Gerard Butler and Robin Thicke, who lost homes in California fires, take stage at star-studded benefit for wildfire relief

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Gerard Butler, who lost his Malibu, Calif., home in the Woolsey Fire, helped rally together a star-studded crowd on Friday to raise money for wildfire relief.

Gerard Butler, who lost his home in Malibu in the Woolsey Fire just days ago, hosted a benefit for wildfire relief on Friday. (Photo: Greg Doherty/Getty Images; image: Gerard Butler via Instagram)

The actor, who described his neighborhood as a “war zone” after the fires swept through, thanked guests for rallying together at the last minute to fundraise for the Malibu Foundation, an organization launched by a group including Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, also victims of the fire, to rebuild the ravaged area. While onstage, Butler marveled at the turnout, as seen in clips posted to Instagram. He thanked guests for “pulling a rabbit out of the hat to be there at the last minute.” It’s a horrible time, he said, with “mothers and fathers with only the shirts on their backs having to explain to their kids what happened to their home. We’re here tonight to try and remedy that situation.”

Gerard Butler hosted the event. (Image: Malibu Foundation via Instagram)

One of the night’s performers was Robin Thicke, who also lost his home in Malibu. He took the stage to sing an emotional rendition of “Stand by Me.” Earlier in the day, Thicke was asked by a paparazzo if he was worried that his demolished property would be targeted by looters, who have been taking advantage of victims. He replied, “There’s nothing to loot at our house,” adding that it is just rubble.

Robin Thicke, whose house was turned to rubble, sang “Stand by Me.” (Image: Instagram)

Other celebrity participants included Sean Penn, who addressed the crowd; U2’s the Edge; Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber; Roma Downey and Mark Burnett; Minnie Driver; and Van Morrison, who also performed, with Jamie Foxx singing backup.

Penn’s speech included a message of thanks to the firefighters “who risked their lives to save our homes.”

Sean Penn addressed the crowd — and thanked firefighters. (Image: Instagram)

Cyrus and Hemworth were instrumental in launching Malibu Foundation in the days after their house burned to the ground, leaving behind not much but their message of love. The pair donated $500,000 to the foundation for the relief efforts across the state, which is also hurting from the Camp Fire and others in Northern California.

On Saturday, President Trump was in the state to tour the devastation, which has left 71 dead and more than 1,000 missing so far. The president has been under attack for a tweet blaming “gross mismanagement” as the cause of the wildfires. His remark sparked a backlash from firefighters’ associations, politicians and celebrities.

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: