The Most Expensive Celebrity Divorce Settlements
Marriage can be one of the happiest times in a couple's relationship. You get to be the center of attention around all your friends and family in a gathering they will all remember. However, the opposite is also true when things begin to go south and both parties agree a divorce is necessary. This has happened on numerous occasions with celebrity couples and it is always tricky when finances get involved. Scroll through this gallery to see some of the crazy divorce settlements celebrities have had to deal with.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s love story began after the actors met on the set of Rum Diary in 2011. Four years after they met, the lovebirds tied the knot in a private ceremony. Unfortunately, their union didn’t last very long; it ended in divorce in 2012 due to irreconcilable differences between the lovers.
Things went off the rails quickly during the divorce as Heard filed a restraining order against Depp a couple of days after the initial divorce filing. Heard walked away from the union with $7 million in settelements.
Colin Firth and Livia Giuggioli
Giuggioli and Firth met while they were both starring in the BBC drama, Nostromo in 1996. They bonded and got married in 1997 only a year after they met and remained together as a couple for 22 years until their split and subsequent divorce was officially announced in December 2019.
It doesn’t take long to see the link between the timing of the divorce and Livia Giuggioli’s not-so-private extramarital affair with an Italian journalist; the expensive affair culminated in the divorce and a $12.5 million settlement that both parties eventually agreed to.
Robin Givens and Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson’s marriage to actress Robin Givens ended when she filed for divorce in 1989 on grounds of spousal abuse, something that no couple should have to go through. They mutually agreed to end their marriage only eight months after tying the knot.
Mike Tyson was worth about $50 million at the time, so he was asked to pay Givens $10 million in divorce settlement payments. Soon after their divorce settlement was announced, some Mike Tyson fans began to label Givens as a gold digger and she was given the unceremonious title of the Most Hated Woman in America.
Cris Judd and Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez is one of the most influential people of Latin-American origin in the world and she was the rave of the music industry when she filed for divorce from Cris Judd in 2002. The announcement sent shockwaves around because they hadn’t even been married for a year at that point and the divorce was particularly expensive for the screen diva.
She had to pay him $14 million for the nine months they were married. The irony of it all is they met on the set of her "Love Don’t Cost a Thing" music video. Although losing Jennifer Lopez must have hurt, I think we can all agree $14 million makes the pain a lot easier.
Alyce Faye Eichelberger and John Cleese
An ugly alimony battle broke out between John Cleese and Alyce Faye Eichelberger shortly after they announced their decision to get a divorce. After the legal proceedings, John Cleese was ordered to pay his ex-wife about $19 million in alimony payments and another $13 million in assets.
Eichelberger actually became richer than Cleese who was doing well financially before the divorce. Eventually, because he had to work for years to pay off the alimony, he thinks the whole divorce saga and the settlement payments he had to cough up were simply ridiculous.
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
Paul McCartney married former model and activist Heather Mills in 2002 but their union didn’t last for long as they split four years after. Procedures and agreements crawled by slowly during the divorce and it took the former lovers two years to reach an official divorce settlement.
The fact that Mills has a daughter with McCartney must have been extra motivation when she requested for a $250 million settlement. The judge ruled her request as exorbitant before awarding her $48.6 million instead. Mills got what she wanted in the end; the resources to secure her daughter’s future.
Kenny Rogers and Marianne Gordon
Kenny Rogers made his mark on country music and is widely regarded as a legend but he was equally prolific at love matters. Rogers was married five times but his most expensive divorce was with his fourth wife, Marianne Gordon.
Gordon and Rogers were married for about 16 years and they share a child from their union. Their divorce was announced in 1993 and when all was said and done, the country music legend had to pay out approximately $60 million in divorce settlements to Marianne Gordon.
James Cameron and Linda Hamilton
About a decade before James Cameron made history with his ground-breaking Avatar movie, he was locked in divorce agreements with his ex-wife Linda Hamilton. He was already a director, and she was a famous actress when they got married in 1997. Hamilton and James Cameron became a couple while James Cameron was still married to movie director Kathryn Bigelow and history repeated itself when Hamilton found that Cameron was having an extra-marital affair with Suzy Amis.
