The 15 Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces of All Time, Ranked
These celebrity marital breakups came with jaw-dropping price tags.
Anyone in a relationship will tell you that it takes work to make it, well, work. That sentiment rings even more true when you're talking about marriage. But sometimes, no amount of work can save a failing marriage. After all, experts say almost 50 percent of marriages in the United States will end in divorce. And while no divorce is easy, things can get especially tricky for the rich and famous, because it's no secret that people tend to expose the uglier side of their personality and character when large sums of money are on the line. With that in mind we wanted to see which famous breakups resulted in the most expensive celebrity divorces of all time. Read on to discover who had to cough up the most coin to end what they started with "I do."
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
Settlement: $48.6 million
Heather Mills, a former model and activist, married former Beatle Paul McCartney in 2002, but the love didn't last long—the couple split in 2006. However it would take another two years before the exes reached an official divorce settlement. Though Mills sought a settlement of $250 million, the judge ruled the claim "exorbitant" and awarded Mills, who shares a daughter with McCartney, $48.6 million.
"I'm so glad it's over and it was an incredible result, in the end, to secure my and my daughter's future, and that of all the charities that I obviously plan on helping," Mills said in a press conference following the court proceedings, CNN reported.
James Cameron and Linda Hamilton
Settlement: $50 million
Titanic director, James Cameron, married Terminator star, Linda Hamilton, in July 1997, but the marriage only lasted a year and a half. The power couple had one daughter together before the marriage fizzled and they divorced in 1999. According to Forbes, Cameron made about $100 million for Titanic—a film which grossed $1.8 billion—and Hamilton received half of those earnings in the divorce settlement.
Kenny Rogers and Marianne Gordon
Settlement: $60 million
Country music legend Kenny Rogers is almost as prolific at marriage as he is at making hit records. According to E! News, Rogers has been married five times, and his most expensive divorce departure came with his fourth wife, Marianne Gordon. The couple was married for 16 years and had one child together before they divorced in 1993, reaching a reported settlement that saw Rogers shelling out $60 million to Gordon.
Guy Ritchie and Madonna
Settlement: $76 million to $92 million
American pop superstar Madonna and British film director Guy Ritchie officially ended things in 2008 after eight years of marriage. According to reporting from Reuters and a number of other credible news outlets, Madonna paid Ritchie a divorce settlement between 40 and 60 million pounds, or $76 million to $92 million.
The couple did not release a statement following the court proceedings.
Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva
Settlement: $80 million
Kevin Costner and ex-wife Cindy Silva met at California State University and got married in 1978. In the 16 years they were married, the couple had three children, and Costner became one of the most successful—and highest paid—actors in Hollywood, starring in films like Dances With Wolves, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and countless others. When the pair decided to divorce in 1994, Silva was awarded $80 million, Forbes reported.
Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison
Settlement: $85 million to $118 million
Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison were married for 17 years before confirming that they were separated in 2000, reportedly because Ford was seeing a younger woman, according to ABC News. Mathison eventually filed for divorce in 2001. It was finalized in 2004 and resulted in her winning a settlement estimated around $118 million, according to the Daily Mail.
Mathison, who was an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and met Ford on the set of Apocalypse Now, passed away in 2015 after a battle with neuroendocrine cancer. She was 65.
Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving
Settlement: $100 million
Before he was married to current wife Kate Capshaw, superstar film director Steven Spielberg had a four-year marriage to actor Amy Irving from 1985 to 1989. The former couple originally met when Irving auditioned for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
According to the American Bar Association, the pair had signed a prenup on a scrap paper, which Irving later claimed was invalid in court because she had no legal representation during the signing. The judge ruled in her favor and awarded the actor a $100 million divorce settlement.
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
Settlement: $100 million
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren finalized their divorce in August 2010 after news of Woods' numerous extramarital affairs went public in 2009. In an interview with People, Nordegren said she was "blindsided" by her then-husband's transgressions, ABC News reported.
"I never suspected, not a one," she said in the exclusive interview. "For the last three-and-a-half years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school."
At a press conference following the divorce being finalized, Woods said, "You know, it's a sad time in our lives. And we're looking forward in our lives and how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that's the important thing," ABC News reported.
