Avocado-Hating Actor Allegedly Stole California Water To Grow Avocados

CREDIT: GRAPHIC BY PATRICK SMITH/AP PHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK
CREDIT: GRAPHIC BY PATRICK SMITH/AP PHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK

‘Magnum P.I.’ star Tom Selleck is making waves this week for allegedly stealing truckloads of California water to maintain his sprawling avocado ranch in the midst of a historic drought.

But here’s the thing: it looks like Tom Selleck doesn’t even like avocados. It looks like he hates avocados.

“I don’t eat ‘em,” the actor said in 2010, according a report in World Entertainment News Network. “I almost threw up on the Letterman show. He surprised me and he knew I didn’t like them.”

“Honestly, they make me gag,” he said in a 2012 People magazine interview.

So if avocados make Selleck want to “throw up,” as he reportedly said, then why grow them? For one, it looks like he really likes to farm them. In that same report, Selleck described being “hands on” as a farmer. “You don’t want any weeds to grow between your avocados,” he said. “You don’t want any wild flowers to grow between your avocados — because the bees will go to them, rather than the trees.” The actor also reportedly plants trees on his ranch every time a close friend dies.

But in another 2009 interview, Selleck apparently said he grows avocados to sell them.

“I sell them,” he’s quoted as saying. “They don’t look right … They’re wonderful, healthful, good fat — it’s really good for you but it’s not for me. Why eat them when I could sell them. I’ve got a mortgage.”

However, in his interview with People in 2012, he said it’s been “hard to make a living, let alone a profit” from the fruit.

Selleck may not have always disliked avocados. In a 1997 interview in Newsday, the actor was apparently “champing at the bit to finish up his promo duties and get back to his avocado ranch.” “I love my avocados,” he reportedly sighed.

So what happened to turn Selleck off to avocados between 1997 and 2009? It’s unclear right now, but it may be figured out in court. The accusations that Selleck is stealing water for his avocado ranch were filed in state court on July 1 by a California municipal water district in Ventura County, which hired a private investigator to catch Selleck in the act. California’s historic, four-year drought has resulted in unprecedented water restrictions across the state, and has thrown the country’s entire food system into question.

Unsurprisingly, the drought also threatens avocados. It takes 74 gallons of water to grow a pound of avocados, and water is dwindling in California, where the fruit is primarily grown in the United States. The avocado industry is fine at the moment, but could dwindle as scientists expect dry conditions to continue, in part due to climate change.

Selleck is not the only celebrity to be accused of overusing water for leisurely purposes, nor is he the only celebrity who grows avocados in California. His neighbor, Jamie Foxx, also owns a ranch for the green fruit. “I got 800 trees, it’s crazy,” Foxx said in 2012. No word on where he’s getting his water.