Kathy Griffin is a controversial comedian who has never been afraid to speak her mind. Sometimes that’s landed her in hot water, but it’s also landed her in an A-list Bel Air mansion. Take a look at the star’s humble beginnings, and her path to where she is today.
Kathy Griffin’s Humble Beginnings
While Kathy Griffin may have gone from a life on the D-list to a household name, she came from humble beginnings. Her mother, Maggie Griffin, and her father John Patrick Griffin, were first-generation Irish-Americans. Kathy was born in Chicago, and has four other siblings.
She describes herself as a talkative child—as a “kid who needed to talk, all the time.” Kathy refers to visits to her neighbors’ home as her first live shows. She would entertain her neighbors with wild stories about her family. She says these storytelling sessions quickly taught her “the power of juicy material.” It turns out, there was plenty of juicy material in Kathy’s life.
Early Tragedy and Trauma
Like many comedians, Kathy Griffin often turns her pain into a punchline. When Griffin was a young, most of her siblings moved away. Lonely and bored, she would spend hours alone at home. This is when her binge eating disorder developed. In her 2009 autobiography, Griffin says that she still suffers from issues with food, but has learned how to deal with it.
Kathy also wrote about her eldest brother Kenny. He was a drug addict, and was often homeless. She writes that Kenny used to crawl into bed with her when she was seven years old and he was 30. She didn’t tell her parents until her early 20s, when Kenny openly admitted what he’d done to her parents.
Finding Her Calling
When she was 19 years old, Kathy Griffin found her calling. She joined the Los Angeles improv comedy troupe The Groundlings in the early 1980s after watching them perform several times. After one show, she talked to Groundling member Phil Hartman (of Saturday Night Live fame), and their conversation led her to sign up for classes and eventually join the main company. Sadly, Hartman was killed by his wife Brynn Omdahl in 1998.
Griffin branched out into the alternative comedy scene in Los Angeles, eventually hosting her own stand-up night called Hot Cup of Talk with Janeane Garofalo. The name was also the title of her 1998 HBO special.
Bit Roles to a Breakout Role
Kathy Griffin appeared in a number of shows and films before she landed a breakout role. She was in the horror film The Unborn starring Brooke Adams, played Jerry’s nemesis Sally Weaver in two episodes of Seinfeld, appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and appeared in the projects of fellow comedians.
Kathy’s first big breakout role came after her first HBO half hour comedy special. She landed the part of the sarcastic restaurant critic Vicki Groener in the Brooke Sheilds starring NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan. Shortly after, her first one-hour special on HBO, Kathy Griffin: A Hot Cup of Talk, aired. The self-deprecating special makes fun of her D-list role in the Hollywood hierarchy.
Embracing the D-List
Kathy Griffin embraced her spot on the D-list with a reality show that aired on Bravo about her schemes to climb the Hollywood ladder. Her relationship with her now ex-husband and parents were also heavily featured in the show.
All six seasons of the program were nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program, with seasons two and three winning the award. Season five was Bravo’s highest rated Monday telecast in all demographics. The show was not renewed for a seventh season. The success of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List also solidified Griffin’s LGBT fan base.
Her LGBT Fans
Kathy Griffin is an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, and protested for rights in West Hollywood. Footage from these protests were featured on My Life on the D-List. Griffin volunteered at the Lost Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center for their “Vote for Equality” campaign, and helped organize a rally in Washington, D.C. to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Griffin also confronted Michele Bachmann over her views on homosexuality at the 2010 Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner asking her, “Where you born a bigot or did you grow into it?”
Griffin is also a long-time supporter of the Aid for AIDS annual fundraiser Best in Drag Show, and has hosted the opening of the show for over five years. All of this consistent support and activism has led to Griffin amassing a large LGBT fan base.
Her First Marriage and Divorce
Kathy Griffin married Matt Moline in 2001 in a wedding at a Hollywood restaurant. She walked down the aisle to the power ballad “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger, and her maid of honor was Brooke Shields. Their relationship was featured on Griffin’s Bravo reality show and appeared to be loving.
