Celebrity marriages start and end faster than most of us can keep up with. Many would say it is due to the public nature of the marriage, others would say it is the celebrity tendency toward narcissism, while most would say that such hectic schedules and lavish lifestyles keep celebrities from fully committing to work through the difficult ups and downs of marriage. No matter the reason for a celebrity divorce, the high possibility of a marriage failing means that celebrities need to protect their assets. Most celebrity couples opt to sign a prenuptial agreement before taking their vows.
By claiming their assets and setting a fair financial stipend even before vows are taken, a celebrity’s finances are protected. However, there are occasions when celebrities choose to enter into a marriage without a prenuptial agreement. When these marriages end, the outcome is a difficult and costly battle between the celebrity working to retain as much of their wealth as possible, and the spouse attempting to retain some of the wealth for themselves. These are the Top 10 Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces.
10 Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver
While a strong marriage has the ability to withstand dozens of hardships, fathering a child with a member of the house staff tends to be a deal breaker, or so was the case with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. Best known as the niece of John F. Kennedy, Maria Shriver was a news writer and producer, as well as a news correspondent before she resigned in 2003. At the time, her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger became the Governor of California. Just eight years later, and 25 years of marriage, the couple announced their divorce in July of 2011. Schwarzenegger was forced to split his net worth with Maria Shriver. Exactly how much was half? Approximately $250 million!
9 Irina Malandina and Roman Abramovich
When the wife of a Russian business tycoon files for divorce under the suspicion that her husband is having an affair, she is bound to seek out a large amount of money in the divorce settlement. Irina Malandina however, did not. Instead, the former Aeroflot flight attendant remained true to her low-key lifestyle and chose to proceed with an amicable divorce settlement. Had she chosen to ask for more of a substantial amount of money, there is no doubt that Abramovich, who made most of his money through trade and the acquisition of a handful of companies, could have parted with much more. As the ninth richest man in Russia, Roman Abramovich has a net worth of $9.1 billion and is the proud owner of the English Premier League Football team, the Chelsea Football Club. When the divorce between Malandina and Abramovich was finally complete in 2007, the final settlement was around $300 million.
8 Robert and Sheila Johnson
Some couples prefer to keep their career and marriage separate. Others, such as Robert and Sheila Johnson find a great deal of success working side by side. As a married couple, the Johnsons successfully founded the BET Network. During their 33-year long marriage, the couple became a very wealthy power couple. In 2000, they became even wealthier when Robert Johnson sold BET to Viacom. However, just two years later, the couple announced their divorce sighting “professional differences”. In the end, Sheila received $400 million in the divorce settlement.
7 Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore
When a couple is together for nearly three decades and have seven children together, it seems likely that they will be together forever, but this was not true of Mel and Robyn Gibson. In 2006, the pair separated. Three years later, in 2009, after the news broke of Gibson’s affair, Moore filed for divorce. Since the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, Moore was entitled to half of Gibson’s net worth. At the age of 55, Gibson had reached a high point in his career as well as his wealth. He was heavily invested in real estate, the owner of an island in Fiji, and a highly paid actor and director. In the end, Moore was awarded $450 million. She is also entitled to half of any film residuals Gibson receives for the remainder of his life.
6 Craig McCaw and Wendy Petrak
When Craig McCaw founded McCaw Cellular and then sold his company to AT&T for $12.6 billion, he and his wife Wendy Petrak were in the midst of their 21 year marriage. Just years later, in 1995, McCaw and Petrak split due to ‘personal differences’. McCaw was the initiator of the divorce and the first to proclaim his right to the couple’s $1.3 billion. Along with the division of money, there was also the division of luxuries such as private jets, the family yacht, and the large family home. In the end, Petrak was awarded $460 million. Though the divorce settlement was large, McCaw had little financial issues as he went on to found Clearwire, a company that later merged with Sprint Nextel. When he stepped down as CEO in 2012, McCaw sold his remaining stake to Sprint for $100 million.
5 Steve Wynn and Elaine Pascal
After giving marriage a try from 1963 to 1986, and then again after getting remarried in 1991, Steve Wynn and Elaine Pascal finally called it quits in 2010. At the beginning of their relationship, the couple moved to Las Vegas, NV. From there, Wynn went on to revitalize and rebuild the Las Vegas Strip. He is famous for his hotels and resorts such as The Mirage, Treasure Island, The Bellagio, The Wynn, and The Encore. With so much success in business, Wynn easily generated a net worth of over $1 billion dollars by 2004. When Steve Wynn and Elaine Pascal’s marriage went south, Elaine received 11 million shares of the Wynn stock. The shares equal out to $741 million.
4 Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Ecclestone
During their 23-year marriage, Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Ecclestone held a net worth of $4.2 billion. Ecclestone is the CEO and president of Formula One racing. Their initial meeting occurred at the 1982 Italian Grand Prix, where Slavica was modelling. With nearly a foot height difference between the pair and a 28-year age gap, they seemed an unlikely pair. However, Bernie and Slavica stayed together for over two decades and raised two daughters together. However, in 2009 the couple chose to divorce. Ecclestone was ordered to pay Slavica $1.3 billion.
3 Rupert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv
2 Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng
Yes, Rupert Murdoch appears on the list of the most expensive celebrity divorces twice! This time his divorce was with Wendi Deng, a woman he met just before he separated from his previous wife, Anna Maria Torv. Murdoch and Deng dated for only a short time before they were married; just 17 days after his divorce to Torv was finalized. Though there was a 37 year age difference between the pair, Murdoch and Deng managed to stay together for 13 years, though according to many accounts the relationship should have ended years before. The price tag for this divorce: $1.8 million.
1 Alec Wildenstein and Jocelyn Perisse
After their first meeting during a Kenyan hunting trip in 1978, Alec Wildenstein and Jocelyne Perisse were headed toward marriage. Just one year after their meeting they wed in Las Vegas and then set up residency in New York City. Wildenstein’s family business of highly lucrative art dealings and racing horses, kept the couple in an excessively lavish lifestyle. The pair enjoyed the luxuries of several houses: one in the French countryside, Paris, the Caribbean, and a 66,000 acre ranch in Kenya. Jocelyne began a series of extreme plastic surgeries to keep the attention of her husband. However, her efforts did not work. Perisse discovered her husband in bed with a 19-year-old woman, which put an end to the marriage. Jocelyn received $2.5 billion in the divorce settlement. She also received $100 million every year for 13 years after their divorce.