When a celebrity couple decides to get divorced, a lot of money changes hands. If the stars haven’t drawn up a prenup contract, breaking up can get expensive. We’ve researched the 19 most expensive celebrity divorce settlements in the history of show business.
19. Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl – $125 Million
Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl were college sweethearts. Garth Brooks was a country singer and she was a songwriter. They married in 1986, separated in 1999 and finally divorced in 2001. The couple had three daughters. If Mahl manages her finances wisely, she has no risk of bankruptcy.
18. Kelsey Grammer and Camille Grammer – $30 Million
Camille Grammar received a $30 million divorce settlement when she and Kelsey split up. This amounted to half of the total assets in the marriage.
17. Ted Danson and Cindy Coates – $30 Million
Ted Danson married his first wife Cindy before he became a star, thanks largely to the hugely popular sitcom Cheers. Danson eventually left his wife in 1992 to be with Whoopi Goldberg but the move cost him $30 million in settlement fees.
16. Michael Douglas and Diandra Douglas – $45 Million
Michael Douglas feels that he and his ex-wife Diandra “hung on for too long” and wishes they’d divorced sooner. Diandra was just nineteen when they married after dating for only six weeks. They were together for twenty-three years and eventually parted ways in 2000 amid rumors of infidelity. Diandra was not only awarded the $45 million, but also two of their homes in Beverly Hills and Spain. Douglas is now remarried to Catherine Zeta-Jones.
15. Paul McCartney and Heather Mills – $48,6 Million
Former model Heather Mills originally tried to get a much larger settlement out of McCartney, 125 million pounds to be exact. However, the High Court judge who presided over their case was less than sympathetic towards her, calling her settlement claims “ridiculous.” The two had been married for just four years.
14. James Cameron and Linda Hamilton – $50 Million
Linda Hamilton and James Cameron’s relationship perhaps started off on a difficult footing. The two got together while he was still married to director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). They got divorced in 1999 after Hamilton discovered that he was cheating on her with Titanic actress Suzy Amis. This was after they’d been married for eighteen months. The director was paid $100 million for Titanic of which Linda got half. Nice recovery, eh?
13. Kenny Rogers and Marianne Gordon – $60 Million
Country singer Kenny Rogers was married to Gordon for sixteen years. The couple had one son together. It was a long, exhausting and very public divorce. Kenny ended up having to pay out a huge settlement after they went to court, with lawyers and everything. Kenny had been a “ladies’ man” since his youth, and Marianne was his fourth wife. She was given a whopping $60 million for her years with the country music legend.
12. Heidi Klum and Seal – $70 Million
Beautiful model Heidi married singer, Seal, in 2005. They had a romantic ritual of renewing their marriage vows every year on their wedding anniversary. Even so, they divorced seven years later. The couple had three children of their own plus Seal adopted Heidi’s child from a previous marriage.
11. Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva – $80 Million
Kevin and Cindy met while they were still at university and married in 1978. After sixteen years together they announced that they were divorcing. This apparently came as no surprise to close friends and co-workers as the relationship had been unhappy for a while.
10. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore – $90 Million
Bruce was Demi Moore’s second husband. The two were married for eleven years before it ended in 2000. The couple had three children, all girls. Willis publicly announced that he’d failed as a father and as a husband. His friend Will Smith helped him through that difficult time. Bruce and Demi seem to have remained on friendly terms since divorcing.
9. Madonna and Guy Ritchie – $92 Million
American singer-songwriter Madonna’s marriage to Richie came to an end after eight years. Richie is a British film director, known for films such as Sherlock Holmes. Their combined wealth amounted to over $500 million, most of it being Madonna’s. It was announced that Madonna would pay Richie up to $92 million in a settlement. It was granted by a British court. This figure included their English country estate, valued at around $30 million. It was one of the biggest divorce settlements in British history, the details of which are still not clear.
8. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving – $100 Million
Spielberg, the famous American filmmaker and director, met Amy Irving when the actress auditioned for Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1977. They married eight years later, around the time that Spielberg was busy with E.T. and Indiana Jones. The couple was married for just four years. In the divorce, Irving argued that their prenup agreement was invalid. She was subsequently awarded $100 million. It was worth investing what she had at the time in lawyer fees for the trial, that’s the least we can say.
7. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren – $750 Million
Little is known about the details of the Woods-Nordegren divorce. The only detail we can be certain of is that they share joint custody of their two children. It’s not even known for sure exactly how much money Nordegren received as settlement. Speculation ranges that it was $750 million while others say it was $100 million, plus a generous monthly child support allowance. Many of the reports are from “insiders” who refuse to allow their identity to be revealed.Woods sold the home they shared after the divorce and purchased a crazily expensive house.
6. Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison – $118 Million
Ford’s marriage to Mathison lasted just six years. Ford was earning $20 million per movie. Mathison received a portion of Ford’s earnings from movies made while they were married. This included the Indiana Jones ones and The Fugitive, so it’s little wonder the settlement amounted to $118 million. Those six years of marriage were a good investment for Mathison…
5. Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey – $150 Million
The famous singer-songwriter, Neil Diamond married his production assistant Marcia Murphey in 1969. She was his second wife. They were married for twenty-six years and had two children. Murphy accused the star of having several affairs which led to the breakdown of the marriage. Diamond reportedly said, “She deserves half my fortune…” and wished her happiness. The whole ordeal went amicably, with minimal involvement from lawyers.
4. Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy – $168 Million
Michael Jordan, best professional basketball player of all time, met Juanita Vanoy on a blind date in 1984. By 1989 they were married, and they divorced seventeen years later. The couple had two sons between them. When the divorce was finalised in 2007, Jordan could add another record to his already long list of achievements. The divorce held the record for the most expensive celebrity divorce. Jordan could certainly afford it though, as his net worth at the time was 1.7 billion dollars. Vanoy didn’t walk away with half his fortune, but $168 million isn’t bad either. She’ll have money to invest and to spend for years to come, that’s for sure.
3. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt – $400 Million
Brangelina was Hollywood’s golden couple. They started dating in 2006 and officially tied the knot in 2014. The two were together for twelve years, during which they had three children of their own and adopted another three. They divorced in 2016 amid much publicity. While this divorce wasn’t easy on anyone, especially the children, everyone seemed to have recovered quite well.
2. Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore – $425 Million
This famous couple filed for divorce after having seven children. Mel’s $900 million fortune was split, and Robyn received $425 million. They had been married for twenty-six years, were separated for five, and divorced after that. Both of them bought a home since, and they seem happy with their purchase.
1. Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos – $140 Billion
Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie met in the 90s. She was working in one of his hedge funds. A year later, they married and were one of the wealthiest couples in history. After four children and twenty-five years, they announced that they were divorcing. The marriage is said to have ended amicably. Because no prenuptial agreement had been drawn up, it became the most expensive divorce settlement ever. At least, MacKenzie can claim she didn’t walk away empty-handed at the end of their marriage.