Nowadays, all you have to do is turn on the news and you’ll find out another high-profile celebrity couple has split. Celebs tend to get divorced left right and centre, or perhaps it’s just because they’re in the limelight, so we get to hear about it? Whatever the reasons may be, there does seem to be a ridiculous number of celebs who get divorced. A lot do so after many happy years of marriage, but there’s also those who get hitched, and you can pretty much guess right away that their marriage isn’t going to last long, perhaps a matter of months, perhaps years. Of course, we’re not cruel, we don’t wish failed marriages upon them, but that’s the way things tend to work out in the celebrity world – that world, and the whole lifestyle that comes with it, tends to be toxic for sustainable marriages.
When celebs get divorced, there’s the small matter, or actually a rather large matter, of reaching a divorce settlement. Calculations start to get made, which party’s earned what, when they earned their cash, what each person brought to the table, essentially what each person was worth in the marriage. Then the issues that led to the failed marriage have to be taken into account, the damages have to be calculated, and then they have a numerical figure put to them. I’m no divorce lawyer, but it seems like one hell of a complicated process.
It becomes even more complicated when celebs are involved, because most, understandably, want to be discreet about the process, and because they’re earning megabucks. Lots of cash is at stake, so deciding how much goes to whom can be a rather tricky endeavour. Vast sums of money can be exchanged in celebrity divorce settlements, and these are 15 of the most expensive ones, or at least of the ones that have been made public anyway.
15 Harrison Ford & Melissa Mathison - $100 Million
Legendary actor Harrison Ford’s been in the limelight doing his thing for a hell of a long time. Hollywood wouldn’t be Hollywood without Harrison Ford and some of his iconic films, movies that are known throughout the world. But while he’s been killing it onscreen for all these decades, his personal life has been far from stable.
He’s currently in his third marriage, and things seem to be roses, but that certainly wasn’t the case during his second marriage, his marriage to screenwriter Melissa Mathison. They gave it a good go, tried to follow through on that “til death do us part” bit of their nuptials, but in the end, they went their separate ways. It proved to be one hell of a costly divorce. It was a drawn-out process too, because trying to ascertain who owed who what got complicated as they didn’t have a prenup. Negotiations continued for three years, and at the end of it, the settlement’s thought to be in the region of $100m.
14 Greg Norman & Laura Andrassy - $103 Million
Those of you who know your golf will know that Greg Norman’s up there with the greatest players of all time. During the 80s and 90s, he was winning pretty much everything for fun, and as a result of his exploits on the course, spent a remarkable 331 weeks as the world’s number one golfer. During this time, as he went about decimating his opponents, there was a woman in his life who helped him keep going strong and pushed him to remain at the top. That woman was Laura Andrassy. The couple got married in 1981, and remained together for a pretty long time, for over a quarter of a century, until 2007. But although they still care for each other, that spark eventually fizzled out, and they were on the path to divorce. It was one hell of a costly divorce too, with Greg having to hand over an eye-watering $103m in the settlement process.
13 Garth Brooks & Sandy Mahl - $135 Million
Garth Brooks and his unique style of music has led to him gaining an immense amount of popularity in the States, and eventually a fan following across the world. He brought something different to the music scene by blending rock and roll with country music, and although traditionalists were sceptical at first, boy did it work, and millions went on to love his music. Because of that, he’s become one of the best-selling artists in the world, and therefore it’s no surprise that he’s been raking in the cash due to his popularity and superstar status.
As the saying goes, there’s a woman behind every man’s success, and that woman in Garth’s life was Sandy Mahl. They were married in 1986, spent many happy years together, before getting divorced in 2001. During the settlement, it’s estimated that Garth handed over half of his sizeable fortune. Sandy got $135m as a result of the split, so it couldn’t have been all doom and gloom on her end!
12 Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren
Take a wild guess as to why Tiger Woods and his spouse at the time, Elin Nordegren, divorced, and who initiated it. Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past seven years, you’re going to know the answer.
Tiger Woods, arguably one of the world’s greatest ever golfers, once appeared to be the model sports icon. He was professional, did his charity work, was great during interviews, and of course was killing it on the golf course. But Tiger had a nasty little secret – well, nasty for his wife anyway. He was sleeping with multiple women, and was to all extents and purposes, a sex addict. When everything came to light, understandably Elin wasn’t best pleased, to put it mildly. They divorced in 2010, and Tiger had to shell out an extortionate – but reasonable considering the circumstances – sum of cash, estimated to be in the region of $100m. His wandering eye, and hands, certainly cost him!
11 Michael Douglas & Diandra Douglas - $45 Million
Legendary actor and film producer Michael Douglas, has enjoyed a long and illustrious career at the top of the Hollywood scene. He’s starred in and has produced a number of iconic films, blockbuster movies, and therefore his contribution to cinema has been immense.