After separating and reconciling in 2005, the couple divorced in May 2006. After the divorce, Griffin had the tattooed wedding ring on her finer laser-removed, and accused her ex-husband of stealing $72,000 from her on Larry King Live. Moline declined to respond to the allegations publicly, but did write a statement saying he was saddened by them. Kathy would soon find success was the best revenge in her next relationship.
Dating Steve Wozniak
Shortly after her divorce from Matt Moline in 2006, Kathy Griffin attended the 2007 Emmy Awards with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. When they were interviewed together on the red carpet, speculation that they were dating arose. Griffin confirmed the relationship on an episode of Tom Green’s House Tonight.
On the episode, she was asked if she targeted Wozniak to make her ex-husband jealous. Griffin joked, “What better way to get back at my ex, who was a tech, than to marry the biggest techno-nerd in the Universe?” However, Griffin and Wozniak did end up splitting before they got married, and it was confirmed they were no longer dating in June 2008.
Kathy Griffin’s Current Relationship
After joking that she was dating Levi Johnston in 2009, and Isaiah Mustafa in 2011, Griffin revealed she’d actually been dating a man who had a “regular job” for four years, but their breakup was messy. Since 2012, Griffin has been dating younger marketing executive Randy Bick.
Randy Bick and Griffin live together in Bel Air, a change from her former Hollywood Hills address where she resided from 2004 to 2016. Griffin also has some very interesting new next-door neighbors. She and Bick now live next door to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, which should provide plenty of material for future comedy routines. You won’t believe how incredible her home in Bel Air is.
Kathy Griffin’s Bel Air Mansion
Kathy Griffin recently bought a mansion in Bel Air worth a whopping $10,500,000. The home is a massive 13,377 square feet and has eight bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms, and two half bathrooms. If you’re wondering what one even does with that many bathrooms, you are not alone.
The home is a contemporary Mediterranean style and definitely cements the self-proclaimed D-lister’s spot on the Hollywood A-list. Reportedly, Kris Jenner persuaded Griffin to move in next door. “It’s a big middle finger to Hollywood and all of Beverly Hills and other snooty neighborhoods where I don’t really belong,” she told People magazine.
Kathy Griffin’s A-List Finances
Though Kathy Griffin got her start making fun of how she didn’t fit in with Hollywood celebrities, the comedian certainly has the net worth of some A-list stars. Her net worth is estimated between $15 and $20 million.
In addition to her brand new fancy home worth well over $10 million, Griffin is often spotted driving around her baby blue Maserati Quattroporte, a luxury four-door sports car worth about $100,000. Kathy Griffin just might fit in with all those celebrities she mocks better than she thinks. Her abrasive style of humor has definitely gotten her in trouble with celebrities in the past.
Kathy’s Long Feud with Ellen
Kathy Griffin has a longtime feud with fellow comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. So how did this celebrity feud begin? Ellen did a monolog on the show where she called Kathy “mean.” Griffin talked about the feud in her book Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins without mentioning the comedian by name.
Kathy insists that female comics over fifty need to support each other, which is why she said the comments from Ellen really stung. On the other hand, Ellen refuses to have her on the show because she finds Kathy’s jokes about other celebrity women to be in poor taste. Ellen may have a point.
Celebrities Kathy Griffin Has Turned into Punchlines
While much of Griffin’s humor is self-deprecating, she often pits herself against established Hollywood stars as an outsider. Griffin was a longtime friend of outspoken Joan Rivers, and their comedy styles are often compared.
Among the list of celebrities Kathy Griffin has mocked are Paris Hilton, Barbara Walters, Whitney Houston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paula Abdul, Sharon Stone, Oprah Winfrey, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Ryan Secrets, Larry David, Clay Aiken, and Star Jones. Griffin is unapologetic about mocking other celebrities, standing by her comedy and saying that’s just her style of humor. It has gotten her into some trouble in the past.
Kathy Griffin’s controversial style of comedy has resulted in her being banned from several TV shows. Griffin is banned from The View for a joke she made about Barbara Walters and was banned from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Ellen producers have also made it clear she won’t be on the show anytime soon.
