Just a few months after Tom Petty’s childhood home in Gainesville, Fla., hit the market, the buyer has been revealed: the rock star’s ex-wife, Jane Benyo Petty.
The 1,300-square-foot house at 1715 NE 6th Terrace sold for $175,000 on July 31 to Benyo Petty, according to property records retrieved by the Gainsville Sun.
It almost went to a superfan of the “Free Fallin’” singer: In June, Kevin Beauchamp, a California real estate agent and “superfan” of the legendary musician, put an offer on the three-bedroom, two-bath home where Petty spent most of his younger years.
It’s also where he met Benyo Petty. The couple, both from Gainsville, lived in the same neighborhood and met shortly after he graduated high school. They married in 1974 at age 24, before Petty became famous for hits like “American Girl,” and had two children together — Adria and Annakim. Unfortunately, their 22-year marriage was tumultuous.
Five years before their 1996 divorce, Petty told Rolling Stone that he credited Benyo Petty with keeping their family together while he was on the road. Though, he admitted, they did fight. His comments became more frank after they split. In “Petty: The Biography,” author Warren Zanes revealed that Benyo would call Petty “regularly, obsessively, and threaten suicide if he said he was hanging up.”
But after calling it quits, Benyo Petty slipped out of the limelight, and the status of her relationship with Petty was unknown. The musician went on to marry educator Dana York.
Petty died in 2017 at age 66, leaving fans shocked and devastated. Benyo Petty didn’t make a statement at the time, but the famed performer’s death clearly had a impact on her. She stopped at the home last fall during the annual Tom Petty Birthday Bash celebration, marking the first time she visited the city in almost 15 years. It was during that trip, according to reports, that she hatched a plan to move back.
Some more photos of Tom Petty’s childhood home, snapped up by his ex-wife.
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“There’s no place like Gainesville, and I’ve been everywhere,” she told the Gainesville Sun.
Taking it one step further, Benyo Petty decided to buy Petty’s childhood home. “When I went to the house, it had changed, and it didn’t look the same, but I thought we should have it in the family,” she said.
Superfan Beauchamp had planned to turn the house into a museum. But he walked away from the sale when he learned a family member was interested in buying it.
Benyo Petty revealed she’s not sure what to do with the modest spread but confirmed she’s “not going to make a museum out of it.” It will likely be given to Petty’s grandchildren.
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