Not having a prenuptial agreement can really come back to bite you if you’re rich. Over the years, rich people have had millions taken away from them when a spouse wanted out of a marriage. There have been songs and movies written about gold diggers, but they don’t even begin to scratch the surface on how much money is really involved.
Imagine if you were getting a divorce and your net worth was only $20,000. Split that money in half, and you and your former spouse will both be struggling to get by. When you are worth over $1 billion, though, that means that you can still lose half of your money in a divorce settlement and both of you will still be able to live the high life. It doesn’t quite seem fair, but hey, what can you do?
Many rich couples have decided to call it quits over the years, but there are some that stick out much more than others in terms of the money that was split apart. So which notable names have been taken for the highest amount when their spouse decided to call it quits? Here are the 16 most expensive divorces settlements ever.
#16 – Greg Norman & Laura Andrassy ($103 Million)
Greg Norman was known as “The Shark” on the PGA Tour, but was most noted for his epic choke job at the 1996 Masters. Norman has now been married three times, but it was his first wife that hit his bank account the hardest.
The whole drama started way back in 1995, when Norman cheated on Andrassy and reportedly got his mistress pregnant (so perhaps his collapse at the Masters wasn’t the worst thing he did in the mid 1990’s.) Still, it took Andrassy 11 more years to divorce him. Norman would then go on to marry tennis star, Chris Evert (which lasted a whopping one year), then the mistress he slept with in 1995 to bring it full circle.
#15 – Charles Edgar & Marlene Fipke ($123 Million)
Charles Edgar Fipke made his millions as a prospector who found a boatload of diamonds in Western Canada. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and this guy has a lot of them, which is probably how he got his ex-wife Marlene.
When the two were divorced, it became the biggest divorce in the history of Canada. It’s strange to see a Canadian divorce on this list because the people of Canada are typically considered to be extremely polite. Marlene went into full American mode. Marlene took Charles for as much as she possibly could, and ended up with enough money to buy her own diamonds for a lifetime.
#14 – Garth Brooks & Sandy Mahl ($125 Million)
This couple was a rags to riches story that had a sad ending. Brooks was working as a bouncer when he met Sandy Mahl, so she clearly didn’t want him for his fame or money, at least at the time. The two did not get married until a music agent offered Brooks a chance to start recording.
The marriage lasted for 14 years and included three children (all daughters). Their second youngest daughter had a child at 19 years old, making Brooks and Mahl grandparents, but unfortunately she wasn’t featured on “Teen Mom”. After their divorce, Brooks went on to marry fellow country singer Trisha Yearwood, while Mahl presumably went on to count that sweet, sweet money.
#13 – Frank & Jamie McCourt ($130 Million)
Frank and Jamie McCourt met while they were both attending Georgetown University. It seemed like a great couple for the first 25 years, until they bought the Los Angeles Dodgers. Within five years, the marriage fizzled out and Jamie filed for divorce.
Since baseball equals big money in America with regional television deals, there was a lot of money at stake. Both wanted to be the majority owner of the Dodgers, but there could only be one after they split. Frank paid Jamie a whopping sum of $130 million to leave his baseball organization and walk away. And to think, Dodgers fans actually pay to watch the team not win the World Series every year.
#12 – Neil Diamond & Marcia Murphey ($150 Million)
Neil Diamond and his first wife Marcia Murphey didn’t exactly have the messiest divorce on this list. After it was all said and done, Diamond still claimed that Marcia was worth the $150 million he gave her in the divorce settlement.
A lot of the money that Diamond made as a singer came from the song “Sweet Caroline” that launched him into stardom. Diamond actually wrote the song about Marcia, but it’s hard to imagine stretching that into three syllables, so he changed it. Now try to picture a bar full of drunk people singing “Sweet Marcia”. It just doesn’t seem right, does it?
#11 – Boris Berezovsky & Galina Besharova ($160 Million)
Boris and Galina were married for a total of 18 years, which doesn’t sound too bad for an incredibly wealthy husband. The funny part is that they were separated for 16 of those years while Boris shacked up with his new girlfriend.
To put things into perspective a little bit, Boris was 50 years old at the time when he separated from the 36 year old Galina. Boris’ new girlfriend was only 26 years old (Yelena Gorbunova) at the time. Either way, Boris must have been going by the mantra of “new is always better.” In the end, he had to give Galina half of his fortune and will probably find some younger woman when Yelena starts to go a little gray.
#10 – Michael Jordan & Juanita Vanoy ($168 Million)
Juanita Vanoy must have seen the writing on the wall and wanted to tie down the NBA legend before it was too late. After five years in the league, Michael and Juanita got hitched and signed a post-nuptial instead of the standard pre-nup (before MJ was worth hundreds of millions.) This ended up costing Michael dearly, as he had to give Juanita half of his money.
Still, MJ ended up making enough money in his career to buy part of the Charlotte Hornets and still holds that position. For those that are curious, Michael had to give Juanita $28 million for every NBA title he won, or $168 million for every “Space Jam” movie he did.
#9 – Michael & Maya Polsky ($184 Million)
While Michael Polsky became an energy executive in the United States (which is huge money), Maya had the opportunity to make crafts (since she didn’t need to pick up a job to help the family’s cash flow.) Maya filed for divorce from Michael in 2003, but the divorce would take four years to finalize.
After Maya was awarded the monumental sum of $184 million, her lawyers stated to the press that she “was very pleased” by the outcome. No, really? It was a sad ending for two immigrants that came to America with only $500 to their name, half of that probably wouldn’t have gotten Maya very far in the expensive city of Chicago.