Their marriage ended only a year after, and they share a daughter. The spark between the lovers was dead when they announced their divorce in 1999. There was no going back for the Hollywood power couple once Linda got wind of the affair and she was eventually awarded a divorce settlement of $50 million, half of what Cameron made on Titanic. As they always say, "If they'll do it for you, they'll do it to you."
Madonna and Guy Ritchie
The paths of American pop superstar Madonna and popular British movie director Guy Ritchie were always bound to cross. When they officially decided to get a divorce in 2008, they had been married for eight years.
They were a real power couple with lots of resources and money but Madonna accounted for most of their combined wealth so it was she who paid Guy Ritchie a $76 million divorce settlement. After the divorce settlement was agreed and paid, things went quiet as neither of them released a statement about it.
Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva
Cindy Silva and Kevin Costner met at California State University and got married in 1978. Their union lasted for 16 years and they share three children. He wasn’t always an award-winning actor; it was during the course of their marriage that Costner became one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, and one of its most successful with roles in high-grossing movies like Field of Dreams, Dance With Wolves, and more.
As a result of his star power and wealth, their divorce settlement was huge; Costner had to pay his ex-wife Silva about $80 million in divorce settlements. At least he has 16 years of great memories to look back on, as opposed to some of these celebrities paying millions for months of marriage.
Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving
Steven Speilberg and Amy Irving met during Irving’s audition for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and they got married not long after. Spielberg and Irving’s union lasted for four years until their divorce. A curious thing that happened during their divorce proceedings was that it was revealed that the couple signed a prenup on a piece of paper.
The prenup was later declared invalid in court on the grounds that Irving didn’t have any legal representative present when she signed it so the judge awarded her a settlement of $100 million. This can serve as a very important lesson for anyone who gets married, makes sure the correct documentation is filed.
Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison
Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison had been married for about 17 years when they announced their separation in 2000. According to reports, Ford’s extramarital affair with a young lady is the reason the marriage crashed early.
Mathison ended up filing for divorce in 2001 and divorce settlements were negotiated for three years until an agreement was reached in 2004. She was awarded $118 million in divorce settlements. Unfortunately, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter didn’t stay around for too long after as she died after battling cancer in 2015.
Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt
Frank McCourt’s separation from Jamie McCourt remains one of the most controversial and expensive celebrity divorces ever. The divorce settlement negotiations were so messy that they incurred a combined $20.6 million in legal representation fees.
They announced their separation in 2009 after nearly 30 years together. Frank’s decision to fire Jamie as the CEO of the Dodgers on allegations of insubordination and inability to follow procedures preceded her decision to file for divorce. They squared off in a fierce legal battle that ended with Jamie receiving $130 million in divorce settlements.
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods’ multiple extramarital affairs became public in 2010, causing his wife Elin Nordegren to file for divorce shortly after. Apparently, before Elin filed for divorce in August 2010, she was in the dark about Woods' extracurricular activities.
She didn’t suspect anything was amiss as she was tied up with pregnancies and fending for their children. There was no turning back once she did find out though; Nordegren and her lawyers requested for a $750 million settlement but she was only awarded $100 million in divorce settlements by the judge.
Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl
Garth Brooks became a country music legend after he met and married Sandy Mahl. When they tied the knot in 1986, Brooks didn’t yet have an album to his name. They were married for 14 years; Brooks’ career really boomed in this span as he became one of the highest-paid touring artists in history.
Unfortunately, their union was marred by allegations of infidelity on the part of Brooks and the fact that he was always on tour couldn’t have helped much either. $25 million was awarded to Mahl in the divorce settlements.
Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore
Mel Gibson’s 31-year marriage to Robyn Moore ended in divorce in 2011. The divorce arrangements and settlement judgment left a big hole in Gibson’s bank account as he had to pay Moore a staggering sum of $425 million in settlements.