In 1977, 32-year-old Douglas fell head over heels for 19-year-old Diandra. She was the daughter of an Austrian diplomat, and he became infatuated with her. The feelings were reciprocated, and the duo got hitched. They spent over two decades together, and enjoyed a very happy marriage. But then things happen, certain issues arose that Diandra just had to walk away from. She filed for divorce, probably with a heavy heart, and ended up leaving Douglas while pocketing a huge sum of cash. $45m is what Douglas had to shell out – not an amount like some of the others on this list had to pay, but still a sizeable sum. Douglas is currently hitched to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. If and when they ever get divorced, you can bet your bottom dollar the divorce settlement’s going to be in the hundreds of millions!
10 Steven Spielberg & Amy Irving - $100 Million
Steven Spielberg is a name that’s synonymous with Hollywood. He can be credited with founding the so-called new age Hollywood, and for his other major contributions to the movie industry. The guy’s films are massive hits, the stars he works with are all A-list, and because of all of that and all of the accolades he’s received, he’s probably the wealthiest guy on this list. He could make films using his own income just for the fun of it, and it’ll be like pocket change to him. His net worth’s estimated to be in the region of $3.7 billion, so understandably, when Steven and his wife of four years, Amy Irving, went their separate ways, she received a huge sum during their divorce settlement. Apparently, there was a prenup, but it was strangely scrawled on a napkin, and the judge refused to recognize it as a formal prenup agreement. Irving was therefore awarded over $100m, which is a huge amount of cash, but wasn’t really going to dent Steven’s fortune.
9 Kelsey Grammer & Camille Grammer - $60 Million
Kelsey Grammer is and always will be known as one of the world’s greatest ever sitcom stars. He’s done other work, but Frasier Crane is a name that’s always going to be synonymous with Kelsey. During this period, it might have seemed that everything was roses in Kelsey’s life. He had a massive fan following, was earning megabucks, and was popular the world over. But Kelsey’s been through a load of seriously tough times in his personal life. These tumultuous times have beaten him down, and he found solace in a bottle. These hard times obviously affected his relationships. He’s been married four times over the years, and just couldn’t find stability. His third wife was Playboy model, Camille Donatacci. People thought it was only going to be a matter of time until they filed for divorce, but they actually remained together for a pretty long stint, for 14 years. But when they got divorced, things quickly became very ugly, and very public too. Kelsey lost $60, and at the end of the long, bitter, drawn out dispute, but Kelsey was probably glad to be rid of her, and would’ve probably handed over more cash just to speed up the process.
8 Neil Diamond & Marcia Murphey - $150 Million
Here’s a blast from the past, and probably something that Neil Diamond wouldn’t want brought up again. The American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor was married to his second wife, Marcia Murphey, for around a quarter of a century. That’s a long time, especially in Hollywood, but in the end, as marriages do, their relationship just fizzled out and they went their separate ways. It was a shame, because you kind of want marriages of that length to last, to keep on going, especially when there are kids involved, as there was in their case – they had two sons together who were caught in the crossfire.
The media coverage must have made it hard to deal with. But because of this coverage, we came to know about the terms of the divorce settlement. Solicitors had to divvy up Neil’s assets, and that included his luxury estate. Neil had to hand over a whopping $150m, but Neil was actually understanding and didn’t wish Marcia badly, or at least he gave that impression when being interviewed: "She was worth every penny."
7 Paul McCartney & Heather Mills - $48 Million
Both Sir – to give him his proper title - Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are celebs and have lived their lives in the public eye, so when they got together and eventually got hitched, it was pretty big news.
Paul McCartney of The Beatles, doesn’t really need any introduction. The band is one of the most popular and influential groups of all time, and Paul was at the forefront of it, strumming away on his guitar and lending his vocals to the band’s many super-duper hits.
Heather Mills isn’t on the same level of fame, but she’s a pretty big deal, especially in the UK. She’s become somewhat of a media personality, but before she met Paul, she was earning her living as a model. Marrying Paul in 2002 made her an even bigger celebrity, and the two were the new superstar couple in London town. But their four-year marriage ended in a tumultuous fashion. It was a very public bitter split, and it resulted in Heather walking away from their marriage $48m richer – mere pocket change for Paul.
6 Madonna & Guy Ritchie - $90 Million
Here’s another celebrity duo who made headlines with pretty much everything they did during their time together. Both Madonna and Guy Ritchie are massive names in their respective fields. Madonna, known for pushing the boundaries with her music, and at the same time mesmerizing people with her incredible songs, has been at the top of her game for a hell of a long time now. Guy Ritchie’s been killing it for decades too, as a filmmaker. The two married in Scotland in December 2000. Two kids and eight years down the line, they decided to split. The reason was said to be due to irreconcilable differences – as good a reason as any. But it ended up costing Madonna a hell of a lot of cash. It was reported she had to pay out $90m, however the pair later came out with a joint statement saying that details of their settlement were going to remain private. But those close to Madonna said that $90m was definitely a ballpark figure.
