For the rich and famous, having couples sign a prenuptial agreement is common. This legal contract ensures that both parties and their assets will be protected if they would ever happen to divorce. While no couple envisions getting a divorce, it is a good safeguard, especially if you are worth millions. As Khloé Kardashian, who divorced Lamar Odom after seven years together, once told E! News, “Everybody needs a prenup!” While some might find the prenup process to be less than romantic, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star maintained that it’s important to “protect” your finances. “It doesn’t mean you don’t love them,” she added.
Unfortunately, there are several Hollywood stars whose faith in marriage came crashing down when they found themselves getting a divorce with no prenup in sight. These stars ended up paying a hefty price for their divorces. And we’re not just talking hundreds of thousands of dollars here. A-list celebs have coughed up hundreds of millions of dollars to their former spouse. These costly celeb divorce settlements are astonishing, but it looks like these stars would rather dish out half of their net worth than repair their marriages.
Michael Jordan learned a lesson after his first marriage
NBA legend Michael Jordan learned a valuable lesson about protecting his fortune after his marriage to his first wife, Juanita Vanoy. The couple married in 1989, but just shy of 13 years later, Vanoy filed for divorce from the former Chicago Bulls basketball player, citing “irreconcilable differences,” according to The Washington Post. However, as Celebrity Net Worth noted, Vanoy would end up “rescinding the divorce filing” and the couple would remain together for a few more years. They eventually came to the realization they could no longer be together, and in a statement provided to People, their lawyer said the couple “mutually and amicably” split up for good in 2006.
At the time of their divorce, Jordan was reported to have an estimated net worth of $400 million, and with no prenuptial agreement, Vanoy was entitled to a lot of it. According to Chicago Business, Vanoy ended up with a cool $168 million in the divorce settlement. The divorce payout, which happened to be one of the biggest in all of sports, surprisingly made a minor dent in Jordan’s net worth. Forbes reported that in 2009, Jordan had a staggering net worth of $525 million. In 2020, Celebrity Net Worth estimated the retired NBA star has a net worth of $2.2 billion. He has also since remarried to model Yvette Prieto in 2013, making sure that this time, there was a signed prenuptial agreement, according to the National Enquirer (via Daily Mail).
Arnold Schwarzenegger's transgression transformed his marriage
In 2011, the Los Angeles Times broke a story that made headlines around the world: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 25-year marriage to Maria Shriver ended after the Terminator star admitted to having a child with the family’s housekeeper. What’s more, as TMZ noted, the actor did not have a prenuptial agreement, which meant that half of the estimated $400 million fortune would go to Shriver.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the former couple’s divorce took six years to settle, and although the final number was never revealed to the public, the outlet reported Shriver apparently received $200 million, half of Schwarzenegger’s net worth at the time of the divorce. In 2012, Schwarzenegger admitted in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes that his affair with housekeeper Mildred Baena, which resulted in the actor barring a son named Joseph, was “the stupidest thing” he’s done to his ex-wife.
Mel Gibson lost nearly half of his fortune
Actor Mel Gibson’s infamous drunk driving arrest and anti-Semitic tirade in Malibu hasn’t been the only story from his personal life to make headlines. As reported by Reuters, the Lethal Weapon actor landed in the press after his wife Robyn Moore filed for divorce in 2009, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The Hollywood couple called it quits following his arrest, and as TMZ reported, the actor went on to have a child with Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva before his divorce from Moore was finalized.
Gibson married Moore back in 1980, just as his career was beginning to take off. She was with the actor as he made a fortune off of his box office hits, a vast roster that includes movies like Mad Max, Braveheart, and The Passion of the Christ. According to TMZ, at the time of the split, Gibson had an insane net worth of $800 million, and with no prenuptial agreement, Moore was entitled to half. When their divorce was finalized in 2011, Celebrity Net Worth reported that Moore received $425 million in the divorce settlement, making it one of “the most expensive divorce settlements of all time.”
