Many people pass through the Valley for its easy winters, first-rate dining, unparalleled spas, world-class shopping and more, but these five celebrities decided to call the area home and take advantage of all it has to offer year-round.
1 Danica Patrick
Born in Wisconsin and raised in Illinois, race car driver and GoDaddy darling Danica Patrick, 28, lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Paul Hospenthal. In 2008, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy race, with her performance at the Indy Japan 300, and she has long been respected for her tenacity in a sport dominated by men. Though she had a rough time at the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the previous year she placed 3rd in the same race, marking a personal best for her at that track, as well as the highest finish by a woman there ever. And despite criticism from her male counterparts, she's had a successful career so far, both on and off the track. Patrick has appeared on the cover of "Sports Illustrated," appeared in commercials for Secret, GoDaddy and Honday, and acted in a 2010 episode of "CSI: New York," in which she played a race car driver suspected of murder. Don't forget to wave if you spot Patrick cruising around town in her Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG or her Lamborghini Gallardo.
2 Steve Nash
Steve Nash, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, is a point guard for the Phoenix Suns and has been playing for the NBA since 1996. The 36-year-old has confused us lately, with the birth of his son announced the same day as his divorce from soon-to-be ex-wife Alejandra Amarilla, plus the whole Canadian politics thing. But whether the man stays or goes, Phoenix will most likely always have a soft spot for him, and we like to think the opposite is true, too. Plus, he founded the Steve Nash Foundation here in 2001, which has made incredible charitable contributions to the Phoenix community since that time. Nash has been named MVP twice, currently possess the second-best free-throw shooting average in NBA history, and averaged 11 assists per game for the 2009-2010 season. Also an intelligent businessman and creative individual, Nash is part owner of the Steve Nash Sports Club in Vancouver, one of the founders of a production company called Meathawk (which has produced a commercial for Nike, among other things), and a co-founder of venture capital firm Consigliere.
3 Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks, 20, rocketed to fame when she won the sixth season of "American Idol." Born in Glendale and raised in Phoenix, she won the televised singing competition at just 17 years old, making her the youngest winner ever. Her self-titled debut album, released in 2007, has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, and her single "No Air" is the highest-selling single by any "American Idol" contestant. In 2009, she released her sophomore album, Battlefield, which was also well received, and rumor has it she's currently laying down tracks for her third album, which she's producing in both Los Angeles and Phoenix, and which is scheduled to drop in 2011. Most recently, Sparks starred in the Tony Award-winning music "In The Heights" on Broadway, and will celebrate her 21st birthday tomorrow night, Dec. 22., 2010, with a blowout bash at The Compound Grill in north Phoenix.
4 Alice Cooper
Vincent Damon Furnier, better known as Alice Cooper, 62, moved to Phoenix with his family while he was still in his teens in the '6os. It wouldn't be long, however, until fans of "shock rock" couldn't get enough of the Alice Cooper band, which at that time, consisted of four other individuals. In 1975, Cooper adopted the band's name as his own and put out a solo album. The rest, well, is history. Having helped in a huge way to shape the sound of metal music and took showmanship on stage to unprecedented levels of entertainment, Cooper will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. These days, the man still makes appearances, performing and speaking, and this year, he even announced a tour with Rob Zombie. Cooper is also a successful restaurateur, and his establishment Cooperstown in downtown Phoenix is a popular hangout before and after professional sports games, concerts and other downtown events. He has three children with wife Sheryl Goddard, one of whom currently attends Arizona State University, and is also a wicked-good golfer, as many local celebrity golf tournaments have taught us in recent years.
5 Stephenie Meyer
There's a reason Bella Swan's hometown is Phoenix in the "Twilight" novels -- author Stephenie Meyer lives here. The 36-year-old author lived in Cave Creek full-time prior to her vampire series blowing up almost over night, and now she and her family split their time between the Phoenix area and Marrowstone Island in Washington. This year, "Forbes" ranked Meyer as the 59th most powerful celebrity, with earnings of more than $40 million, thanks to the "Twilight" novels selling more than 100 million copies and being translated into more than three dozen languages. But it sounds like lately she's been testing the waters in other industries ... Last year, she teamed up with Hobo Skate Company to collaborate on a line of skating-related clothing related to her "other" novel, called "The Host." And she also wrote the treatment for, and co-directed, a Jack's Mannequin music video. What else will this woman do? Phoenix will be the first to know.