They say that when a marriage breaks, the reverberations are felt most by the kids. And when it’s a celebrity marriage that goes down, the custody battle is usually epic — from ultra-hyped lawyers to an inescapable media circus, things can get pretty crazy when the rich get divorced. With millions and billions sitting in their bank accounts, the custody battles of the rich are not only insanely nutty but also crazily expensive. Families get torn apart and things can not only get ugly really quickly, these broken family bonds can become irreparable.
Whether they pay through their nose in lawyer’s fees, or for loads of child support, the custody battles of the rich and the famous mean they often have to shell out a fortune to get out of family court. The parent who has less money often ends up playing the poor victim. The kids are also faced with the invasive phase of the paparazzi, who are desperate to get a photo of them. So here go 20 of the most expensive and crazy celebrity custody battles that took the cake. They cost these celebs so much money, in the end they were left much poorer than when they started.
20 Daniel Giersch And Kelly Rutherford
Kelly Rutherford was known for her roles in the series Melrose Place and Generations, and for her very, very public custody battle. She was married in 2006, but Kelly and Daniel called it quits in 2010 just four years after their nuptials. They managed to have two kids during their short relationship. Their son, Hermes (born in 2006), and their daughter, Helena (born in 2009), became a bone of contention. Rutherford tried to ban her husband from seeing the kids, and that ended badly for her when the courts granted custody of her kids to him instead. Giersh was deported and lived in France and Monaco. Since he could not visit the kids in the U.S. as his visa was revoked (terrorism links), the kids went to live with him, and Rutherford was granted visitation rights. The ongoing battle has cost Rutherford to declare bankruptcy and is in around $2 million of debt. Regardless, she still has to fly to France and Monaco to visit the kids. Giersch, on the other hand, lives a life of luxury, despite his shady business dealings.
19 Morena Baccarin, Benjamin McKenzie And Austin Chick
Morena Baccarin (of the Homeland fame) and Benjamin McKenzie worked on the hit show, Gotham. Attraction snuck in and they began a relationship in 2015. Baccarin then got pregnant with McKenzie’s baby, which would not have been a problem if she was not already embroiled in another custody battle. Before McKenzie came along, Baccarin had a son, Julius, with her ex-husband, Austin Chick. So the court ordered her to pay $23,000 per month to Chick. But only about $2600 of that is for child support, most of the moolah is spousal support! Add to that the fact, Julius mostly lives with Baccarin— and she still ends up paying child support to her ex-husband, who is a film producer and director! That said; after the divorce with Chick was settled, Baccarin did marry McKenzie on her 38th birthday, and they now have a daughter, Frances Laiz Setta Schenkkan.
18 Francois-Henri Pinault And Linda Evangelista
When Linda Evangelista had a baby boy, Augustin James, in 2006 – she kept mum about the paternity. She kept it all under wraps till the boy was five and then she decided to file for support. So obviously, the biological father’s name was revealed and it turned out to be the billionaire Frenchman, Francois-Henri Pinault. By then, he was married to Salma Hayek. When Evangelista filed for child support order at the Manhattan Family Court, she demanded a whopping $46,000 from Pinault as monthly child support and claimed that she was actually spending this amount on their son, for things like education, bodyguards, and a round-the-clock nanny. Whether she received this staggering amount or not, we don’t know because days before their scheduled court appearance, Evangelista and Pinault agreed to an out-of-court settlement. If the demand was that whopping, the settlement had to be a close second!
17 Dayanara Torres And Marc Anthony
When Marc Anthony was dumped by J-Lo, the one person who could probably smile in repose had to Marc’s ex, Dayanara Torres, who he had dumped for J-Lo. Despite having two kids with Torres, Anthony had divorced her and married J-Lo in the same year, 2003, and obviously, Torres wasn’t all that fond of how it went down. In 2013, Torres finally took Anthony to court in a bitter child support battle to raise his end of the bill. He had been paying $6,500 per month of each of his two kids but Torres felt that since the kids lived extravagantly when they visited their dad, they should be kept in the same comfort when they stayed with her. The judge agreed and the monthly amount was upped to $14,000 per kid. Anthony also had to fish out some $12,000 per year as vacation expenses for the kids and had to keep continuing to pay for their medical, school, and extracurricular costs.