Neil Diamond said he gave his second wife 'enough'
Music legend Neil Diamond and his second wife Marcia Murphey would not get their happily ever after when the longtime couple filed for divorce in 1995, according to People. It was reported by Forbes that Diamond’s $300 million net worth would be divided and Murphey would receive half after there appeared to be no prenup. According to the Daily Mail, Murphey received $150 million in the divorce settlement, making it “the biggest ever divorce settlement at the time.”
In an interview with People, the “Sweet Caroline” singer blamed himself for their divorce, sharing, “I assume a lot of responsibility for what went wrong, but I was taken aback by how many friends dropped me.” However, years later, he came forward and admitted that Murphey did not receive as much as people assumed, telling the Daily Mail, “It wasn’t true,” adding, “She got enough to live on for the rest of her life.”
Sir Paul McCartney lost millions in bitter divorce battle
Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills tied the knot in 2002, but their marriage was short-lived, with the couple filing for divorce in 2006 (via Reuters). It was reported that the former couple named “the media intrusion into their private lives” as a cause for their bitter divorce. There was more to the story: As the Evening Standard (via TMZ) reported, Mills made a number of grisly allegations against her ex-husband. In a statement provided to Access Hollywood, a rep for McCartney said the musician would be “defending these allegations vigorously and appropriately” in court.
During their time in court, The Guardian noted the judge apparently “question[ed] Mills’ character” and called it “unfair” for her to go on living a life “in the same manner” after splitting from the extremely wealthy star. As Reuters reported, a judge ordered the Beatles rocker to pay Mills $48.7 million. After the ruling, Mills appeared to be content with the end results, even though, as The Guardian reported, she apparently believed she should have received upwards of over $171 million from the singer. “I am so glad it is over,” she told reporters (via The Guardian). “It is an incredible result in the end. We are very, very pleased. I am so, so happy with it.”
Madonna ended marriage with Guy Ritchie in record payout
Madonna and her former husband Guy Ritchie were together for nearly eight years when they split in 2008, according to Reuters. At the time, Rolling Stone reported the “Material Girl” had an estimated net worth of $490 million, but as noted by The New York Daily News, they apparently did not sign a prenuptial agreement when they got hitched. That meant the songstress had to shell out quite a bit of dough when it was all said and done. Ritchie received $75 million, and in a statement to Rolling Stone, Madge’s rep called it “one of the largest payouts ever in a divorce settlement.”
Two years after their divorce was finalized, Ritchie spoke candidly about his former wife in Details (via HuffPost), calling their marriage a “soap opera.” He continued, “I lived in it for quite a long period of my life. I’ll probably be more eloquent on it 10 years from now.”
Steven Spielberg's napkin prenup didn't hold up
Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg did not think things through when he made his first wife, Amy Irving, scrawl her signature on a napkin, assuming it would certify that the couple had a prenuptial agreement, according to Forbes. The former couple tied the knot in 1985, only to file for divorce four years later, citing “competing stresses of their careers,” according to Celebrity Net Worth. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, in 1994, Irving revealed that she “felt like a politician’s wife” while married to the prominent director, adding, “There were certain things expected of me that definitely weren’t me. One of my problems is that I’m very honest and direct. You pay the price for that. But then I behaved myself and I paid the price too.”
Spielberg had a net worth of $200 million, with Irving receiving half of his wealth in the divorce settlement after a judge refused to recognize the signatures on a napkin, because Irving “did not have legal representation” when she signed the impromptu document, according to Forbes. At the time of the split, it was the “third most costly divorce in history,” according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Harrison Ford's second marriage ended with a huge settlement
Actor Harrison Ford met his second wife Melissa Mathison on the set of Apocalypse Now and the two got hitched in 1983. They stayed together for 18 years until Mathison, a screenwriter who penned E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, filed for legal separation, according to a statement made by Ford’s spokesman (via ABCNews).
As noted by ABCNews, the phrase “midlife crisis” started to bounce around when the Star Wars actor was seen wearing an earring and began dating Lara Flynn Boyle, who’s nearly 30 years his junior. When asked about this era of his life by Saga magazine (via Daily Mail), Ford said, “I am not the first man who wanted to make changes in his life at 60 and I won’t be the last. It is just that others can do it with anonymity.”
