Even in the most amicable breakups, divorce is not easy. Meeting with lawyers, dividing assets, figuring out how to move on with your life are just a few things that make divorce stressful and unpleasant. Throw kids into the mix and what was already a difficult and unpleasant situation becomes about a hundred times worse.
While it seems that celebrities are more likely to divorce than their less-famous counterparts, their splits are often much trickier. Especially in relationships when there is a serious imbalance of earning potential -- splitting with your partner doesn't just mean a stress of going through with divorce proceedings, it means potentially throwing away large parts of your fortune at someone you really never want to see again. Whether it's giving away assets or indefinite monthly payments, you might be financially on the hook for a long time.
That's why it's pretty standard that many of your favorite celebrities get a pretty intense prenup. We can't really blame them, as much as you might love someone, the risk of separating and paying tens of thousands of dollars a month is just not worth it. For some of these celebrities, their mistake was believing that love was more powerful than the all-mighty dollar. In other cases though, some extra-marital dalliances is what led many stipulations of any prenup to be voided. In most cases the divorce payout is more than we've earned in our whole lives!
A lot can be learned from these mistakes, and while you might not be a millionaire, there may be an important takeaway from these celeb divorce disasters, to take with you on your own future committed relationship.
15 Britney Spears - Paid $1M + $20K Per Month
14 Wiz Khalifa - Paid $1M + $15K Per Month
13 NAS - Paid $350K + $51K Per Month
When Kelis divorced NAS it was one of the biggest alimony and child support payment plans in the history of the music industry. Kelis of 'Milkshake' fame was pregnant with NAS' child when they seemed to split very suddenly, and NAS end up paying very big for this breakup. He was ordered to pay $350,000 in missed back payments. In 2010 he was paying $51,000 a month (or $600,000 a year) to Kelis while also being responsible for her legal and accounting payments. No one would blame NAS for being a little bitter about love after that, but surprisingly NAS is pretty reflective over the whole situation. He doesn't blame Kelis, saying it was never about the money but her wanting to hurt him like he hurt her (NAS had not only cheated on Kelis but had impregnated another girl, while Kelis was also pregnant).
12 Steven Spielberg - Paid Off $100M
11 Janet Jackson - Paid Off $10M
10 Kelsey Grammer - Paid Off $30M
9 Jennifer Lopez - Paid Off $10M
8 Harrison Ford - Paid $85M + Royalties
Once upon a time Harrison Ford and his wife Melissa Mathison, were held up as proof that Hollywood stars could stick it out and make a long and happy marriage work. But unfortunately, all good things come to an end. After 21 years of marriage, the pair filed for divorce - and Melissa walked away with not only $85 million, but a percentage of all future royalty earnings from films made during their marriage (including the Indiana Jones franchise). The pair had met in 1979 on the set of Apocalypse Now, where Melissa Mathison was working on a script and he had a small role. Mathison was a success in her own right and most famously wrote E.T. for Spielberg. Things were rocky in the last years of their relationship with a trial separation and a lot of late night bar hopping for Ford.
7 Paul McCartney - Paid $48.6M + $70K Per Year
6 James Cameron - Paid Off $50M
5 Michael Douglas - Paid Off $45M
4 Madonna - Paid Off $85M
It's not like Madonna's ex-husband, Guy Ritchie (responsible for Sherlock Holmes and Snatch) wasn't successful - it's just that he was never Madonna successful. So when the pair headed for divorce court, it shouldn't be a big surprise that he asked and received a pretty huge sum of money. The pair had a rocky seven year marriage, during which Madonna has since reported feeling "incarcerated" by Ritchie. She felt that Ritchie was really interfering with her full potential as an artist and it was one of the reasons the marriage had to go down. She ended up paying Guy Ritchie a reported 85 million dollars in the divorce.
3 Tiger Woods - Paid Off $100M
2 Michael Jordan - Paid Off $168M + Mansion
1 Arnold Schwarzenegger - Paid Off Over $300M
It's no big surprise that Maria Shriver called it quits on her marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger when she found out not only that he was having an affair, but it was with the help and he had a child with her! Among the trickiest separations on this list, four years after she filed for divorce they were still officially married - according to sources, Arnold just kept delaying and delaying the inevitable. Maybe he knew that there was no way he wasn't walking away from this divorce without paying big - and really, he would be right. Since the pair did not have a prenup according to California law, it meant that Maria was entitled to half his fortune - feeling bad about how the whole thing ended, Arnold reportedly threw in some extra as a good will gesture. The exact numbers have never officially been released but estimates put Arnold's fortune at around $500 million and $750 million, which means that Maria likely got a divorce settlement around $250 and $375 million.
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