The Grey Gardens estate was home to two very special women both named Edie Beale. The mother and daughter were kept isolated in a derelict mansion even though they were related to one of the most famous women in America.
The Beales were the aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy. While the Onassis family was known for their immense wealth, the two women who were living in the Grey Gardens mansion didn't seem to have a dime to their name.
"Big Edie," the mother, was left by her husband in 1931. He didn't pay her alimony, only child support for "Little Edie" and her brothers. They didn't get a proper divorce, and because she was extremely Catholic, Big Edie never felt like she could remarry. She ended up moving into the Grey Gardens mansion in East Hampton, a property she was able to keep in the divorce, but without an income it was hard to keep it in good condition.
The former socialite went from the New York Elite, to hiding away in her broken-down mansion all alone. That was until her daughter, Little Edie, moved in with her. Little Edie had been having trouble finding a husband herself, so she decided it was more beneficial to live with her mother.
The problem was, neither of them had the money to maintain the home. A health inspection revealed that the home was infested with raccoons, cats, and the fleas that they brought in with them. They faced eviction if they couldn't get it cleaned up, but luckily Jackie Onassis used her wealth to help out. She gave them $32,000 to get the house cleaned up. Over 1,000 bags of trash were pulled from the house, but after a few years when a documentary crew came to check in on them, they realized that it had already turned back into a mess.
Years later, after Big Edie passed, Little Edie sold the mansion for $225,000 on the stipulation that it be restored to its former glory. The woman who bought it, Sally Quinn, was able to renovate the home and sell it for a huge profit. She sold it for $15.5 million, despite revealing that they have been experiencing paranormal activity.
Photos from the inside of the house reveal what some of the rooms look like, and while it was a 28 room mansion, there are very few people who could have handled it as it was. But now it looks a whole lot nicer...
The house was completely remodeled and looks stunning now. Quinn revealed that while they were renovating, a former neighbor of the Beales came to see them and had a message from Big Edie herself.
Apparently the neighbor told her, "I talked to Big Edie the other day. She wanted me to tell you how pleased she is that you have bought Grey Gardens. She wants you to know that she believes you will make the house as beautiful as it once was, and that she will be watching over you to make sure that everything goes perfectly and that this will be a warm and loving and happy house."
Here's what it looks like now.
Looks way better than it used to! Hard to believe it's the same house. So you remember watching the original documentary?