16 Debbie Rowe And Michael Jackson
When the whirlwind marriage of the King of Pop and The King’s daughter collapsed, Jackson was bereft because he so wanted to be a baby daddy. So when a nurse at the clinic, where he was being treated for vitiligo, offered to be his baby mama, Jackson married her right after his divorce from Lisa Marie Presley was finalized. So MJ & Debbie Rowe got married in 1996 but filed for divorce in 1999 after having two kids together—a son named Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., and a daughter named Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. She gave up all her parental rights after the divorce and was paid an $8million settlement. After Jackson’s infamous charges surfaced, she filed for visitation rights in 2003. It took three years for an agreement to be reached, which remained in effect until Jackson’s untimely demise. Her daughter remains estranged with her until today. Now, isn’t that a hefty price to pay for a mother, who wasn’t actually a mother?
15 Mick Jagger And Melanie Hamrick
Obviously, no one has the moves like Jagger. Why? Well, because Mick Jagger didn’t have to get taken to court over child support at all. The stand-up dad actually offered a hefty and generous payment to the mother of his newest baby; hefty enough for her to accept without any demur. At 73, Jagger was the baby daddy to 30-year-old Melanie Hamrick’s son, Devereaux, in December 2016. The 43-year age gap may have forced the pair to go their separate ways but never let it be said that Jagger was a reluctant dad. Jagger offered to pay over $3 million in child support to Hamrick until their son turns 18, which equates to almost $15,000 per month. Plus, he also said that he would be happy to pay for housing for Hamrick and Devereaux wherever they decide to live, as well as schooling costs. In fact, even after this generous offer, he asked Hamrick to reach out in case she needed financial help. Plus he wants to be a hands-on dad and would want to keep visiting his son. Expensive child custody here, but no battle was ever fought!
14 Whitney Houston And Bobby Brown
No one seemed enamored when Bobby Brown swept Whitney Houston off of her feet and the pair got married in 1992. The marriage did last all the way until 2007 but it was hardly a happy one. Drugs, cheating, and rock-n-roll seemed to be their life, and in through it all, Brown was violent towards Houston. His unreliability and inability to financially support their only child, Bobbi Kristina Brown, led the judge to award custody to Whitney— Bobby was hardly ideal father material. While he publicly tried to play the victim, saying that Whitney wasn’t letting him see their daughter, the public soon lost interest in him. And when Houston died in 2012, Bobbi Kristina denounced her father. Sadly enough, she didn’t live all that long herself, dying in an eerily similar way that her mother did. Expensive, sure! Houston never lived long enough to see her daughter grow up and Bobbi Kristina died, leaving her father behind to marvel at karma…
13 Tameka Foster And Usher
When Usher married stylist Tameka Foster, it had all the makings of a successful marriage. However, after having two sons with Foster, Usher filed for divorce. A catalyst in this could have been Tameka’s cardiac arrest that she suffered while undergoing liposuction. The divorce came through in 2009 but a long-drawn custody battle followed, in which both sides flung plenty mud on each other. However, Usher was awarded primary custody of their sons. Sometime between, Tameka lost another child to a skiing accident from a previous marriage, and Usher offered public condolences and strong moral support. But when one of their sons almost drowned in the swimming pool at Usher’s home, Tameka called for an emergency custodial hearing. However, her case was dismissed and the kids remained with Usher. The child recovered though, which was probably the most priceless thing for them.
