Having the most expensive wedding does not translate to a successful marriage. As a matter of fact, walking away from marriage is very difficult. It takes months, sometimes years to finalize a divorce and agree on an appropriate settlement.
Each of those divorce settlements is sometimes worth billions of dollars. Celebrities and business magnates are often made to part with a large chunk of their wealth in a divorce settlement. Although these settlements are not always part of the public records, estimates are made on the couple’s assets and net worth.
Below are some of the most expensive divorces in recent history.
22. Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva: $80 Million
One of the most expensive divorce settlements in the world is between Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva. The couple married in 1975 shortly after they met in college. They divorced 16 years later in 1994 with Cindy Silva receiving a divorce settlement of $80 million.
21. Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison: $85 Million
Ford and Mathison is one of the most expensive divorces in the world. The couple first meet in 1979 on the set of “Apocalypse Now”. In 1983 the couple exchanged marital vows. The pair finalized their divorce in 2004 with an $85 million divorce settlement to Mathison.
Ritchie and Madonna first met in 1998. On December 22, 2000, the couple got married at a private ceremony in Scotland. After eight years the marriage came to an end and Ritchie was awarded a divorce settlement of approximately $92 million.
19. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving: $100 Million
Among the most expensive divorce settlement in history is that between Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving. The couple exchanged marital vows in 1985 and divorced four years later citing the stress of marriage in Hollywood. Irving reportedly received a divorce settlement to the tune of $100 million.
18. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren: $100 Million
Woods and Nordegren met in 2001 through golfer Jesper Parnevik, whom she was nannying for at the time. In 2004, the couple got married. Six years later, they got divorced when Woods admitted to multiple affairs.
The couple had already both signed a prenuptial agreement, but due to Tiger Woods’ behaviour, the prenup was renegotiated. Elin Nordegren received an estimated $100 million divorce settlement.
17. Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl: $125 Million
Brooks and Sandy Mahl met when Brooks was still in college. On May 24, 1986, the couple got married in Oklahoma. The couple parted ways in 1999 and finalized their divorce in December 2001 after 15 years of marriage.
Sandy received a divorce settlement of $125 million, which is one of the most expensive in history.
16. Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey: $150 Million
Diamond and Murphey got married in 1970. The couple divorced in March 1995 after 25 years of marriage. The divorce cost Neil Diamond $150 million in settlement to his ex-wife, Marcia Murphey.
15. Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy: $168 Million
Michael Jordan and Juanita Jordan got married in 1989 in Las Vegas whilst he was still playing for the Chicago Bulls. The couple separated in 2002 and announced their divorce in 2006. After the divorce, Juanita reportedly received a $168 million divorce settlement, custody of their children and their seven-acre Chicago mansion.
14. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver: $250 Million
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver married in 1986. The couple separated in 2011 after she learned he had fathered a child with their housekeeper. There was no prenuptial agreement and divorce proceedings have dragged on for more than 10 years.
The divorce was finally settled in 2021 with Maria Shriver walking away with $250 million and legal custody of their children.
13. Roman and Irina Abramovich: $300 Million
Roman and Irina married in 1991 before he secured the majority of his wealth. The couple divorced following speculations of Abramovich dating 24-year-old model, Daria Zhukova, who had Abramovich’s sixth child in 2009. Irina received $300 million in a divorce settlement.
12. Bob and Sheila Johnson: $400 Million
The BET co-founders married in 1969 and became billionaires in 2000. Bob and Sheila Johnson ended their 33-year marriage in 2002 with Sheila walking away with $400 million in a divorce settlement. Interestingly, Shiela would later marry the judge who presided over the divorce.
11. Mel Gibson and Robyn Denise Moore: $425 Million
Gibson and Moore met in the late 1970s when they were both tenants in a house in Adelaide, Australia. The couple got married in 1980 in Australia and had seven children together. The couple divorced in 2011 after 31 years of marriage due to reports of his infidelity.
Because there was no prenuptial agreement, Moore was entitled to half his earnings, walking away with $425 million in a divorce settlement.
10. Craig and Wendy McCaw: $460 Million
Cellphone business mogul Craig McCaw and his publisher wife, Wendy McCaw divorced in 1998 after 23 years of marriage because of personal issues. Wendy received a settlement of $460 million in Nextel stock.
9. Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovlev: $604 Million
Dmitry and Elena met as university students in Perm, Russia and married in 1987. The couple divorced in 2008. Several years later, a Swiss court has ordered the Russian billionaire to pay more than $4.5 billion to his ex-wife in what could have been the biggest divorce settlement in history at the time.
Following an appeal, Elena worked away with $604 million in a divorce settlement.
8. Steven and Elaine Wynn: $741 Million
Casino billionaire Steve Wynn and his wife met in college and married in 1963. They divorced in 1986 but remarried five years later. In 2010, Wynn filed for divorce from Elanie and agreed to transfer control of $741 million worth of his stock in Wynn Resorts Ltd., to his wife, Elaine, as part of a divorce settlement.
The Saudi-Arabian billionaire, Adnan Khashoggi and his wife Soraya Khashoggi divorced in 1982 after 20 years of marriage. After the divorce, Soraya walked away with a divorce settlement of $874 million which is one of the most expensive divorces in history.
6. Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall: $975 Million
One of the most expensive divorce settlements in the world is that between Harold Hamm and his wife Sue Ann Hamm. The couple divorced after 24 years of marriage and the Oil Magnate handed a $974.8 million cheque to settle the divorce.
5. Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Radić: $1.2 Billion
In 2009, Bernie Ecclestone’s and Slavica Radić ended their 25 years of marriage. The divorce was finalized after long negotiations and the settlement award given to Slavica was estimated to be $1.2 billion. At the time, this was the most expensive divorce ever.
4. Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv: $1.7 Billion
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his wife Maria Torv divorced in 1999 after 32 years of marriage. Maria received $1.7 billion including $110 million in cash. Interestingly, 17 days later, Rupert got married to 30-year-old Wendi Deng.
3. Alec Wildenstein and Jocelyn Wildenstein: $3.8 Billion
In 1999, French-American businessman and art dealer Alec Wildenstein and his wife Jocelyn Wildenstein divorced after 21 years of marriage. The high-profile divorce proceedings resulted in Jocelyn being awarded $2.5 billion and $100 million for each of the next 13 years, for a total of $3.8 billion.
2. Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott: $38 Billion
One of the most expensive divorces in history is that between Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos. The couple divorced in 2019 over rumours of his infidelity after 25 years of marriage. After the divorce, MacKenzie walked away with $38 billion in a divorce settlement.
1. Bill Gates and Melinda French: $76 Billion
Bill Gates and Melinda French hold the record for the most expensive divorce in the world. The Microsoft founder and tech billionaire, Gates and his wife divorced in 2021 after 27 years of marriage. The couple split their wealth in half with Melinda walking away with $76 billion as a divorce settlement.