In 2005, Griffin stirred up controversy when she joked that the child actress Dakota Fanning, then age 11, recently entered rehab. She was fired from hosting duties for E!’s red carpet coverage. She was also banned for using profanity in an Octomom joke at the Apollo Theater. Miley Cyrus also banned her from appearing on Hannah Montana after her Emmy acceptance speech, and that’s just the beginning.
She’s Not Thanking Jesus
Kathy Griffin got in some trouble after her 2007 Primetime Emmy Award acceptance speech. She said, “Now, a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. He didn’t help me a bit. If it was up to him Cesar Millan would be up here with that [expletive] dog. So all I can say is suck it, Jesus! This award is my God now!”
Griffin’s remarks were quickly condemned by the Catholic League, and The Academy pulled her remarks from the E! telecast. Later, Griffin explained the remark was a satire of celebrities who thank Jesus profusely for awards and asked: “Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?”
Anderson Cooper Controversy
Kathy Griffin began hosting the CNN New Year’s Eve Broadcast in 2007 along with Anderson Cooper. In 2010, Griffin said a banned word, that starts with an F, while making fun of the pronunciation of Falcon Heene, a six-year-old-boy at the center of the Balloon boy hoax. Though she was rumored to be banned from future CNN broadcasts, Griffin has hosted the show with Cooper since.
However, she found herself in hot water again when she was hosting on New Year’s Eve 2012. Griffin made several comments about her host being recently out and seemed to grope him repeatedly. Critics questioned whether this behavior would be acceptable if the roles were reversed. Griffin and Cooper are longtime friends, and Kathy also frequently visits his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.
Dishing on Celebrities She Dislikes
Kathy Griffin has never been afraid to speak her mind, and that was never more true than in her book Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins, which is packed with celebrity gossip. The book contains a story about her longtime feud with Ellen DeGeneres, but there are a few celebrities Griffin doesn’t like that might surprise you.
“You’ll never convince me to like Jon Hamm,” Griffin writes. “The vibe I’ve always gotten from him is cold and somewhat disrespectful… I’m suggesting he’s one of these hot guys who’s mildly funny but actually thinks he’s comedian level-funny.” She’s also not a fan of Ashton Kutcher, and she insists Anna Kendrick is rude.
She Raised Cancer Awareness in an Interesting Way
Kathy Griffin put her usual wacky antics on My Life on the D-List to good use. She filmed a public poolside pap smear to raise awareness for cervical cancer. Griffin bared it all for a doctor and a crowd of cheering women. Her goal was to normalize a procedure that makes many women uncomfortable.
The procedure is over in just a few minutes with Griffin joking at one point, “For me, it’s like the ‘90s all over again.” With an estimated 12,200 women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States each year, it’s definitely a cause worthy of Kathy’s time—even if she had to do something outrageous to raise awareness.
She’s Not Shy about Plastic Surgery (Or Anything Else)
Kathy Griffin has never been shy, so it’s no surprise the comedian has been open about her multiple plastic surgeries. After getting liposuction, she joked that her fat was “donated to a soup kitchen.” However, there is one surgery Griffin has always spoken out against.
Kathy Griffin had a LASIK eye surgery to correct her vision, but after a series of operations, she was left partially blind in one eye with a visible deformity on her eye. Griffin had LASIK performed in 2003. The surgery was approved by the FDA in 1998, and has been somewhat improved since.
Kathy Griffin Now
Though her talk show Kathy ended in 2013, Kathy Griffin shows no signs of slowing down. Her recent book, Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index, was released in 2016. Griffin also appeared again alongside Anderson Cooper for another rowdy New Year’s Eve countdown celebration on CNN.
Kathy Griffin has also made a number of other appearances on popular TV shows, including RuPaul’s Drag Race, Fashion Police, Big Brother 17, and Lopez. Griffin is also currently promoting her book on a nationwide Celebrity Run-In Tour that started January 2017. Dates for her upcoming tour events are posted on her website.