Top 20 Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces

Divorces among laymen are often characterized by a lot of bickering, a midnight move into an efficiency apartment, and drawn-out battles over automatic kitchen appliances. Celebrity divorces, however, are a little more complicated. While these couples bicker too, the arguments tend to go beyond who is getting the family cat. When celebrities split up, fortunes the size of a small college endowment are typically at stake, thereby taking the mudslinging and dirty tactics to a whole new level. Here’s a list of 20 of the most expensive celebrity breakups in recent history.

  1. Paul McCartney and Heather Mills: The contentious divorce between this ex-Beatle and former model is sure to go down in history as one of the ugliest, priciest splits ever with both parties using the media as an instrument to trade insults and heighten their positions. The couple met at a fundraiser and married in 2002. A year later Mills gave birth to their daughter Beatrice and three years after that it was announced that the British duo was splitting. While negotiations of the settlement are still in the works, it’s rumored that a final agreement will be announced soon. It’s also rumored that Mills could walk away with up to $120 million in U.S. dollars, an impressive win for Mills, who has been representing herself in the divorce case.
  2. Michael and Juanita Jordan: The former Chicago Bulls star has several athletic records under his belt, and now he’s set another – this time for the most expensive divorce settlement on record. His split from wife Juanita after 17 years of marriage cost him $168 million. Aside from the money, Juanita also received the couple’s Chicago home and custody of all three of their children. An impressive exchange of dough for a couple who started out with humble beginnings, having met at Bennigan’s and eloped in Las Vegas.
  3. Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey: Diamond and Murphey’s 1995 divorce was on record as the most expensive celebrity breakup until the news about the Jordan’s. But after 26 years of marriage, the couple, who have two children together, split to the tune of $150 million. Questioned about the sum after the proceedings were final, Diamond famously quipped, “She’s worth every penny.” Diamond credited Murphey with helping him “keep his sanity” during the most tumultuous and busy times of his career. After his divorce, Diamond began dating an Australian woman 30 years his junior.
  4. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving: Spielberg has made his fortune producing and directing blockbuster hits, like E.T. and Indiana Jones. But he lost half of his assets during his divorce from Amy Irving in 1989 after only four years of marriage. At the time, the settlement was big news, and the $100 million Irving received still ranks in many top 10 lists of the most expensive divorce pay outs. Surely, Spielberg has gotten over it by now. Currently, he’s worth over $3 billion.
  5. Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison: Married for over 20 years, Mathison and Ford met in 1977 before he was landing multi-million dollar roles, therefore no pre-nuptial agreement was deemed necessary at the time. But by the time they split up, Ford was earning over $20 million per picture. As part of the deal, Mathison won future earnings from unreleased movies Ford made while they were still married, and she walked away with a sum total of $85 million, leaving Ford free to pursue his current flame, Calista Flockhart.
  6. Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva: These two college sweethearts divorced in 1994 after a 16-year marriage that produced three children. They married right after their graduation from California State University in Fullerton, and Costner struggled to make a name for his self in Hollywood during the early years of their marriage before striking it big with Oscar-winning hits like Dances With Wolves.
  7. James Cameron and Linda Hamilton: The powerhouse director and buff actress met while filming The Terminator, which Cameron directed and Hamilton starred. Their marriage in 1997 lasted a measly 18 months, a paltry timeline that wouldn’t be reflected in the monstrous divorce settlement. Accused of having an affair and being something of a tyrant, Hamilton called Cameron a “miserable man” and landed an official settlement of $50 million. Part of this luck came from the fact that Cameron received his $100 million paycheck for Titanic during their marriage, of which Hamilton got a major share.
  8. Michael and Diandra Douglas: Michael and Diandra Douglas married in 1977 after nine weeks of courtship and had one son, Cameron. When they split in the mid 1990s, Diandra accused him of perpetual cheating and being an absentee father. The couple was known to split up and get back together, but the years of womanizing and alcoholism had caught wearied the couple and by the time of their split, making a reconciliation impossible. In what was then a landmark settlement, Diandra received $45 million and two properties in Majorca and Beverly Hills. Since the divorce, Douglas has remarried Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is 25 years younger than him. They have two children together.