12 Paul McCartney And Heather Mills
When you marry a Beatle, your marriage is going to be famous— but the end of it would have to be infamous too. Consider the marriage between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, during which the couple had a daughter, Beatrice. Now when the marriage ended, it was an ugly battle. Mills claimed that McCartney was abusive and there were allegations against Mills that she was a former call girl. While she had requested some $250 million as settlement, she only got $50 million. And that was just for spousal support. Beatrice was four at the time and McCartney was ordered to pay $70,000 per year in child support. Plus, he would also have to pay for her nanny and private school tuition, meaning he had quite a large bill after the divorce. The media continued to treat Heather Mills with vitriol for years to come, but she managed to keep her head high through it all. McCartney remained stoically British as well…
11 Russell Simmons And Kimora Lee
With a 19-year age gap between them, Russel Simmons and Kimora Lee met when she was just 17. They got married in 1998 after four years of dating and had two daughters — Ming and Aoki in 2000 and 2002. For reasons known to them, the couple separated in 2006 and the divorce was finalized in 2009, with hefty child support from Russell. The divorce was messy but soon after, he and Kimora set the bar in uncoupling goals, co-parenting their daughters, and being good friends. He agreed to pay $40,000 per month for his daughters until they are 19½ years old. Plus, he agreed to provide a car worth at least $60,000 for Kimora to use for the girls’ activities, such as going to school or extracurriculars, until they both turn 16 years old. The car has to be kept in tip-top shape or else has to be replaced every three years! Not that he is complaining about his ex-wife since Kimora defended him against the allegations he is facing now…
10 Eddie Murphy And Mel B
While Eddie Murphy an Mel B were never married, but their relationship began as intensely as it ended— when Murphy dumped Mel B on a TV show whilst she was pregnant with his baby. Murphy even claimed the baby was not his but when Angel Iris was born and DNA tests came in, the baby was confirmed to be his. With five baby mommas and some nine children, the man must be out of his mind trying to pay his child support costs. Mel B knew she was covered when the court ordered Murphy to pay $51,000 per month for his daughter until she turns 18! While Murphy may have been a hesitant baby daddy, he made amends with Mel B and is known to pretty involved in Angel Iris’s life. And then Mel B made an even bigger mistake and married Stephen Belafonte. Now they are divorcing, and there’s another custody battle just waiting around the corner for her!
9 Dwyane Wade And Siohvaughn Funches
Before Dwyane Wade became Miami Heat famous, he was just a poor teen with drug-addled parents. At the time, he was in love with another poor teen, Siohvaughn Funches. The sweethearts got married and had a baby boy, Zaire before Dwayne was drafted and then suddenly life was way different than before. Dwyane’s lifestyle changed and Siovaughn had a hard time keeping up. To save their marriage, they had another child, a baby boy name Zion, but the demise of the marriage had already begun. The divorce was messy with plenty of accusations swinging back and forth — Siovaughn accused Wade of assaulting her and having extra-marital affairs, while she was accused of being an unfit mother. There was a $5 million divorce settlement for her— including the homes they lived in and the cars they drove. But the custody of the kids went to Wade, and Siovaughn was awarded supervised visitation rights. She has taken Wade to the courts many a time, but it has not got her anything more than ignominy.
8 Kirk Kerkorian And Lisa Bonder
A 48-years age gap between Kerkorian and Bonder had doomed the very short-lived, 28-day marriage from the start. However, in that not-even-a-month marriage, Lisa Bonder got pregnant with what she claimed was Kerkorian’s child. She later gave birth to a daughter, Kira. Kerkorian got joint custody of Kira and had to pay $100,000 per month in child support until Kira turned 19 years old. Plus, he also had to pay travel, education, and other expenses for the girl, who wasn’t even his biological daughter. Lisa later admitted that Kira was actually her ex-boyfriend’s daughter but Kerkorian wasn’t let off the hook. He died when Kira was 17 and the girl waited until she turned 18 before unleashing a barrage of lawyers to get something from her "father's" estate— the courts awarded her a whopping $8.5 million. So basically, Kerkorian may not have been her biological father but we doubt her real father was able to do so much for her.
7 Charlie Sheen, Brooke Mueller, And Denise Richards
While he is an active spokesperson for many charities and organizations, his personal record has been less than stellar— married a total of three times with five kids, Sheen recently announced that had been diagnosed with HIV in 2011. To top that, he got himself fired from his most successful show, Two and a Half Men. His divorces with his wives, Denise Richards and Brooke Mueller, were acrimonious to boot, and he had to end up paying child support of $55,000 each month to each woman, for each of his four kids. Payments remained an issue, and the ex-wives had to drag him to court to ensure he paid up. Now though, with his career on a nosedive and various health complications, the original amount has been reduced to $10,000 a month for each woman. Known to be a serial womanizer, if Charlie Sheen manages to increase his income, the judges will surely raise his monthly child support payments as well.
6 Mel Gibson And Oksana Grigorieva
Mel Gibson was married to Robyn Moore for more than two decades before they separated and divorced in 2009. His settlement with Robyn is by far the most expensive in Hollywood— considering they have seven children together! The divorce was not even filed before photographs of him and Oksana were released by the media. They never married but were in a relationship between 2007 and 2010, during which they had a daughter, Lucia. The end of their relationship was ugly and while Gibson had offered a $15million settlement, she refused. Later, Oksana had to drop all charges and Gibson then settled for only $750,000 (to be paid in five years) and gave her a house in Sherman Oaks where she could live with her daughter. Once Lucia was 18, the house was to be sold and converted into a trust fund for her. Oksana talked about Gibson on a radio show and broke a confidentiality clause, so she ended up losing out on half of the settlement amount!