With the divorce looming, and no prenuptial agreement, Mathison was set to receive a serious payout from her ex-husband. According to Forbes, Mathison was paid $85 million in the divorce settlement. In 2014, Mathison died at the age of 65 from neuroendocrine cancer, according to NPR.
Tiger Woods' infidelity came back to haunt him
Professional golfer Tiger Woods got into a car crash that ended up igniting a very public infidelity scandal. In the days that followed the 2009 accident, the National Enquirer dropped a bombshell of a report that revealed Woods cheated on his wife, Elin Nordegren. And it was far from a one-off. The stories of his infidelities made headlines around the world, and as BBC recalled, when the New York Post put the sports star on their cover for 20 days in a row, “it beat a record set by the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.”
A divorce was coming his way, and Nordegren was entitled to a whopping amount. Some reports suggested she would get up to as much as $750 million, but TMZ shut down those rumors, noting that the golfer was not worth that much.
In 2010, Nordegren filed for divorce, telling People that she had “been through hell.” Tiger Woods publicly apologized for cheating on his wife, but it would not help save their marriage. The Los Angeles Times reported that Nordegren ended up with $100 million in the divorce settlement.
Garth Brooks' amicable split still cost him millions
Country singer Garth Brooks married his college sweetheart Sandy Mahl in 1986, but their fairytale romance would end in 2001, ABCNews reported. The couple had an amicable split, but the “More Than a Memory” singer still had to pay Mahl a stunning $125 million, making it “one of the most expensive divorces of all time,” according to Celebrity Net Worth.
There was no bad blood between the exes, and in the A&E documentary Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On (via Good Housekeeping), Mahl even said that she was supportive of her ex-husband marrying country singer Trisha Yearwood in 2005. When Brooks linked up with Yearwood, Mahl said, “I think this is a really good move for you, and I think this is a really good move for our children.” Mahl also shared in the doc that their marriage fell apart after Brooks would “be gone for eight to 10 weeks at a time.” After hearing Mahl’s side of what went down in their relationship, Brooks said he and his ex-wife had a moment of catharsis. According to Us Weekly, the country star said, “I just saw her and I think I hugged her harder than I ever have now that I know things that either I didn’t hear or that she didn’t say until now.”
Rupert Murdoch's ex-wife settled for billions
Billionaire Rupert Murdoch lost quite a few bucks after he and Anna Murdoch ended their marriage after 32 years, and as The Telegraph noted, it was one of the most expensive settlements of all time: The media mogul forked over a mind-blowing $1.7 billion to his second ex-wife. Just a little over two weeks after the ink was dry on the divorce settlement, Rupert was ready to give matrimony a third shot, marrying a then-30-year-old Wendi Deng. However, that marriage wouldn’t last either, with the couple divorcing in 2013, as Los Angeles Times noted.
As CNBC reported, an insider said Rupert had a prenuptial agreement set up with Deng, so their split wouldn’t cost as much as his second divorce. The details of the settlement were not made public, but in a statement obtained by Los Angeles Times, the former couple said they “reached an amicable settlement.”
Anna would later reveal to Australian Women’s Weekly (via Independent) that while she knew her ex-husband was having an affair with Deng, she was determined to save their marriage. “He was extremely hard, ruthless and determined that he was going to go through with this, no matter what I wanted or what I was trying to do to save the marriage,” she shared. “He had no interest in that whatsoever.”
Jeff Bezos' ex-wife gave away billions after split
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth is nothing short of jaw-dropping: According to Celebrity Net Worth, he’s at a chill $188 billion. And when he and MacKenzie Scott split up after 25 years of marriage? It would go down in history as the most expensive divorce of all time, as noted by Celebrity Net Worth. In 2019, the self-made billionaire announced the divorce in a tweet. According to the BBC, Bezos and his ex-wife agreed to a “record-breaking divorce settlement of at least $35 billion.” In 2020, Forbes listed Scott as the fourth-richest woman in the world with a net worth of $36 billion.
According to NPR, Bezos’ former wife gave away more than $4 billion to charities amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. She wrote about her contributions in a post for Medium, stating, “This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires.”
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