22 Of The Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces Of All Time
There’s always a celebrity divorce being reported somewhere in the news, whether it’s Angie and Brad’s shock separation or Sean Bean letting go of his most recent wife. But some splits are costlier than others, and in the list below we’ve brought you 22 of the most expensive divorce settlements of all time.
Some of them are more than justified in light of a spouse’s bad behaviour or the length of time the couple were married, whilst others might be considered a little bit more greedy.
Needless to say, in the world of celebrity there have been plenty of costly divorces over the years – in the article below we take a look at which wives and husbands received the biggest payouts of all time.
Which Star Wars actor was caught drunk and flirting with strippers by the paparazzi? Who was caught in bed with another woman and subsequently got beaten up by their wife? And which Oscar-winning film director tried to write a pre-nuptial agreement on a napkin?!
Scroll on down to find out more…
22. Mike Tyson & Robin Givens – $10 million
Mike Tyson and Robin Givens’ marriage was arguably doomed from the start.
There was plenty of media speculation surrounding the couple, with many onlookers convinced that Givens was more interested in Tyson’s bank account rather than his personality. Givens’ pushy mother didn’t help things, especially after it was revealed that she and her daughter had bought a $4.6 million mansion with Tyson’s cash.
Tyson and Givens first met in 1986, before marrying two years later on 7th February, 1988. At the time the boxer was at the peak of his fame and reportedly had $50 million in the bank. Eight months later, the couple (who hadn’t signed a pre-nuptial agreement) split up and divorce proceedings began.
After alleging spousal abuse, Givens scooped $10 million in the settlement and subsequently became known as ‘America’s most hated woman’.
21. Jennifer Lopez & Cris Judd – $14 million
Jennifer Lopez and Cris Judd were something of a surprise couple back in the early 2000s.
The singer had already been married to Ojani Noa, a Cuban waiter, before she got hitched to former back-up dancer Judd in 2001. They met in Spain after he directed her music video for the hit single ‘Love Don’t Cost A Thing’ and got married on the 21st September that year.
The union didn’t last long and Lopez filed for divorce from Judd after less than a year of marriage. Judd has since stated that he found the marriage incredibly tough and that he ‘didn’t feel like a normal person’. In spite of his misgivings, the dancer did end up becoming a very rich person after Lopez paid out $14 million in the settlement.
It really does give a whole new meaning to the song ‘Love Don’t Cost A Thing’…
20. Donald & Ivana Trump – $25 million
These days there’s so much focus on First Lady Melania that it’s easy to forget the Donald has been married before.
The President of the United States must have a thing for Central European ladies because in 1977 he married Czech model and businesswoman Ivana Zelníčková in an extremely lavish ceremony. The couple quickly became the cream of 1980s high society and worked on a number of construction projects together.
They had three children together during the course of their marriage: Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka and Eric. However, Donald’s head was turned by Marla Maples during a family ski trip in 1990 and a very public and messy divorce soon followed (in which Ivana claimed that Donald had raped her and pulled her hair out).
The $25 million settlement was the talk of the tabloids for months. Trump later reflected: “I just know it’s very hard for them (his ex-wives) to compete because I do love what I do. I really love it.”
19. Mick Jagger & Jerry Hall – $25 million
Mick Jagger has had more than his fair share of wives and girlfriends over the years.
However, American model Jerry Hall is definitely the best-known of Mick’s spouses – they couple tied the knot in 1990 after years of dating before eventually putting an end to their union in 1999. Hall has given birth to four of Jagger’s eight children: Lizzy, James, Georgia May and Gabriel.
The marriage ended in 1999 after Jagger had a love child with another woman. Lawyers claimed that the couple had never been officially married at all – the rock’n’roll pair got married on a beach in Bali and the ceremony was officiated by a Hindu priest who sacrificed a chicken during proceedings.
Jagger managed to give away only a fraction of his fortune to his ex-wife and reportedly paid out around $25 million.
18. Lionel Richie & Diane Alexander – $30 million
Lionel Richie is another singer who has endured his fair share of divorce drama.