Details of the divorce, court procedures, and eventual judgment were hidden from the public but we know the award-winning director and actor was worth about $850 million at the time so the settlement was in line. Together, they have seven children and the fact that there was no prenup explains the huge settlement.
Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen
Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen’s divorce was more than just another controversial celebrity divorce in 2006. Their union was full of turbulent years; documents presented in court included allegations that Charlie Sheen was abusive to the screen diva and that he slept around with prostitutes while they were married.
Richards also alleged that Sheen blocked his children from receiving regular vaccinations. There was a lot of name-calling during the divorce; when the storm let up, an undisclosed settlement was reached and Richards began to receive $80,000 for child support.
Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy
Michael Jordan got dunked on when his former wife Juanita Vanoy filed for divorce. No one really knows what was going on in her head when she called it quits but a clearer picture is painted by the reports of Jordan’s extra-marital affairs and a private investigator who claimed to have seen Jordan with several women in compromising positions.
There was a brief attempt by husband and wife to reconcile but they ended up separating again in 2006. Juanita Vanoy was awarded about $168 in divorce settlements from the NBA legend.
Rupert Murdoch and Anna Mann
Rupert Murdoch’s marriage to Anna Mann lasted for 32 years and they have three children. Because Murdoch’s fortune is worth billions of dollars, the divorce settlement wasn’t a small figure by any measure. Mann was paid about $1.7 billion in settlement and another $110 million in cash settlements.
During an interview with an Australian magazine, she discussed how ruthless and brutal her husband became during the divorce procedures. Because of it, Mann would rather not see any of her kids take over the management of News Corp International from Murdoch.
Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott
Jeff Bezons has been the richest man in the world on more than one occasion and he’s also one of the wealthiest individuals in history. It is therefore not surprising that his divorce from Mackenzie Scott was such an expensive affair.
After 25 years of marriage and four children, the couple announced their split in January 2019. Part of the settlement arrived that saw Scott receive 25% of the Amazon stock held by the couple which was valued at $38 billion. Not long after, Scott announced her intention to donate a portion of her wealth to charities.
Adele and Simon Konecki
Adele’s decision to file for divorce from Simon Konecki surprised a lot of fans and the award-winning singer herself. They have a nine-year-old son, Angelo and they had been together for eight years, three of which they were married before their separation and divorce.
Adele’s busy schedule put a dent in the relationship and she wasn’t really happy in the marriage. They eventually grew apart as her fame grew and the fact that she was always away on tour. A settlement of £144 million was reached and the divorce was finalized in March 2021.
Narvel Blackstock and Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire is a country music icon and Narvel Blackstock was her manager for 35 years. When their previous marriages crashed in 1989, McEntire and Blackstock got married and they were together for 26 years until their separation in 2015.
The union produced one son, race car driver Shelby Blackstock, which is why they have continued to support each other after their divorce. Their divorce arrangements were settled in December 2015 and Blackstock received a mind-boggling $47.5 million in divorce settlements from McEntire whose net worth exceeds $95 million.
Michael Strahan and Jean Muggli
Michael Strahan and Jean Muggli tied the knot in 1999, five years after they first met. Their union was full of bliss and they welcomed twin daughters in 2004 but a year after their children were born, Jean called emergency services on threats of abuse from her husband who already had a history of abusing her.
Muggli also said her ex-husband had refused to sleep with her for a while and she didn’t see a way to fix things after that so she filed for a divorce. She was eventually awarded a $15 million settlement and $18,000 in monthly child support.
Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee
Jesse Williams filed for divorce from his wife Aryn Drake-Lee after five years together. They had been in a relationship for 13 years at that point and it appeared Drake-Lee didn’t want the divorce as she came out to discuss the pain divorce can bring to couples and their children.
That did little to change Williams’ mind and they were soon enmeshed in a messy divorce characterized by court custody battles and child support hearings. It all ended when a settlement estimated to be about $4 million was reached.
