It’s no secret that Sussex is a celebrity hotbed – but Crowborough may not be the first place you would expect to see a Hollywood star.
Australian actress Cate Blanchett, 52, moved to the town in 2015 and is here to stay.
While A-listers like Adele and Tom Cruise haven’t stuck around, Cate appears to be living happily with husband and playwright Andrew Upton and their four children.
Read more: The Hollywood superstar laying low in West Wittering
They reside in a historic English manor named Highwell House – an imposing estate believed to have cost around £5million.
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Once home to Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Doctor Who actor Tom Baker, the country mansion boasts seven bedrooms and five grand reception rooms.
Sitting within 13-acres of secluded grounds, the sprawling mansion can be found off a quiet country lane via imposing wrought iron gates.
But beneath the magnificence of Cate’s sprawling estate is a far less glamorous history.
Highwell House was left abandoned for at least a decade before it was bought by the Blanchett family.
(Image: Nelly Betteridge / nellyurbex)
The property is unrecognisable in pictures taken prior to the renovations, with building debris, rotting walls and broken furniture leaving the property in a sorry state.
The supposedly haunted manor was even named one of Britain’s creepiest abandoned houses the year it was purchased by Cate.
Prior to Highwell House, Cate and Andrew owned properties across the world, from a waterfront mansion in Sydney to an island retreat in Vanuatu.
However they are believed to have closed a chapter on their Sydney life in 2020, selling their last remaining Sydney home.
Cate made her feature film debut in the late 90s in Paradise Road. She played a supporting role as a young Australian nurse captured by the Japanese Army during World War II.
In 1997, she left for England to play her breakthrough role as the title character in Elizabeth. She won numerous awards for her performance, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama.
Cate was flooded with job offers and over the following years, she went on to star in blockbusters including Lord Of The Rings, Martin Scorsese’s Aviator and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
One of her most recent projects is Don’t Look Up, a Netflix comedy with a star-studded cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill and Ariana Grande.
The film will be streamed worldwide on Netflix on December 24.
Following huge success, Cate is now estimated to be worth around £70 million.
Having conquered the big screen over a career spanning 20 years, she has chosen to enjoy a quiet home life in Sussex’s countryside.
(Image: Martin Burton / SussexLive)
However Cate’s history in East Sussex goes back far beyond her move in 2015.
She previously owned a property at the esteemed Lewes Crescent in the Kemptown area of Brighton in the early 2000s.
The townhouse had suede-covered walls in the main bedroom, a home cinema and seven acres of private gardens.
(Image: Charles Rawding)
She reportedly sold the property to songwriter Richard Stannard who put it on the market in 2009 with an asking price of £3.1 million.
With links to Sussex that span almost two decades, the Blanchett family show no sign of leaving, with renovation plans well underway.
Cate recently won planning permission to create a new building on the property complete with a studio and meditation room.
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