The ‘Hello’ hitmaker met Diane when he was still married to his first wife Brenda Harvey, and the two embarked on a passionate affair. The union got off to a fiery start when Brenda found the two of them in bed and proceeded to beat down on her then-husband – yikes!
This might have been considered a bad omen, but Lionel and Diane got married anyway in 1995 and have two children together: Sofia and Miles. Sadly things ended for the couple in 2004, with Diane pursuing a $30 million settlement to pay for things like moisturiser and hair cream…
This once prompted Lionel to comment to The Sun: “Kids aren’t the problem, ex-wives are!”
17. Paul McCartney & Heather Mills – $48 million
Who hasn’t heard about Paul McCartney’s bitter divorce from Heather Mills?
The British tabloids went into overdrive when the Beatles singer and his model wife decided to call time on their marriage. It was a bitter and public split for the couple, who managed six years as husband and wife before ending the union in 2008.
They initially wanted to keep things friendly for the sake of their daughter Beatrice (who was 2 years old at the time). But things turned nasty when McCartney cited Mills’ unreasonable behaviour – the model replied with very public claims about the singer’s alleged physical and emotional abuse, plus a detailed account of his supposed substance abuse issues.
Although the public turned on Mills, McCartney was still forced to hand out $48 million to the former model. Mills stated afterwards: “I’ve had worse press than a pedophile or a murderer, and I’ve done nothing but charity for 20 years.”
16. Ted Danson & Casey Coates – $30 million
Ted Danson was king of television in the 1980s.
Despite his popularity with the ladies, Danson was a taken man – he married Casey Coates in 1977 and the couple remained together until 1993. However, things came to an abrupt (and very public) end when Danson had an affair with comedian Whoopi Goldberg.
Danson first met Goldberg in the late 80s and described her as ‘a sexy, funny woman’ before becoming romantically involved with her whilst they were working on a project together. Coates was understandably furious and the subsequent media furore surrounding the affair led her to take the actor to the cleaners.
Coates received $30 million from Danson, who later went on to marry actress Mary Steenburgen.
15. Madonna & Guy Ritchie – $92 million
The Queen of Pop married director Guy Ritchie in 2000 at picturesque Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands.
Their marriage was in the spotlight from day one and Ritchie later stated that after marrying Madonna, he felt as though he had ‘walked into a soap opera’. Nevertheless, the couple stayed together for over eight years and had two sons together – Rocco (who was born three months prior to the wedding) and David (whom the pair adopted from Malawi in 2006).
Sadly things didn’t work out for the couple, who were often forced to spend months apart from one another due to their demanding show biz careers. Madonna wrote a song about their time together entitled ‘Miles Away’, featuring cutting lines such as ‘I guess we’re at our best when we’re miles away’. The singer also later claimed that she felt ‘incarcerated’ during her marriage to Ritchie.
At the time, Madonna’s rep announced that the divorce settlement would be at least $76 million, but it’s now thought that the actual agreement numbers around $92 million. The pair were forced to split several assets, including their London pub (The Punch Bowl, Mayfair) and their Wiltshire estate. At the time it was one of the UK’s costliest celebrity divorces of all time.
14. John Cleese & Alyce Faye Eichelberger – $32 million
John Cleese was forced out of retirement after his costly divorce from Alyce Faye Eichelberger.
Alyce was Cleese’s third wife after failed marriages with both Connie Booth and Barbara Trentham. The couple married in 1992 and stayed together for over 16 years, but things weren’t rosy for Cleese and his American psychoanalyst wife.
Eichelberger had suspicions about her husband’s philandering ways as early as 1994, and the couple reportedly attended marriage counselling sessions from 2001 onwards. They finally decided to end things for good in 2009, which is when Eichelberger pursued Cleese for all he was worth.
In the end Eichelberger became richer than him – she received $19.7 million and $13 million in assets, whilst Cleese was left to rent an apartment in Covent Garden. He later joked: “Think what I’d have had to pay Alyce if she had contributed anything to the relationship – such as children, or a conversation.”
13. Phil Collins & Orianne Cevey – $33 million
It’s fair to say that Phil Collins is probably not a big fan of divorce court.
