Why Rod Stewart is selling LA home for $70M — train set not included

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At 78, Sir Rod Stewart still seems to have the drive and the energy of a man half his age; if he’s not racing across the world to perform, he’s housing Ukrainians, making new albums and even filling in potholes outside his UK home. 

The “Maggie May” singer, claimed earlier this year, ahead of his tour of Australia that “life could not be better” insisting that he was in no mood to join the “pipe and slippers club yet.” 

And in the next few weeks he will be embarking on the latest leg of his world tour in the UK, performing to some of his biggest crowds at arenas and in the grounds of stately homes, accompanied by Boy George and Culture Club.

He’s also just brought out his own line of whisky claiming it depicted “the carefree behavior of my more mischievous days and the excitement of what life still has to offer.”

But, at the same time, he’s been knocked by the deaths of some of his dearest friends and family; a reminder that even rock legends aren’t immortal.

So it is no surprise he is getting his affairs in order, including putting his ornate $70million LA mansion up for sale. 

While the European-style 33,000 square feet home, which comes with a pool and its own soccer field, might have been one of his main houses since 1991, in truth it hasn’t been home for some years.

The London-born singer returned to the UK with third wife Penny Lancaster and their two sons in 2016 where he lives in a $5million home in Essex, just outside London. 

The biggest sign that he was leaving LA for good was when he spent $85,000 shipping his enormous 124ft long model railroad — he objects to the term train set — which depicts an American city in the 1940s inspired by Manhattan, to his new Essex home. 

“I am moving my model railroad from America over to here,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

The model, 100ft long and 23ft wife, is his pride and joy, built over a quarter of a century while touring.

The singer, who bought his LA mansion for $12.8million is also likely to make a very healthy profit on it; ensuring financial security not only for his last years, but also for his 8 children. he is keeping his Palm Beach home, where the family often spends Christmases.

Late last year Rod lost two of his beloved older brothers, Bob, 88, and Don, 94 in quick succession.

Describing his late siblings as “irreplaceable buddies,” Rod who also has two sisters named Peggy and Mary, said he was devastated to have lost “two of my best mates in the space of two months.” 

And then earlier this year his great friend, the guitarist Jeff Beck – who gave Rod’s career a kickstart — passed away after contracting bacterial meningitis aged 78.

Posting an epitaph on Instagram the sad star wrote: “Jeff, you were the greatest, my man. Thank you for everything.”

“Rod is incredible for a man his age and still has boundless energy but he’s always been canny so it’s no surprise that he’s thinking about what happens when he can no longer perform,” says a UK source close to the singer.

“He also wants to make sure everyone is well looked after when he’s no longer around. And he is also really thinking about how he ensures his legacy.”

Along with the sale of the house, Rod has been in talks to sell his music catalog although so far, he has not found a buyer he is happy with.

Last week the singer, who has sold more than 250 million records and has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, pulled out of a two-year negotiation process with Hipgnosis Songs Capital, an investment company.

“It’s become abundantly clear after much time and due diligence that this was not the right company to manage my song catalog, career or legacy,” he said.

Rod has always been famous for his sunny demeanor but friends insist he is serious when he says he has never been happier. 

A lot of that contentment is down to Penny, 52, a former photographer whom he married in 2007.

The daytime television presenter, who also volunteers as the British equivalent of a police auxiliary after falling in love with the job during a reality show, has been a stabilizing force. 

She’s not only brought all of his kids from disparate wives and girlfriends together, but even their mothers too, creating the very image of a blended family. 

Last summer Rod and Penny enjoyed a three-week vacation in Italy with seven of his children.

Some of them have caused him heartache over the years but all are in good places now, and close to their father even if they barely saw him growing up. He is also a proud grandfather of three– including two grandsons born this year.  

He once complained at how spoilt his children were – saying: “I believe in tough love…I wish one of them would get a job. It’d be nice to see another wage slip coming into the house.”

But now the eldest all have careers of their own – even if they might still depend on their dad’s help. 

“There have been some messy, painful times but Rod can genuinely look at his family with happiness now,” says the source. 

Indeed, the singer said earlier this year: “I’ve got eight loving children who are not embarrassed to be seen with me; they’re very proud of me and I’m very proud of them.”

Rod’s eldest is Sarah Streeter, 59, the result of a teen romance with Susannah Boffey who was raised by adopted parents. Once hooked on cocaine and crack, she became closer to Rod when her adoptive parents died and now works as a carer.

In a rare interview in 2018 she said: “Our relationship has evolved a lot in the last few years. It’s taken time because he’s not just my dad, is he? He’s a big star.

“So, of course, that makes it difficult. But over the years it has become much more relaxed and now he’s just Dad to me.”

Next came Kimberly, 43, with first wife, ex model, Alana Stewart. She tried her hand at modeling and acting, and then reality television.

A mother of one – 11-year-old Delilah who was born after a brief fling with actor Benicio Del Toro – she now runs a luxury lifestyle curating service; otherwise known as throwing out other people’s junk, called The Realm.  

Her younger brother Sean, 42, was a troubled young man who was arrested several times for assault. He once said: “I’ve done enough drugs to kill Hollywood.”

He became clean after going on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008 and now has a clothing company called Dirty Weekend, which has been endorsed by his dad.

We revealed last month how he had cashed in his inheritance to rebrand it — and spent the lot.

Sean married TV producer Jody Weintraub in Los Vegas in a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ ceremony after he proposed on Valentine’s Day this year. 

Rod’s fourth child, 35-year-old daughter Ruby from his romance with model Kelly Emberg, is a musician who has performed with her dad as well as part of a country music duo called The Sisterhood. In May she gave birth to a son, Otis, and she is engaged to partner Jake Kalick. 

The singer had two children from his marriage to New Zealand model Rachel Hunter – Renee, now 31, and Liam, 28.

Renee is a dancer and yoga teacher while Liam is a professional ice hockey player. In May Liam announced the birth of his first son, Louie, showing a picture of him wearing the colors of Rod’s favorite soccer team – Celtic, which plays in Glasgow, Scotland.

The team’s logo is tiled into the bottom of his Los Angeles swimming pool.

His younger two sons, from his marriage to Penny, Alastair, 17, and Aiden, 12, are still at school in London. Alastair is already working as a model, working for luxury clothing brand Palm Angels while young Aiden is a budding footballer – just like his soccer-loving grandfather was. 

So many kids and grandkids are enough to keep anyone busy but as well as touring his old hits Rod is planning a new one to go with the release of a swing album with British star Jools Holland, who coincidentally has his own model railroad..

He’s also been getting involved in charitable works and when Russia invaded Ukraine and refugees flooded Europe, he agreed to house a Ukrainian family, with two of them also working with him. 

Perhaps most surprisingly, a year ago he filmed himself shoveling gravel into potholes on a road near his home because he claimed the local authorities couldn’t “be bothered to do it.”

He posits his good health with being a regular in the gym and still playing soccer. He may be preparing to get old but the pipe and slippers may be on hold for some time.

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