Nordegren and her lawyers were initially aiming for $750 million in the settlement, but eventually landed on $100 million, according to Forbes.
Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl
Settlement: $125 million
Sandy Mahl married country music icon Garth Brooks in 1986, before the singer even released his first album. The couple stayed married for 14 years during which Brooks became one of the most successful recording and touring artists in music history. However, Brooks' exhaustive touring schedule—and alleged infidelity—proved to be too much for the union to handle, and they filed for divorce in 2000, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
While the split was rumored to be amicable and the couple went on to co-parent their three daughters, Mahl was awarded $125 million in the divorce settlement.
Frank and Jamie McCourt
Settlement: $130 million
Frank and Jamie McCourt had one of the most contentious—and expensive—divorces in recent memory. The former couple incurred more than $20.6 million in legal bills, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time of the 2011 settlement.
The couple, who owned the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium at the time, separated in 2009 after nearly 30 years of marriage. Jamie filed for divorce shortly after she was fired by Frank as the Dodgers CEO for "insubordination, non-responsiveness, failure to follow procedures and inappropriate behavior with a direct subordinate."
After a bitter legal battle, the ex-couple reached a divorce settlement in which Jamie would receive around $130 million and give up any claim to a share of the Dodgers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey
Settlement: $150 million
According to reporting from NBC San Diego, when rock star Neil Diamond and his wife of 25 years, Marcia Murphey, divorced in 1994, Diamond agreed to pay Murphey $150 million—half of his estate at the time. How did Diamond feel about the matter? He said she was "worth every penny."
It's worth noting that Diamond has since denied that he paid the $150 million, telling the Daily Mail, "Was she happy with the settlement she did get? She was. She got enough to live on for the rest of her life."
Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy
Settlement: $168 million
Juanita Vanoy first filed for divorce from basketball legend Michael Jordan in 2002. Although Vanoy hadn't commented on her reasons at the time, the Chicago Tribune quoted private investigator Ernie Rizzo as saying that he observed Jordan in "some compromising situations with half a dozen women over 1992-2002," according to reporting by Marie Claire.
After withdrawing her petition for divorce a month after filing in an attempt to reconcile, Vanoy and Jordan announced they were splitting in 2006.
"Michael and Juanita Jordan mutually and amicably decided to end their 17-year marriage," the couple's lawyers said in a statement, according to People. "A judgment for dissolution of their marriage was entered today. There will be no further statements."
According to Crain's Chicago Business, Vanoy received $168 million in the divorce settlement, and Jordan also reportedly paid $2.1 million in legal fees.
Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore
Settlement: $425 million
Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore were married for 31 years before their divorce was finalized in 2011. And by all accounts, it was a costly ending to the love story for Gibson, who was rumored to have paid somewhere in the ballpark of $425 million dollars in the divorce settlement, ABC News reported at the time.
While the details of the judgement were mostly kept secret, it had been estimated at the time by the Los Angeles Business Journal that the Oscar-award winning director and actor was worth $850 million, People reported. And since the couple, who had seven children together, did not have a prenuptial agreement, according to California law, Moore would have been entitled to half of that sum.
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Rupert Murdoch and Anna Mann
Settlement: $1.7 billion
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his former wife Anna Mann divorced in 1999 after a marriage of 32 years and three children together. And according to CNBC, under the settlement, $1.7 billion of Rupert's fortune, which included $110 million in cash, went to Mann.
About the divorce proceedings, Mann told an Australian magazine, "I don't want to get too personal about this… but [he] was extremely hard, ruthless and determined that he was going to go through with this, no matter what I wanted or what I was trying to do to save the marriage. He had no interest in that whatsoever," The Guardian reported.
Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott
Settlement: $38 billion
It's no surprise that one of the richest people in history also has one of the most expensive divorces in history. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and former wife Mackenzie Scott announced in January 2019 that they were getting divorced after 25 years of marriage and four children together.
According to reporting by CNN, as part of the settlement, Scott would receive 25 percent of the couple's Amazon stock, which amounted to a roughly four-percent stake in the company—valued at $38 billion. In addition, Bezos would maintain voting control over Scott's shares and keep his interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin.
Scott has said that she would be giving at least half her fortune to charity, according to CNN.