The first thought that runs through your head when you decide to get married should probably be one of joy, knowing you found that partner that you can envision spending the rest of your life with. The second thought that no doubt goes through your mind is to wonder, can the marriage really last?
Over 43% of all marriages in the U.S. will end within the first 15 years, and over 50% of American weddings will end in divorce as a whole. Divorce is no easy time for anyone; it can be traumatic, emotionally painful and expensive. In fact, depending on what state you are married in (or what country), the time between separating from a spouse and being granted a divorce can take almost two years even if both parties are amiable during the process. If both parties decide to contest their divorce, something that is far more common when there is a lot money involved, then divorce proceedings can drag on forever.
If there is plenty of wealth and assets and no prenuptial agreement than you can bet lawyers, judges and the legal system will play a large role in deciding the outcome of a divorce. For celebrities, these divorce proceedings can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and drag on for years. In most cases after the actual divorce is finalized, there are outstanding obligations like alimony and child support that one party (predominantly the man) will be legally obligated to pay for years, sometimes decades, after.
It is the initial divorce settlement we are interested in here, however; the initial lump sum payment one party agreed to pay another to expedite and finalize their divorce. Everything beyond that, like alimony, child support and property distribution, not to mention legal costs, has been left off the monetary total of this list. This list solely deals with one time only, lump sum divorce settlement payments. So, with that said, here are the most expensive celebrity divorce settlement payments.
10 Ted Danson/Casey Coates: $30 million
Former “Cheers” star and all around versatile actor Ted Danson met his designer/producer wife Casey Coates, who was ten years older than him, in 1976, and the pair were inseparable for nearly 15 years. Danson even took six months off from acting to be by his wife’s side after she suffered a debilitating stroke in 1979, a result of childbirth. While two children, a stroke and fame held the marriage together for 15 years, Whoopi Goldberg spoiled the party while the comedian and Danson began an affair on the set of the film Made in America. In one of Hollywood’s costliest settlements at the time, in 1993 Danson paid Coates $30 million, $2 million for each year they were married.
9 Michael/Diandra Douglas: $45 million
Known for his roles in blockbusters like Wall Street and Fatal Attraction as well as his marriage to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Douglas’ first marriage to documentary film maker Diandra Douglas ended the same way most do in Hollywood. After 20 years of marriage, Diandra filed for divorce in 1997 citing Michael’s infidelities among other things, and after two years in the courts Michael Douglas paid his ex $45 million.
8 James Cameron/Linda Hamilton: $50 million
These two met while filming the first Terminator film, but didn’t begin a relationship until working on the sequel in 1991. While the pair were together for nearly nine years, they were barely married a year and a half when Linda filed for divorce, post Cameron’s success with Titanic. Admittedly suffering from bipolar disorder, it was in fact Cameron’s moods that made the marriage intolerable, claims Hamilton. In the end, the actress received a $50 million settlement from the director.
7 Kenny/Marianne Rogers: $60 million
6 Kevin Costner/Cindy Silva: $80 million
5 Steven Spielberg/Amy Irving: $100 million
Both Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving rose to fame in the later half of the 1970s, her as an actress, most notably in Carrie, and he as, well, one of the greatest directors of all time. The director of Jaws, E.T., Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan etc. was married to Irving for a brief four years from 1985 to 1989 but the pair settled for a whopping $100 million. Spielberg cites their amicable break up and Irving being the mother of his son Max as the reasons the settlement was so high.
4 Harrison Ford/Melissa Mathison: $118 million
While the actual lump sum of total cash that Melissa Mathison was awarded in her divorce to Han Solo was $85 million, this divorce settlement is unique. At the same time the monetary numbers were agreed upon and awarded, the couple also agreed to a predetermined number of dollars of revenue from films that Ford had made during the couple's nearly 20-year marriage, bringing the settlement total to $118 million.
3 Neil Diamond/Marcia Murphey: $150 million
The inimitable Neil Diamond, the solitary man and the writer of many of the Monkees' biggest hits, was married to his second wife, Marcia Murphey for 25 years, during which time the couple had two children. After years of, what else, rumours of infidelity on Diamond’s part, Murphey finally filed for divorce in 1994 and was awarded half of the singer's earnings, $150 million, money with which he acceptingly parted with saying Murphey deserved “every penny.”
2 Michael Jordan/Juanita Vanoy: $168 million
The greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan was less successful with his first marriage. Jordan married Juanita Vanoy in 1989 and over 13 years the couple had three children. In 2002 Vanoy filed for divorce, but the pair worked out their differences and remained married for another four years until they mutually agreed upon a divorce in 2006. There after Vanoy was awarded $168 million in the divorce settlement, which, at the time, made it the highest celebrity settlement in history.
1 Mel Gibson/Robyn Moore: $425 million
Lucky for Mel Gibson he not only made more money as an actor and director than Kevin Costner, but he stayed relevant for much longer. Given the scandals of racism, homophobia and domestic abuse (some of which precipitated his divorce from Moore) that Gibson has been embroiled in over the past few years, and given the complete nosedive his career has taken because of said scandals, losing half of one's fortune could have bankrupted less successful stars. When, after 20 years of marriage, Robyn Moore was awarded half of Gibson’s fortune in 2011 to the tune of $425 million, it immediately became the highest celebrity divorce settlement in history. While Gibson can sit tight on the other $425 million of his fortune, he’d be best to avoid the altar anytime soon as Hollywood doesn’t seem to be calling.