Preparation for marriage is often one of the most delightful moments in a person’s life. For some, a fortune is spent for this special occasion to symbolize the union of the couple involved. However, if the marriage is not meant to be forever, the aftermath is much more expensive and is definitely an occasion not worth spending on. Divorce proceedings can either be mutually pleasant or entirely ugly for some couples.
Here are some of the most expensive divorce settlements in the world.
Michael Polsky was the owner of SkyGen, an energy supplier in Northbrook, Illinois that was sold for $450 million, and is currently the President and CEO of Invenergy Wind, a Chicago-based clean energy company. In 2003, his wife, Maya Polsky, filed a divorce citing irreconcilable differences, which awarded her with $184 million. Mrs. Polsky’s attorney argued that the wealth of Michael Polsky was earned after the wedding and as Mr. Polsky’s constant companion, she is entitled to half of his asset. Judge Boyd awarded the verdict in favor of Maya Polsky. Of course, Maya Polsky was more than satisfied with the outcome.
Charles Edgar Fipke was a geologist who discovered a vast diamond field in British Columbia in 1991. It was the first diamond field that was ever found in Canada. Charles Fipke was married to his wife, Marlene Fipke, at that time. After several years together, the marriage eventually failed due to the amount of time he spent in the field. The divorce was one of the biggest settlements in Canada, amounting to $200 million. After the divorce settlement was delivered, Marlene Fipke became a majority shareholder of Ekati Diamond mine with a 29 percent stake in the company.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was a famous movie star turned politician, who became the Governor of California. His wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, filed a divorce when she learned that her husband had an illegitimate child with one of their household staff, Mildred Baena. This is one of the most highly publicized divorces in Hollywood due to the scandal that accompanied it. Schwarzenegger did not know that the boy was his son until the child was a toddler and the resemblance was uncanny. The settlement cost Schwarzenegger a sum estimated to be between $250-375 million.
Roman Abramovich is one of the richest men in the world. He is the 5th richest man in Russia and is 50th around the world. This billionaire owns different businesses and is the owner of a famous football team, the Chelsea Football Club. His estimated worth was $14.6 billion. When he filed a divorce with his wife, Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina, who was already married to him before he acquired his wealth, experts estimate the settlement to be worth $5-$9 billion. Instead, Irina was compensated with $300 million and other properties that they share. Abramovich wanted out of the marriage due to an affair with Daria Zhukova, a daughter of another oligarch.
Robert and Shiela Johnson both founded the Black Entertainment Television (BET), the first cable network for black Americans. Both were the first black Americans to become a billionaire. However, wealth doesn’t always buy happiness. Shiela Johnson was unhappy with the morals that the network was teaching younger audiences and her husband did not entirely agree with her. After 33 years of marriage and 2 children together, Shiela Johnson decided to file a divorce on grounds of professional and personal differences. She was handed out a $400 million settlement. Two years after the divorce, Robert Johnson sold BET to Viacom for $4 billion and is among the wealthiest men in the country.
The divorce of notable Hollywood star Mel Gibson is one of Hollywood’s biggest divorce settlements in history. The divorce stemmed from Mel Gibson’s confession that he was having a baby with the Russian singer, Oksana Grigorieva. Gibson’s marriage with Robyn Gibson lasted for 28 years. The couple did not sign a pre-nuptial agreement, and as a result, Robyn Gibson was entitled with half of Gibson’s wealth as well as future residuals from Mel Gibson’s films. He was also asked to pay child support amounting to $750,000. The divorce proceedings lasted almost 2 years before being finalized in court.
Craig McCaw was the founder of McCaw Cellular, one of the largest wireless phone carriers back in 1994. In 1995, Craig McCaw decided to file a divorce after 21 years of marriage with Wendy McCaw on grounds of personal differences. The divorce proceeding lasted twenty months after going through multitudes of documents and disagreements on how the fortune that is estimated to be around $1.3 billion was to be divided between the two parties. The argument ended up with a $460 million settlement to Wendy McCaw. A few years later, he eventually sold McCaw cellular to AT&T for $11.5 billion.
It was the most expensive divorce settlement for 2 decades. Adnan Khashoggi was one of the wealthiest businessmen in the 1980's, selling arms all over the world. In the 1960's, he married Sandra Daly, who converted to Islam and took the name Soraya Khashoggi. After 21 years of marriage and five children together, Soraya Khashoggi decided to file for a divorce in 1974. In 1979, Soraya Khashoggi continued to fight for the $2.54 billion sum but settled with $875 million in 1982. Soraya Khashoggi is currently living a simple life as a florist in London.
Bernie Ecclestone is a British billionaire who owns Formula One Management, Formula One Administration, and a part-owner of Alpha Prema, a mother company of the Formula One Group of Companies. Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone got married in 1985 and the marriage lasted for 24 years. Slavica Ecclestone, a former Armani model, bore him two daughters. In 2008, Slavica Ecclestone moved out of the family home and filed for divorce. The divorce was granted in 2009 with a $1.2 billion settlement.
Rupert Murdoch inherited News Limited from his father in 1952. He acquired various newspapers and companies like Twentieth Century Fox, Harper Collins, The Wall Street Journal, and other media companies. He married his second wife Anna Maria Torv in 1967 and eventually filed a divorce in 1999. After 32 years and 3 children together, a settlement of $1.7 billion and $110 million in cash became the most expensive divorce settlement in the world to date.