Robert Johnson and Sheila Johnson
Co-founder of BET, Robert Johnson was married to Sheila Johnson for 33 years until he filed for divorce in 2002. Their separation was very public, very bitter, and worse still, the timing of the divorce wasn’t quite great for Johnson who had just sold BET to Viacom two years before he filed for divorce from Sheila.
It turned out to be a windfall type of divorce for Sheila Johnson who must have been all smiles when she was awarded about $400 million in settlements from her ex-husband’s recent cash inflow. Should have held on to the company just a little longer and the payment would have been a lot less.
Michael Polsky and Maya Polsky
Business mogul Michael Polsky was married to Maya Polsky for 31 years before he filed for divorce in 2004. A messy divorce played out after the announcement; during the two-month legal battles, Polsky alleged that his wife Maya was only a housekeeper and it was he who created their fortune after their migration from Russia.
Apparently, being the former owner of Skygen wasn’t enough for Polsky to get off easy as the court only saw a full partner in Maya. She was declared his confidant and support through many ventures, and she was awarded a $184 million settlement.
Allen Iverson and Tawanna Iverson
Allen Iverson is an NBA legend and one of the league’s most prolific small scorers ever. Off the court, he was married to Tawanna Iverson; he was in a relationship with her for 24 years and they have five children. Everything changed for Iverson when Tawanna filed for divorce because he had amassed a staggering $150 million debt.
He reportedly begged to have her back and she obliged for a while by withdrawing the divorce papers but she re-filed them in 2013 and she was awarded $32 million in divorce settlements and everything else in their post-nuptial agreement.
Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphy
Neil Diamond’s marriage to Marcia Murphy was his second; they were married for 26 years before their divorce was concluded in 1995. Their union coincided with the period in which Diamond’s brand was booming with successful hit songs like "You Don’t Bring Me Flowers" and "Sweet Caroline" so she was basically set up for a sizeable divorce settlement.
When she got awarded a $150 million settlement in the divorce proceedings, Diamond didn’t have much to object and he even said he thought she deserves half of his fortune. This is one of those rare occasions, where both parties agree that it takes two to build an empire.
Donald Trump and Ivana Trump
Donald Trump’s marriage to Ivana Trump ended after 15 years as Ivana got wind of his affair with Marla Maples. She quickly filed for divorce as soon as she found out and she was prepared to milk every penny she could out of Trump.
Donald Trump partnered with one of the best divorce lawyers in town and a lot of haggling and disagreements related to the terms of their divorce ensued. After all was said and done, Ivana was awarded a settlement of $25 million out of Trump’s fortune, a much smaller sum than she expected.
Ted Danson and Casey Coates
Ted Danson was already married to his first wife Cindy Coates while he was finding his feet in Hollywood. He hadn’t yet hit it big on Cheers and he wasn’t yet a famous actor when he married Coates.
They were together for 16 years until their divorce in 1992 after Danson left his marriage to Coates because he wanted to be with Whoopi Goldberg. At the end of their divorce proceedings, Ted Danson was ordered to pay his ex-wife a whopping sum of $30 million in divorce settlements.
Greg Norman and Chris Evert
Greg Norman’s second divorce was filled with lots of twists and history. He was in a messy divorce with his first wife as he had to pay her $103 million in divorce settlements. After that divorce was concluded, he married tennis star, Chris Evert. Evert had gone through a nasty divorce herself as she had paid her first husband $7 million after their divorce in 2006.
Because both Norman and Evert were already familiar with divorce proceedings and settlements when they decided to get married, you’d think they would strive to stay together for ages but no, they got divorced only 15 months after they got married and a settlement was reached.
Ron Perelman and Ellen Barkin
Ellen Barkin is a multiple award-winning actress and movie producer who’s been married twice. Her second marriage was to Ron Perelman, a cosmetics mogul she married in 2001 and divorced in 2006. According to reports, they had a troubled marriage full of turbulence so it wasn’t out of place for them to have the kind of messy divorce they had too.
Perelman had to pay Barkin over $60 million in divorce settlements in 2006 and he was also compelled to uphold his promise of investing in a production company she founded with her brother, talk about adding insult to injury.
