfant terrible. His neighbors threatened to withhold homeowners’ dues in June after the Biebs’s Ferrari flew by Keyshawn Johnson’s daughter. The former NFL receiver chased him down in his own car—a Prius.

The Litterer:
James Franco
James Franco’s Silver Lake neighbors in L.A. have filed grievances claiming his modest bungalow is doubling as “a major production company.” His heaps of trash blow into nearby yards, they say, and one adds that his on-site security swipes her parking spaces and violates her privacy, “leer[ing]” at her “every chance they get.”

The Street Hog:
Will Smith
Despite having the run of a $25,000-a-month Bond Street apartment while filming Men in Black III, Will Smith still required two trailers parked on Soho streets: a 1,150-square-foot main residence called The Heat with marble floors and flat-screens, plus another 55-footer with a full-size gym. “That thing,” seethed one angry neighbor, “is taking up half our gasoline reserve.”

The Expansionists:
The Romneys
Since the summer, Mitt and Ann Romney have battled neighbors who don’t want the would-be First Couple leveling their 3,000-square-foot La Jolla beachfront home to erect an 11,000-square-foot mansion. The blueprints were decried as “an unacceptable premise” and in violation of code. Last month, however, a commission gave the green light, meaning there will be a Romney car elevator after all.

The Vocal Lovers:
Katy Perry and John Mayer
When they first got together, the couple shacked up in her West Hollywood apartment (the building’s previous occupants have included Cary Grant and Bette Davis). To pass the time, the two made a habit of having “very loud sex, keep[ing] very late hours and … turn[ing] up the tunes,” reported Star.

The Graffitist:
Chris Brown
Chris Brown faced a fine for a mural with fanged Pac-Man-style goblins that showed up on the side of his Hollywood Hills home. Previous neighbors of his condo complained that “his posse” raced dogs down the hallway, occupied handicap-parking spots, and at one point allegedly carved “C.B.” into the elevator doors.

The Landmark Cheat:
David Schwimmer
David Schwimmer razed a historic East Village townhouse, denying it landmark status and inciting angry preservationist neighbors. When a construction barrier went up in August, a graffito materialized out front: ROSS IS NOT COOL.

The Fire-Starter:
Amanda Bynes
In July, weeks after allegedly tossing a bong down 32 floors in New York, Bynes drenched her Pomeranian and herself in gas as she set fire to a driveway in her parents’ neighborhood in Thousand Oaks, California. A passerby reported a “pantsless” girl who fled in a “large blonde wig.”

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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