Orianne Cevey was his third wife – after a five-year union with Andrea Bertorelli the musician was married to Jill Tavelman from 1984 until 1996. That union ended in a £17 million ($22.5 million) divorce settlement before Collins met Orianne, a Swiss national.
At the time, his divorce from Orianne was the largest celebrity divorce in British legal history, ending in a £25 million ($33 million) pay-out for Collins. In the wake of the split, Collins revealed that he had struggled with alcohol abuse: “I went through a few bits of darkness; drinking too much. I killed my hours watching TV and drinking, and it almost killed me.”
Despite the divorce pay-out, things have actually ended happily for the former husband and wife – Collins announced in 2016 that they had moved back in together and were now happily living as partners!
12. Michael Douglas & Diandra Luker – $45 million
Veteran actor Michael Douglas is now best-known for his marriage to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.
But before he met Catherine, Douglas had to shell out a huge sum of money in divorce court when his marriage to Diandra Luker came to a bitter end. When they got together Douglas was 32 years old compared to Luker, who was the 19 year old daughter of an Austrian diplomat.
Despite the age difference they stayed together for 23 years before splitting in 2000. Douglas later commented: “I know I’m going to get into trouble here. I have nothing against her and in fact I’m very fond of my first wife. But we should have ended that marriage eight or 10 years earlier.”
Luker received a respectable $45 million in the settlement. Their son Cameron recently served a lengthy prison sentence for drug offences and is now living in a halfway house.
11. James Cameron & Linda Hamilton – $50 million
James Cameron is no stranger to expensive divorce settlements.
He’s had five wives in total, but his costliest split came in 1999 when he divorced Terminator star Linda Hamilton after two years together. The Titanic director ended up paying out $50 million after the actress claimed that he was a workaholic who would rather be at the office with his ‘mistress’ i.e. his film projects.
Judging from previous interviews, it sounds as though the marriage was over before it really began. Hamilton has stated: “The parading around, the lunches, the stress of being with Jim during the Titanic days – for years I could barely get make-up on, I was shaking so hard, because every damn award show we had was terrible.”
Sounds as though their union was a sinking ship…
10. Kelsey Grammer & Camille Donatacci – $60 million
Kelsey Grammer is a great actor, but it’s probably fair to say that he doesn’t have the most stable personal life in the world.
The Frasier actor is currently on his fourth wife, whom he married after divorcing from his third wife, Camille, in 2011. Camille was a former Playboy model and the couple had originally met on a blind date back in 1996 – they soon hit it off and got married the following year.
However, the marriage fell apart not long after Camille joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and after two children together, Kelsey was forced to pay out a whopping $60 million in divorce court. The split ended bitterly and the actor later claimed that his ex-wife had mistakenly thought she was ‘marrying Frasier Crane’.
“Frasier had this great wonderful life … he was stylish … and just a little gay … Kelsey Grammer is a different story. You got home and Kelsey Grammer was somebody different.” Yikes!
9. Kevin Costner & Cindy Silva – $80 million
Kevin Costner was one of the biggest heart throbs of the early 90s, starring in films such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and The Bodyguard (1992).
He dated a string of high-profile women during the peak of his career, even living with supermodel Elle Macpherson for a short time in 1996. However, fans of the actor might not be aware that Costner was married to his first wife Cindy Silva for over 16 years, after the couple first met as young students at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).
The couple began dating in March 1975 and married three years later. However, the marriage began to suffer as Costner’s profile soared – Silva hated the fact that her husband was constantly being selected for ‘sexy roles’ and eventually grew tired of his wandering eye. Things came to a head when she demanded that he either stop taking on heart throb roles or quit the film business altogether.
Needless to say, Kevin didn’t want to give up his dream and the pair decided to divorce. Silva received a whopping $80 million after three children with Costner and 16 years of marriage. Costner and Silva later released a statement to the press addressing the payout: “We have amicably resolved all issues regarding our children and financial affairs and a full marital settlement has been reached.”