Matt Lauer and Annette Roque
Matt Lauer and Annette Roque got married in October 1998 after they had gotten to know each other on a blind date. Even though they hit it off quickly, their union suffered when Lauer lost his job on NBC on grounds of alleged sexual misconduct.
His ex-wife Roque had always been bothered by his reputation as a ladies’ magnet and player who loved to do his thing so she ended up asking out of the marriage and she was awarded about $20 million in assets at the conclusion of their divorce. She also got to keep their horse farm in the Hamptons.
Hulk Hogan and Linda Hogan
Hulk Hogan was married to Linda Hogan for 23 years until she filed for divorce in 2007 after finding out the wrestling icon cheated on her. They had a two-year legal battle that ended after their divorce was finally concluded in 2009.
The divorce cost Hulk Hogan a lot of money; Linda received more than $7 million from their shared investment accounts and he had to make do with $3 million. She was also awarded control of 40% of Hogan’s companies and because he had to cough up every penny of the settlement figure, Hogan reportedly sold some homes.
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall
Mick Jagger’s fairytale romance with Jerry Hall began in 1977 after they met in London in 1976. The couple has four children and they were together until they decided to end their union after nearly 20 years together.
Mick Jagger had an extramarital affair that led to the birth of a child out of wedlock; this is the factor that crashed their marriage as Hall filed for divorce shortly after finding out. The exact figure that Hall was awarded in settlements is unknown but the figure is said to be between $15 million to $25 million.
Diane Alexander and Lionel Richie
Lionel Ritchie is no longer the young and energetic performer he once was but his songs are still featured at wedding ceremonies, dinners, and more. He met Diane Alexander while performing at the 1984 Olympic games and they became strongly attached to each other immediately.
They only became official in 1986 and got married but because every good thing comes to an end eventually, they filed for divorce in 2003 on grounds of irreconcilable differences. Apparently, they drifted apart as time passed and eventually, Diane Alexander received $20 million from Lionel Ritchie in divorce settlements.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie’s 12-year relationship and 2-year marriage to Brad Pitt ended when she filed for divorce in 2016. Not only did she file for divorce, but Jolie also requested to have sole custody of their children, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for her decision.
The award-winning actress alleged that Pitt was excessively consuming marijuana and his behavior tended towards anger and violence towards the kids. Jolie said she asked out when she couldn’t cope anymore and a messy custody battle ensued. An agreement still hasn’t been reached but they have both spent millions of dollars in legal fees.
Johnny Carson and Joanna Holland
American talk show host, Johnny Carson was married to Joanna Holland. She is a model and his third wife; they met while Carson was having dinner with Molly Parnis and Holland came around. Their attraction was instant and mutual so they got married shortly after they met.
Because Carson had a drinking problem and the two of them couldn’t always align their individual views, the marriage soon began to wobble. The factors combined to crash the marriage eventually and they got divorced in 1983 with Holland receiving $20 million in divorce settlements.
Lance Armstrong and Kristin Richard
Lance Armstrong conquered the Tour de France twice and he was married to Kristin Richard for five years until their divorce in 2003. They met in 1997 while he was getting chemotherapy for testicular cancer and she soon quit her job to support Armstrong’s career.
Even though they have a son and three daughters, things didn’t quite work out for the couple as they tried to be the perfect couple but failed. Their divorce ended up being one of the most expensive in sports history as Richard received about $14 million in payouts.
Jeff Gordon and Brooke Sealey
Jeff Gordon’s first marriage was to Brooke Sealy. He was at work when they met; he was a NASCAR driver and she was a successful model at the Daytona 500. They had to keep their relationship secret for a while because drivers weren’t supposed to date models.
Gordon proposed to Brooke in 1994 and they got married. Even though they were together for eight years, their split wasn’t very pretty when it all ended. They battled it out in court before they could reach the divorce settlement of $15 million that Sealy got from Gordon.
