The tables were turned on Tom Selleck, the former star of Magnum P.I., whom under the watchful eye of a private investigator, was caught stealing water to feed his avocado farm, landing him in some hot water with the city.
Paying $22,000 to cover the costs of a private investigator, Selleck received no fines for actually taking the water during a massive drought, which he used for his crops of avocado, a fruit he says makes him “gag.”
The ruggedly handsome celebrity, adored by some for his beloved moustache, had his big break playing the character Thomas Magnum on Magnum P.I., where his performance as a Navy SEAL turned private investigator earned him a Primetime Emmy.
The show, which ended its eight-year run in 1988, had Selleck, now 78, locked into a contract that prevented from appearing in any other TV series or film, explaining his rejection of the starring role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, played by Harrison Ford.
The A-list actor went on to appear in films like Three Men and a Baby franchise, starring alongside Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson, Quigley Down Under (1990) and In & Out (1997).
When he showed up in Friends in the recurring character of Dr. Richard Burke, the much older love interest of Monica, played by Courtney Cox, he quickly earned a new fan base.
Later he played the owner of a hotel and casino, who was a former marine, in 19 episodes (2007 to 2008) of the TV series Las Vegas.
Since 2010, Selleck can be seen in the TV series Blue Bloods, where he plays the leading role of NYC Commissioner Frank Reagan, who also served in the marines.
The prolific actor, who in real life served as a Sergeant with the National Guard from 1967 to 1973, has a hectic schedule, which he balances with life on an isolated avocado farm, that him and his family moved into in 1988, after he quit Magnum P.I.
Selleck and his wife, Jillie Mack, whom he married in 1987, had their daughter Hannah in 1988 and he needed an escape from Hollywood.
“I quit Magnum to have a family,” he said in an interview with People. “It took a long time to get off the train, but I try very hard to have balance, and this ranch has helped me do that.”
The star, who’s amassed a fortune from his iconic roles, says “I’m a fairly private person. And I’ve always treasured the balance between work and time with my family. It’s always about them.”
Sprawling across 65 acres of land, the Hidden Valley property–once owned by Den Martin–boasts a 1926 ranch house, a horse corral and a 20-acre working avocado farm, which he harvests in late spring.
The farm gives Selleck and his family an abundance of privacy and avocados but it’s also the source of the actor’s only controversy.
During California’s four-year drought, which resulted in mandatory water cutbacks on cities and towns, CBC reports that “the district determined that several times from 2013 to 2015 a water-tender truck filled from a hydrant within the Calleguas district and delivered that water to Selleck’s ranch.”
A complaint filed by Calleguas Municipal Water District against Selleck, reveals that a hydrant in their district was tapped to supply water to his ranch in Hidden Valley, northwest of Los Angeles.
Jay Spurgin, the city’s public works director, explained the metered hydrant was in Thousand Oaks, part of the Calleguas water district that was installed for use at a construction site.
“Mr. Selleck previously paid for all the water that he utilized, which the Calleguas Municipal Water District acknowledged had not been stolen,” said Marty Singer, an attorney for Selleck, in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
It was unclear if Selleck paid the construction company for use of the water, but Calleguas water district general manager Susan Mulligan said in a statement that it was an irrelevant point.
“No one has a legal right to district water by simply paying a rate to another water user based on the volume of water questionably obtained,” Mulligan said.
Settling the lawsuit, Selleck agreed to pay the almost $22,000 bill of a private investigator that was hired by a California agency to confirm that truckloads of water were destined the actor’s ranch during an ongoing drought.
Strangely, Selleck doesn’t even like avocados.
“I don’t eat ’em…Honestly, they make me gag. But it’s just as well. I’ll sell my portion,” he said.
Although what he did, especially in the middle of a major drought, was wrong, we think that if Tom Selleck’s biggest controversy is stealing water, he deserves a pass.