For Aiken, a $2.3 million house is not a home

August 13, 2005|By Ruth Ryon | Ruth Ryon,LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES - Clay Aiken is looking more mature these days since dying his strawberry-blond locks brown and getting a short haircut, but he apparently isn't quite ready to settle down - at least not in the San Fernando Valley home he bought for $2.3 million last fall.

The 26-year-old singer, who gained fame in 2003 as a runner-up on the TV show American Idol, is already selling the house. He listed it in March for $2.5 million and expects to close escrow next month.

The Mediterranean-style home was newly built when the pop singer bought it.

On more than an acre in a private, rural area of the valley, it has plenty of room for Aiken and a number of his friends and family.

The 7,800-square-foot house has six bedrooms, 6 1/2 bathrooms, a family room and a bonus room.

The grounds, zoned for horses (although Aiken has none), include a pool, a spa, a gazebo and a sports court.

It's like a small resort yet comfy. The master suite has a private study. There's a fireplace in the family room. And an open floor plan.

So, why is Aiken selling?

In a TV Guide interview, Aiken voiced concerns about living in what he has described as "lonely" L.A. and said he would like to go home to Raleigh, N.C., where he was a special-education teacher before being "discovered" on national TV.

But, since buying the house, Aiken has been busy and hasn't spent much time in L.A.

Aiken has been on his 25-city Jukebox Tour, which ends Sept. 1 in Atlantic City, N.J., and is expected to follow it with a Christmas tour.

He's also been working on a follow-up to his 2003 debut album, Measure of a Man.

Since performing on American Idol, Aiken has enjoyed sales of more than 3.9 million CDs, running just behind Kelly Clarkson, who is the biggest-selling participant in the show.

Aiken is also a UNICEF ambassador, and he has been helping raise funds for the Bubel/Aiken Foundation, which he co-founded in 2003 with activist Diane Bubel to help children with developmental disabilities.

It was Bubel who persuaded Aiken to audition for American Idol after she heard him singing while he was caring for her autistic son, Mike.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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