5 Donald Trump & Ivana Trump - $14 Million
And now we move onto the President of The United States, Donald Trump – we all know by now how the guy is towards women, and he’s had a fair few over the years. He’s had a few wives too, one of them being Ivana. Ivana’s certainly Donald’s type of woman. When they met in the 1970s, Donald was already earning megabucks, and Ivana was making a name for herself as a fashion model. She caught Trump’s eye and they didn’t waste any time speeding things along and getting married. They had three kids, including the President’s golden girl, the woman who’s always by his side, Ivanka.
Donald and Ivana were actually married for a pretty long time. But it was marred by rumors of infidelity, on Trump’s part. Divorce proceedings ensued, but Donald had a signed solid prenup, so he didn’t end up shelling out quite as much as many people expected. But Ivana still got a sweet deal. She got around $14m in cash, got hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in child support payments, and got a luxury mansion and an apartment block thrown in there too.
4 Phil Collins & Orianne Cevey - $46.76 Million
The Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce settlement, was at the time, the biggest, costliest in Britain when it came to celebrity divorces. But this was topped a short time later when news broke that Phil Collins and Orianne Cevey had decided to go their separate ways. The two were together for nine years, had a couple of sons together, but divorced in 2008. It was Phil’s third failed marriage, and he went through some seriously dark times as a result of it.
The fact that Cevey received a $46.76 cash pay-out didn’t really factor into it – that wasn’t a sum that was going to dent Phil’s bank account. It was the failure of his marriage, and the fact that Cevey moved with their kids to the U.S. Phil got down, turned to alcohol, and in the end, things got so bad he almost died. But he sorted his life out, and in 2015, he revealed he’d been sober for years. He also moved to Miami and reconciled with Cevey, and as of 2016, the pair were living together again. Strange how things work out!
3 James Cameron & Linda Hamilton - $50 Million
These two were another superstar couple, while they were together anyway, which wasn’t all that long.
Billionaire filmmaker, producer, director – you name it, if it’s got to do with creating magical movies, he’s done it - James Cameron, got married to his fourth wife at the time, actress Linda Hamilton, in 1997. You’ve read about some pretty long marriages on this list. This one wasn’t one of them. It seemed to be over before it had even started. Their short-lived marriage ended after only two years together, definitely a time both James and Linda would want to forget – although probably more James than Linda, as she walked away after pocketing a nice sum of cash. I’m not insinuating that was the reason for the divorce, but it did spark some rumors. Two years and $50m richer as a result of the divorce settlement, it was not a bad outcome for Linda.
2 Michael Jordan & Juanita Jordan - $200 Million
Michael Jordan, the basketball legend, achieved all of his fame, fortune, and success while having a strong woman by his side. That woman was Juanita. She was with Michael pretty much throughout his entire career, and enjoyed all of his major successes together. The two met in the late 80s, and got hitched in 1989. For over a decade, everything was bliss. But in the early 2000s, cracks began to appear in their relationship. Irreconcilable differences were the reason they split, and they actually ended up filing for divorce, which was a mutual decision. But they’d been through too much together over the years to just call it quits. They got back together, but things were too far gone and they ended up divorcing in 2006. It was all done amicably, but received a hell of a lot of press coverage, because of the whopping amount Michael had to pay in the divorce settlement. It was reported that Michael had to pay an eye-watering $200m, and he had to throw his mansion into the mix too. If these figures are to be believed, it’s the biggest celebrity divorce settlement in history.
1 Mel Gibson & Robyn Moore Gibson - $425 Million!!!!
I mentioned in the previous entry that Michael and Juanita’s divorce settlement was the biggest celeb divorce settlement in history. Well, it was at the time. But a few years later, that figure was eclipsed when Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore ended their marriage.
Mel and Robyn were together for a hell of a long time. They were married for 31 years and have seven kids, yes seven – Mel’s been a busy man sowing those seeds! – and have grandkids too. You’d think they’d be a pretty solid family unit. They were, but due to Mel’s various indiscretions, they just couldn’t carry on together. When he was convicted for drunk driving, Robyn wanted to distance herself from Mel, and they separated. A few years later, their marriage was ended for good, when Mel was pictured on a beach with another woman, and it was revealed he’d had a child with her. The settlement was the highest in Hollywood, in the celeb world full stop. They had to divide up Mel’s $850m fortune evenly, which meant that Robyn got – for those of you decent at math! - $425m.