#8 – Roman Abramovich & Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina ($300 Million)
Abramovich is one of the most recognizable executives in the sport of soccer, as he owns Chelsea FC at only 47 years old. At the time of his divorce, Abramovich was only 40 years old and apparently wanted to end the marriage so badly that they rushed the proceedings. This was a huge mistake. It ended up costing him $300 million and he lost four homes in the process.
Abramovich started seeing a younger woman while he was still married and this angered one of his buddies, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin told him to clean up his act and divorce his wife to save face. If you’ve ever looked into the stone cold eyes of Putin, you’d probably be convinced to divorce your spouse, too.
#7 – Mel Gibson & Robyn Moore Gibson ($425 Million)
Mel Gibson was one of the most beloved actors in all of Hollywood for a long period of time after starring in a huge range of movies. Mel was even married to his wife Robyn for over 30 years. However, everything that we thought we knew about Mel Gibson went flying out of the window pretty quickly.
Drunken rants started to leak out, including sexist, racist and anti-semitic remarks that I don’t even want to repeat. All of a sudden, “Braveheart” didn’t look so good and we got scared at just the sight of the instantly insane Gibson. Not only did Gibson give Robyn half of all of his money, but he also has to give half of all of his film earnings in the future to her. The bad news for her, though, is that people aren’t rushing to see him in movies anymore.
#6 – Craig & Wendy McCaw ($460 Million)
The McCaw divorce had a lot riding on the line. The law firm that represented the hearings said that the only case they’ve handled bigger than this was the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Yikes! The two argued for years about who owned what, how they made money, and so on and so on.
In the end, Craig had to give up almost half of his $1.3 billion fortune after they broke down the numbers exhaustedly. Had they settled their case on “Judge Judy” instead, they likely would have just had to draw a red line down the middle of each of their properties until they settled their personal differences, which is what the divorce reason was cited as.
#5 – Adnan & Soraya Khashoggi ($850 Million)
Adnan became a very successful businessman in Saudi Arabia despite the fact that some of his money might not have been clean. Still, Adnan was listed as one of the richest men in the world before his divorce. When Adnan was starting to get near the 40 years old mark, he married a 20 year old named Sandra and converted her to Islam (hence her current name Soraya).
After having five children, Adnan had apparently seen enough of her and divorced her while she was still pregnant (with a different man’s child) – “JERRY! JERRY!” The divorce instantly made Soraya one of the richest women in the world at the time, but it seemed like peanuts to Adnan since he had a $250,000 per day spending habit. It must be nice to throw away $850 million and not lose a lot of sleep over it.
#4 – Harold Hamm & Sue Ann Arnall ($1 Billion)
Harold Hamm (no relation to John) started an oil company in the 1960’s and the business soon made him wealthy. 20 years later, he married Sue Ann Arnall and they maintained a marriage for 26 years. When the two filed for divorce, things ended up getting messier than an oil spill.
The proceedings took 10 weeks to figure out and the judge decided that Sue Ann was entitled to $1 billion. For whatever reason, she didn’t seem to think that was enough and repeatedly appealed the ruling. Sue Ann ended up taking the $1 billion after the judge ruled that it was more than enough. What the judge probably wanted to say, though, was “Oh my God, $1 billion isn’t enough? Really?”
#3 – Bernie & Slavica Ecclestone ($1.2 Billion)
This case is probably one of the strangest ones and definitely involves the strangest former couple. Slavica is a much younger and taller woman, while Ecclestone is a very old and short man. Pictures of the two look like a volleyball star posing with her grandfather.
What makes the case even weirder is that Slavica was the one who initially had to pay out Bernie, despite the fact that he owned 47 percent of the massively successful Formula One race series. Bernie received over $100 million, but it quickly turned around during the proceedings and Slavica was granted over $1 billion. This is a classic case of “Looks aren’t everything, but cash is” kind of relationship.
#2 – Alec Wildenstein & Jocelyn Perisse ($2.5 Billion)
Jocelyn Perisse was a hard partier and a gold digger since day one. When Jocelyn was 17, she started dating a movie producer, then later married into Alec Wildenstein’s wealthy family in her early 30’s. When Jocelyn walked in on him with a 19 year old woman, though, she had had enough and asked for a divorce.
Jocelyn was granted $2.5 billion right away and another $100 million per year for 13 years. However, the judge ruled that Jocelyn could not use the money on any more plastic surgery (which she has had a lot of). Instead, she used the money to buy more than $500,000 of wine in a year and continued partying. Despite her frivolous spending, Jocelyn is still one of the wealthiest women on the planet. If you want to know what Jocelyn looks like now, you’ve probably seen a similar creature in your nightmares.
#1 – Dmitry & Elena Rybolovlev ($4.5 Billion)
Dmitry Rybolovlev had a pretty good thing going with Elena. She was a beautiful woman and the two had a daughter together, but he just couldn’t contain himself. Dmitry started blatantly cheating on Elena during their marriage, so she slapped a divorce agreement on his desk. Dmitry made the bulk of his money in the fertilizer business (of all things) and Elena knew something stunk right away!
Five years after the incident, the judge finally ruled that Elena was entitled to $4.5 billion, more than half of his fortune. On top of all of that, Dmitry had to pay $7.5 million in child support immediately, and has to pay an additional $750,000 each month until his daughter turns 18. All in all, Elena ended up netting $184 million for each year she was married to Dmitry. That’s not a bad salary for being married to a poop salesman.