The 10 Most Expensive Divorces in Celebrity History
When it comes to love, celebrities are often like everyone else: They get married, hoping it’ll last forever — but it doesn’t always turn out that way. However, when it comes to divorce settlements, that’s where the rich and famous are nothing like everyone else, because tens (or even hundreds) of millions of dollars can change hands in an afternoon.
Below you’ll find some of the priciest divorces in celebrity history, ranked from the “cheapest” — and man, is that relative — to the most expensive.
Paul McCartney + Heather Mills: $50 million
The former Beatle and his second wife wed in a lavish 2002 ceremony — but by 2006, the relationship was over, and with no prenup, Mills asked for $250 million in the divorce. After a nasty two-year battle, a London judge awarded her about $50 million instead. As for Sir Paul, he was just happy to be rid of Mills, reportedly saying, “There’ll be no more nagging, no more chaos, no more Heather — bliss. I have peace at last.”
Harrison Ford + Melissa Mathison: $85 million (and future earnings)
The erstwhile Han Solo and his screenwriter ex-wife — she wrote ‘The Black Stallion’ and ‘E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial’ — were married for 21 years before divorcing in 2004. She received a lump sum of $85 million, but it was another part of the settlement agreement that caught everyone’s attention: Mathison gets half of Ford’s future royalties on all the movies he made during their marriage, including the ‘Indiana Jones’ series.
Demi Moore + Bruce Willis: $90 million
After meeting at a 1987 film premiere, Bruce and Demi married later that year and went on to have three daughters together. No exact reason was given for their split in 2000, but since they’re still close friends, he must not have been too bitter about the $90 million she got. And Demi, who’s currently divorcing TV’s highest-paid actor, Ashton Kutcher, stands to pad her bank account even more in the near future.
Madonna + Guy Ritchie: $92 million
The entertainment icon and the director were married for eight years, and while his net worth of $45 million wasn’t exactly chump change, hers was roughly 10 times that. When they split in 2008, he said he didn’t want any of her money — but apparently she twisted his arm into taking $92 million of it anyway.
Steven Spielberg + Amy Irving: $100 million
While Steven and Amy met in 1977 (she auditioned for ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’), they didn’t marry until 1985 — and then their marriage only lasted four years. They did have a prenup of sorts, but since it was scribbled on a napkin and Irving didn’t have a lawyer when she signed it, she successfully contested it and got $100 million for her troubles (about half the director’s net worth at the time).
Tiger Woods + Elin Nordegren: $110 million
After the golf phenom became embroiled in an infamous cheating scandal, he lost untold amounts in endorsement fees (by some estimates, he cost his sponsors’ shareholders billions of dollars). So when it came time to settle his divorce in 2006, he gave Elin an estimated $100 to $110 million — some of which, insiders said, ensured her public silence, allowing him to begin rebuilding his career.
Neil Diamond + Marcia Murphey: $150 million
The couple married in 1969 and didn’t divorce until 25 years later — meaning they were together during some of his most successful years. So in 1994, the ‘Sweet Caroline’ singer reportedly gave his ex a $150 million parting gift, making it one of the entertainment industry’s priciest splits. (That said, he now disputes the amount, saying only “businessmen and thieves” have fortunes big enough for a settlement that size — yet he still declines to say how much Marcia got.)
Michael + Juanita Jordan: $168 million
The NBA legend and his wife divorced in 2006 after 17 years of marriage, publicly saying they’d reached the decision to end their union “mutually and amicably.” And no wonder Juanita was so agreeable: She wound up with $168 million, which at the time made it the largest public-record celebrity divorce settlement in history.
Arnold Schwarzenegger + Maria Shriver: Up to $375 million
Technically they aren’t divorced just yet, but after their 25-year marriage was rocked by “who’s your daddy” infidelity scandal in 2011, Shriver lawyered up and put the wheels in motion. While the settlement amount hasn’t been made public, Maria is legally entitled to half the money Arnie’s earned since their wedding, and he’s supposedly kicking in even more out of guilt — so the estimates for what she’ll get have ranged from $250 million to as much as $375 million.
Mel Gibson + Robyn Denise Moore: $425 million
Mel and Robyn wed in South Wales in 1980, well before he became a superstar. Three decades (and seven children) later, she filed for divorce — and when the split was finalized in late 2011, she got a reported $425 million, estimated to be half of everything he made during their marriage.
There are business moguls who’ve parted with $1 billion or more in divorces, but when it comes to celebrity splits, Mel’s is, to date, the most expensive in history.