8. Harrison Ford & Melissa Mathison – $96 million
Before his marriage to younger woman Calista Flockhart, actor Harrison Ford enjoyed a 17 year union with his ex-wife Melissa Mathison.
Mathison was an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and the couple first met on the set of Apocalypse Now in 1979. Mathison and the Indiana Jones star married in 1983 and they ended up having two children together, but sadly things didn’t work out for the show biz pair.
The couple first separated in the year 2000 after it was reported that Ford was having an affair with a younger woman. In the end it became clear that Mathison had been putting up with the actor’s bad behaviour for years, and the final straw came when she saw paparazzi photographs of him rolling out of strip clubs in New York and Nevada.
Mathison’s patience finally ran out and the couple divorced in 2004. In light of Ford’s infidelities, his ex-wife received a well-publicised payout of around $96 million. The figure was unheard of in a Hollywood divorce at that time and the split became one of the most notorious divorce cases in show biz history. Sadly, Mathison passed away in 2015 after contracting neuroendocrine cancer.
7. Steven Spielberg & Amy Irving – $100 million
Legendary director Steven Spielberg is now happily married to actress Kate Capshaw. However, he enjoyed a four year marriage to Amy Irving (the star of Who Framed Roger Rabbit) in the late 1980s.
Spielberg first met Irving in the 1970s but the couple parted ways in 1980, a split which ended up costing her the lead female role of Marion Ravenwood in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). However, they got back together after a couple of years apart and married in 1985.
At the time, Spielberg had just directed the hit film Jaws and Irving was receiving rave reviews for her memorable performance in the Stephen King thriller Carrie. However, it turns out that their ambitious careers may well have ended their marriage. Irving later stated that “During my marriage to Steven, I felt like a politician’s wife.
“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 a price for that. But then I behaved myself and I paid a price too.” It ended up being a very costly divorce for Spielberg after a judge controversially refused to recognise their pre-nuptial agreement, which had been scrawled on the back of a napkin. Irving received a pay day of over $100 million, whilst Spielberg made the notoriously darker sequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in the wake of the split.
6. Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren – $110 million
It’s no secret as to why Tiger Woods’ marriage to Elin Nordegren broke down – in 2009 his numerous infidelities were splashed all over the tabloids for the world to see.
Woods was forced to temporarily withdraw from professional golf after the press discovered he had been having affairs with several women behind Nordegren’s back. Just to add further fuel to the fire, reports emerged that in her anger, Nordegren had attacked one of her husband’s cars with a golf club (we don’t blame her!).
However, prior to Woods’ affairs coming to light, the couple had enjoyed a happy union. They first met during the 2001 Open Championship after being introduced by Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik (who had employed Nordegren as his au pair). The couple married in 2004 and have two children together.
Sadly their marriage didn’t survive Woods’ apparent sex addiction, and with plenty of evidence to back up her case, Nordegren was able to take her ex-husband to the cleaners. She received around $110 million in the settlement, which we’re sure was more than enough to make up for the public embarrassment caused by Woods. However, rumour has it that the ex-couple are now friends and have been happily co-parenting their two kids.
5. Neil Diamond & Marcia Murphey – $150 million
Singer Neil Diamond is best known around the world for his string of hits including “Cracklin’ Rosie”, “Song Sung Blue”, “Longfellow Serenade”, “I’ve Been This Way Before” and “If You Know What I Mean”.
He dominated the adult contemporary charts for much of the 60s and 70s, but fans of the singer might not realise that he was actually married to production assistant Marcia Murphey throughout the height of his musical career. The couple married in 1969 and their union lasted a whopping 25 years before they decided to split.
By the time of their divorce in 1994, Diamond had acquired an estate worth an eye-watering $300 million. But he was forced to split half of it with Murphey, who received a massive payout after leaving the singer. What went wrong for Diamond and Murphey? Apparently the singer blames much of their marital woes on himself.
He once told People magazine: “I assume a lot of responsibility for what went wrong, but I was taken aback by how many friends dropped me.” Poor Neil! That $150 million settlement must have got to him eventually though, because years later he commented that “She [Murphey] got enough to live on for the rest of her life.”