Heidi Klum and Seal
Heidi Klum was married to Seal for about seven years until she filed for divorce in 2012. They had announced their separation about two months before then so everyone saw the divorce coming. They have three children but custody arrangements weren’t discussed in their divorce judgment.
Things got messy after their split because Klum began to date the family’s security personnel, Martin Kirsten. The actual numbers of their divorce haven't been released to the public since it was handled behind closed doors, but it is believed to be around $50-70 million.
Kelsey Grammer and Camille Grammer
Camille Grammer and Kelsey Grammer got married in 1997 and remained together for 14 years until their divorce in 2011. Even though they have a son and a daughter together, things were far from cordial between them after they split; infidelity on Kelsey Grammer’s part has been cited as the reason for their divorce.
He was seeing Kayte Walsh, who he met in New York; he married her only two weeks after his divorce from Camille was finalized. Kelsey had to pay Camille a divorce settlement of $30 million.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian
After several months of rumors that the most famous Kardashian had grown apart from her husband, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce in February 2021. They had been married for nearly seven years at that point and they have four children.
Even though they both signed a prenuptial agreement, it has been reported that neither is enforcing it as they look forward to an amicable settlement and property sharing arrangement. Kim Kardashian walked away with Kanye's $60 million property in the divorce settlement.
Alec Wildenstein and Jocelyn Wildenstein
Alec Wildenstein was a French-born American Billionaire, art dealer, and businessman. He was married to American socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein for 21 years until their divorce in 1999. The divorce was all over entertainment tabloids and gossip mills because of the amount of money involved.
Jocelyn was awarded a stupendous amount of money; $2.5 billion and an additional annual payment of $100 million for 13 years. That much divorce settlement money was basically unheard of at the time but despite how much she got, Jocelyn became bankrupt in 2018.
Alex Rodriguez and Cynthia Scurtis
Retired baseball player Alex Rodriguez exchanged vows with his first wife Cynthia Scurtis in 2002. He was one of the MLB’s best sluggers at the time and he had just secured a historic contract so rumors of him still being a playboy weren’t unfounded as he was linked to a couple of celebrities.
When news of his affair with Madonna spread, his marriage to Scurtis was already over and she filed for divorce on grounds of infidelity. Rodriguez reportedly paid Scurtis $115k a month in spousal and child support payments for several years.
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates's divorce after 27 years together is perhaps the biggest billionaire divorce in history. Bill Gates is the fourth richest person in the world with a net worth of $124 billion but a lot of his wealth is funneled to a foundation he founded with Melinda; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The day their divorce was announced, Melinda received $2.4 billion in securities as part of divorce settlements. They had a separation contract whose details weren’t disclosed but we do know that they asked the court to divide their assets based on its terms.
Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall
When Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall’s divorce was announced in 2013, the oil magnate was the 35th-richest person in the US so the divorce was always going to be an expensive one. They met at his company, Continental Resources, where Sue worked as an attorney and executive.
When they married in 1988, there was no pre-nuptial agreement so, during their divorce, Mrs. Hamm demanded half of what he made in the 26 years they were married. After hearings and proceedings, Hamm had to pay his ex-wife nearly $1 billion in divorce settlements.
Phil Collins and Orianne Cevey
You would think that after two failed marriages, Phil Collins would have learned his lesson and focused on making the music we all know and love. But this wasn't the case as he decided to try it one more time and married Swiss jewelry designer Orianne Cevey.
The couple stayed together for six years and had two lovely children. Then in 2008, the couple decided to call it quits, and unfortunately for Collins, Cevey was awarded a $46.76 million cash payout. This would be the highest settlement payout in Britain's history. In total, all of Collins' divorces have cost him $84 million dollars.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver
To end things off we have none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. The couple got married in 1986 but things took a turn for the worse when Maria found out that Arnold had had an affair and an illegitimate child with their current housekeeper.
There was no prenuptial agreement and Maria filed for divorce in 2011, however, divorce proceedings continued for a while and a settlement wasn't reached until ten years later in 2021. The wait was worth it for Maria and it is said she will be receiving $200 million dollars from the settlement.