5 Sherri Shepherd And Lamar Sally
Talk about paying for a kid who isn’t even “yours” to begin with! When the TV writer, Lamar Sally, and the actress, Sherri Shepherd, got married, he wanted a baby. With diabetes and health complications plaguing Sherri, they looked for a surrogate and so a baby was conceived, with Lamar’s sperm and none of Shepherd’s DNA. The couple called it quits before the baby was born, and Lamar filed for full custody of the child. Since the birth certificate lists Shepherd as the baby’s legal mother, she ended up paying child support. She agreed to pay $4,000 child support per month but when her income shot up, Lamar took her to court to get the support raised. Luckily, the judge saw sense and refused Lamar’s request, saying that she was already paying more than what she should have to… So in effect, Shepherd is paying for a child she has no DNA connect to, whatsoever.
4 Ronald Perelman And Patricia Duff
Ronald Perelman is the multi-billion owner of Revlon and is known as one of the greatest business minds of this century. He married fundraiser and political analyst, Patricia Duff, in 1995 but the marriage ended in 1996. They did have a daughter, Caleigh, in 1994. At the time of the settlement, Caleigh was four and the judge ordered Perelman to pay $12,000 per month in child support till she turns 18. But Duff was not too happy with the settlement and went back to court in 1999, demanding a ten percent hike in the support payments. From $12,000 a month, she wanted Perelman to pay her $120,000. Needless to say, the judge laughed it off and increased the payment to just $12,825! Apparently, he advised both the parents to instill better moral values in Caleigh. So while Duff was laughed out of court, Perelman wasn’t spared either. Clearly, the judge doesn’t care about your stature when he wants to burn you.
3 Alec Baldwin And Kim Basinger
A whirlwind romance led to the handsome, Alec Baldwin, and the beautiful, Kim Basinger, getting married and becoming Hollywood’s A-list power couple. They had a daughter who they named Ireland and seemed to be happy until everything went downhill. And then this once-upon-a-time happy couple became embroiled in one of the most bitter custody battles ever. Initially, Basinger was given primary custody of Ireland and then four years later, after a bitter court battle, Baldwin got joint custody. Even after that, it seems he couldn't really get a hold of his daughter. He left a very nasty message on the phone in 2007, when she was just 11! His custody and visitation rights were revoked and then there was a media backlash as well. The custody battle lasted some seven years and cost Baldwin $3 million, which is a steep price for a father to pay to be with his daughter. Though now, things seem to be on the mend.
2 Gabriel Aubry And Halle Berry
Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry went to the courts just recently in 2015 to thresh out their custody battle over their daughter, Nahla, who is now ten years old. While Berry wanted to move to France to be with her new beau, Olivier Martinez, Aubry insisted that they live in America. A physical altercation resulted in this custody battle turning into a media circus when both Aubry and Martinez had to be treated for minor physical injuries. The court finally settled the matter, which proved to be an expensive affair for Berry. The ruling called for Berry to pay Aubry $16,000 a month in child support, as well as a retroactive payment of $115,000 and a sum of $300,000 for Aubry's attorney fees! Berry later went to court again, hoping to decrease her payments to $3000 a month since she spends an equal time with Nahla. Also, Aubry remains unemployed so Berry feels he is mooching off of her. Let’s see if the judge understands it too. Oh, and Berry and Martinez are also no longer a couple!
1 Britney Spears And Kevin Federline
Spears’s very public breakdowns meant that her ex-husband and baby daddy, Federline, had no trouble in courts proving that she was an unfit mother. Her super-scary behavior made it possible for Federline to get primary custody and Spears had to cough up $15,000 per month for her boys. Many of her well-wishers were shocked because they found her to be a good mother who was just going through a bad time. Spears was indeed at her lowest since she was barred from visiting her sons until she got help from her addiction. Spears did all that was necessary but in 2008, sole custody of the boys was awarded to Federline. Spears was part of the agreement and hiked up her child support payments by another $5,000 a month, bringing it to $20,000 a month. She does get plenty of visiting privileges now that she’s mended her ways, though Federline chooses not to do anything and live off what Spears pays, as child support and spousal support. Talk about paying for a bad marriage!