4. Michael Jordan & Juanita Vanoy – $168 million
Basketball legend Michael Jordan recently married his younger Cuban wife Yvette Prieto. However, in the 90s and early 2000s you might not have realised that he was still with his first wife, Juanita Vanoy.
The couple married in 1989 after being introduced by a mutual friend. Both Jordan and Vanoy kept their marriage and personal life under wraps, which was no mean feat considering that the basketball player is one of the most effectively marketed athletes of all time. Needless to say it came as more than a shock to Vanoy when their divorce became a matter of public concern.
They first filed for divorce in 2002 but then decided to give the union another ago. Eventually the couple couldn’t make things work and they split for good in 2006 after 17 years of marriage. Vanoy soon discovered that despite her heartbreak, being married to one of the richest athletes in the world would at least ensure a healthy divorce settlement.
It’s been reported that Vanoy received a grand total of $168 million after her divorce from NBA star Jordan. Friends were reportedly shocked at news of the split and lawyers for the pair reported that the couple had ended their marriage “mutually and amicably”. We guess it all worked out in the end!
3. Robert Johnson & Sheila Crump – $400 million
Robert L. Johnson is an African-American entrepreneur, best known for co-founding the popular TV channel Black Entertainment Television.
He created the business alongside his ex-wife Sheila Crump – marriage turned out to be very constructive for the couple who worked together to create a billion dollar fortune. Johnson sold BET for $3 billion, which is why this whopping $400 million probably didn’t hurt him all that much.
Despite their successful working relationship, it seems that Johnson may have had a wandering eye. Crump has publicly stated that her ex-husband had at least two affairs that she knew about, including one which lasted over three years! No wonder Crump wanted every penny she could get.
It all worked out in the end, because Crump is now married to Judge William T. Newman, an Arlington County Circuit Court Chief. Funnily enough, Newman was the judge who presided over her divorce! Love does work in the most mysterious ways.
2. Mel Gibson & Robyn Moore – $425 million
Remember this whopping celebrity payout? Mel Gibson suffered a huge loss when his marriage to Robyn Moore broke down.
It ended up costing him an eye-watering $425 million in divorce court and led to a very public meltdown. In fact, it was reported that Gibson’s infamous anti-Semitic rant occurred only one day after he and his wife Moore had decided to divorce. So why exactly did the union end?
Moore met Gibson in the late 70s when she was a dental nurse and he was a completely unknown actor (he had just finished filming Mad Max). The couple married in 1980 and had a whopping seven children together – one daughter and six sons. It’s rumoured that Gibson’s well-publicised battle with alcoholism may have been the cause of their split, with the actor claiming that his drunk driving arrest was the final straw.
Despite the fact that Gibson had been unknown when they met, the pair signed a pre-nup which granted Moore to half of all Gibson’s earnings from 1980 onwards. Their 30 year marriage ended in divorce but Moore received a record-breaking $425 million in divorce court.
1. Rupert Murdoch & Anna Torv – $1.7 billion
And last but not least – media tycoon Rupert Murdoch had a costly divorce on his hands once he decided to leave his wife Anna Torv for a younger woman.
The couple finally decided to end things after 32 years of marriage and three children together, Murdoch decided to leave his wife for up-and-coming TV producer Wendi Deng. The 68-year-old’s eye had been caught by Deng after she was put in charge of his STAR TV channel and so divorce proceedings were initiated.
Murdoch was forced to hand over $1.7 billion in assets to his ex-wife, $110 million of which was handed over in cash. Even Rupert Murdoch would have felt a little nervous handing over that much money in divorce court! Still, he couldn’t be stopped from pursuing his relationship with Deng, whom he married a mere 17 days after his divorce from Torv was granted.
Torv was vocal about her disappointment over the divorce: “I think that Rupert’s affair with Wendi Deng – it’s not an original plot – was the end of the marriage. His determination to continue with that. I thought we had a wonderful, happy marriage. Obviously, we didn’t.[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. He had no interest in that whatsoever.” Yikes!
Did you know about all of these celebrity divorce payouts? What do you think of that much money being handed out in a settlement? Let us know in the comments section below!