All of Hollywood is talking about the demise of A-list sweethearts Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams — but the pair’s Boerum Hill neighbors are much more interested in the real gossip: who will get the couple’s $3.5-million Hoyt Street brownstone!
“I’m more concerned about who buys the place,” said Chi Chu, 40, who has lived on Dean Street for seven years, directly across from the couple also known as “Heathandmichelle.”
The “Brokeback Mountain” stars bought the three-story brownstone at the corner of Hoyt and Dean streets, for $3.5 million in 2005 from Australian actress Nell Campbell. If you believe the Oz tabloids, Ledger and Williams had fled his multi-million-dollar beach house in Sydney earlier that year because they were fed up with the paparazzi.
Naturally, Ledger and Williams started to loosen up after the move to Brooklyn — to the point where he was sometimes spotted riding around on his skateboard and she was seen pushing their daughter Matilda around in a stroller.
And both even joined the fight against Atlantic Yards, lending their names to be used by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.
But the beginning of the end — for Brooklyn, at least — came last year, when the couple plunked down $2.3 million for a Hollywood Hills home they called “The Treehouse.” At the time, Ledger told The Brooklyn Paper that the couple simply needed “a place to drop our bags” and that they were firmly committed to keeping their Brooklyn ZIP code.
For now, apparently, only one will. And that gossip — good, old-fashioned real-estate gossip — is what has the neighbors talking.
If they do sell, they should get their money’s worth, said local real-estate broker Howard Lev of All Points Realty in Downtown Brooklyn.
The neighborhood has only gotten stronger since they bought,” Lev said. “Rents in Boerum Hill are going up, and the condos being built are selling out. So with a three-car garage and who knows what other kinds of amenities inside, I don’t see them taking a loss.”
The romance between Ledger, 28, and Williams, 26, ignited three years ago while they were filming “Brokeback,” the Academy-Award-winning movie about a 20-year relationship between Wyoming cowboys. Ledger and Williams played a married couple whose relationship rapidly deteriorates, thanks to all that nekkid rasslin’ between the ranch hands.
In real life, Williams gave birth and shopped for the 3,600 square-foot Boerum Hill brownstone around the same time as the couple promoted the movie. At the time, Ledger and Williams were reportedly renting a townhouse a few blocks away in Carroll Gardens. Ledger invited some of his new Brooklyn neighbors to the New York premiere of the film, according to Australian newspapers.
Earlier this year, the couple applied for a marriage license in Brooklyn, sparking tabloid speculation about a secret wedding, but the couple has neither confirmed nor denied those rumors (though they had been seen wearing rings).
While the mainstream tabloid media remained in a tizzy over the couple, Boerum Hill remained calm, which is what the actors apparently wanted in the first place.
“I think that’s why so many L.A. people move to New York,” said Peter Morgano, 27, of Bay Ridge, who also works at the Boerum Hill Food Company. “There is sort of an anti-celebrity mentality here, and they think they can come here and hide out.”
Other area residents said the departure of Heathandmichelle would be treated the same way as their arrival: with little fanfare.
“It didn’t cause any great uproar when they moved in and I don’t think it will change much when they leave,” said Eric Gielow, 32, who lives on Wyckoff Street, just two blocks from the ill-fated couple. “It’s funny to me that people care as much as they do about celebrity relationships.”
Besides, added Caroline Hill, 25, who works at the Boerum Hill Food Company on Smith Street, “I never saw them together anyway.”