The news has been everywhere recently that a Miami mansion once owned by Madonna was being sold for $31.75 million by a filthy rich German whose pedigree includes some top-notch Teutonic royals—and is a dog.
As the Associated Press—and many, many other outlets—reported, the princely pup named Gunther VI “lives in Madonna’s former master bedroom” and boasts a lineage which “dates back decades to when Gunther III inherited a multimillion-dollar trust from late owner German countess Karlotta Liebenstein when she died in 1992. Since then, a group of handlers have helped maintain a jet-setting lifestyle for a succession of dogs.”
Those minders supposedly included actual New York real estate human Ruthie Assouline, who was handling the massive listing, and which is a veritable king’s ransom compared to the $7.5 million kibbles Madonna got for it almost 20 years ago.
The 63-year-old icon took the news in stride, posting an Instagram story featuring a photo of herself looking cutely bemused with her cheeks in her fists beside screencaps of articles about the allegedly moneyed mutt, captioned with “When you find out a dog is selling your old house for 3 times the amount you sold it for!” and “Too much [greatness] in 1 house.”
Fortunately, the AP included the mitigating line, “At least that’s what the handlers who manage the estate say.” Fortunately, because it turns out that one could be fined for leaving this story on the sidewalk.
“There is no dog sleeping in Madonna’s former bedroom,” a source tells the New York Post. “This is a totally made up story. The broker is talking nonsense. There is no dog. There never was a dog. The owner thought it would be a fun way to score a reality TV show. That’s it.”
According to the Posties, Assouline is indeed selling the Tuscan-style villa on Biscayne Bay for the stately sum, but her eccentric client is an Italian, not German, entrepreneur named Maurizio Mian, who is of Homo sapiens stock rather than canine.
Assouline tells the paper that any hoax is news to her, saying, “At first I thought it was insane, but I saw that other people left money to their pets… How could it be an illusion? I see photos and I google things—Gunther went to an auction and bought a $1.1 million truffle. There is so much information and so much history.”
That “history” was allegedly Mian’s own creation—a tall tale he’s been peddling since at least 2005, when he first picked up the Material Girl’s digs for that $7.5 million.
And if you don’t believe the Post, there’s the minor snag that all animals—no matter how many sweaters you stuff them into—are property, and therefore cannot own property in the U.S., though you can set up a trust to see to their care once you go to people heaven.
Confronted with his deceit, Mian told the Post, “It’s complicated.”
Meanwhile, in actual Madonna news, she posted pictures of herself to Instagram last month showing her reading a script for her upcoming biopic, noting that she was “almost finished” with it. She hashtagged The Secretary screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson in the posts, and Wilson can be seen in several of Madonna’s recent entries, although there has been no official word on Wilson’s involvement and no such Madonna project is listed on her IMDb page.
Juno scribe Diablo Cody left the Madonna movie—which has yet to announce casting—in April after handing in a final draft because Madonna was reportedly “difficult,” though both have kept mum about the split.