  9. Lionel and Diane Ritchie: The dissolution of the eight year marriage between Lionel and Diane Ritchie became fodder for gossip magazines worldwide when Diane petitioned for a settlement of $300,000 a month, outlining in depositions the lifestyle allowance she had during the couple’s marriage. Diane claimed she was entitled to the amount so she could keep up the “extravagant lifestyle” she had become accustomed to during the marriage. Detailed in the documents was Diane’s request for $50,000-per-month for manicures, massages and other beauty services, $15,000-per-month for clothing, $5,000-per-month for jewelry, and $20,000-per-year for plastic surgery, among other outrageous allotments. While Diane wasn’t successful in securing her asking price, she did walk away with a cool $20 million, making this a celebrity divorce for the history books.
  10. Donald and Ivana Trump: During her divorce from Donald Trump in 1992, Ivana Trump coined a catty phrase that would become a mantra for rich divorcees everywhere – “Don’t get mad, get everything.” After learning that Donald was having an affair with Marla Maples, a Georgia-born beauty queen, in 1990, Ivana decided to go for the jugular and walked away from their 20-plus-year relationship with $20 to $25 million, plus some property rights. Since then, both the Trumps have moved on to other marriages and other divorces. Donald married Maples and they divorced in 1999. He is currently married to Melania Trump, a 37-year-old Slovenian model. Ivana married business man Riccardo Mazzucchelli. They divorced two years later.
  11. Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall: Jerry Hall, a model from Texas, met Jagger, the lead singer of the Rolling Stones in the 1970s, when both she and he were in relationships with other people. Dating through the 1980s, the couple wed in a Balinese ceremony in 1990 and had four children together. In the late 1990s, Hall discovered that Jagger had impregnated another woman and his consistent infidelity came to a head. While Jagger won a petition to annul the marriage, claiming that the Hindu ceremony wasn’t legal, Hall still walked away with $10 million. Small change when looking at Jagger’s $300 million net worth, but Hall has been able to capitalize on the marriage in other ways – recently she signed a $2 million book deal to write about her longtime relationship with Jagger and expose the details of their divorce.
  12. Clint Eastwood and Maggie Johnson: The Western star-turned-Oscar-winning-director married Maggie Johnson in the 1950s when they were still young and way before he was famous. The couple met on a blind date and wed six months after their first blind date. They had two children together. When they split in 1978, Maggie reportedly received $25 million. Clint has since had other serious relationships and is currently married to Diana Ruiz.
  13. Ted Danson and Casey Coates: Cheers star Ted Danson married fashion designer Casey Coates in 1976. They had two children together, and after the birth of their first child Casey had a bad stroke. Danson took a break to take care of her, but eventually ended up leaving Coates to pursue a relationship with Whoopi Goldberg. Coates got a $30 million settlement after the 15-year marriage.
  14. Bruce Springsteen and Julianne Phillips: Springsteen, a legendary 1980s rock star, married Phillips, a model and actress in 1985. Their relationship was tumultuous and short-lived and they filed for divorce in 1988. The breakup was attributed to Springsteen’s unhappiness and subsequent affair with his backup singer, Patti Scialfa. Phillips received a $20 million payout for her trouble.
  15. Johnny and Joanna Carson: Johnny Carson, the king of late night, married four times in his life, but his most financially successful spouse was model/socialite Joanna Holland, who extracted $20 million out of their ugly and long divorce. They married secretly and divorced after 10 years of marriage, outlasting most speculators. At the time of their split, Carson was the highest paid TV personality, pulling in $15 million a year. The divorce stretched out over three years and was highly publicized. Though he fought tooth and nail, Holland wound up winning cash, three properties in New York and one in Beverly Hills.
  16. Sylvester Stallone and Sasha Czack: Stallone, most famous for his role as boxer Rocky Balboa, and Czack, a photographer, married in 1974 and divorced 11 years later after 2 children. Their second child was diagnosed with autism and the illness was said to have put a strain on the marriage. Czack walked away with $12 million. Apparently this silver screen boxer really did take a few too many shots to the head. We’ll have more from Sylvester later on down in this list.
  17. Kenny and Marianne Gordon Rogers: Country star Rogers has been married five times, but no marriage was more expensive than his fourth to actress Marianne Gordon. The couple was together for 16 years, and upon their split Marianne got a $60 million settlement. Never bitter, Rogers told the press that she “deserved it” for putting up with him. This man usually known for his soft tunes and his soft heart might have another side that his publicist has done a good job at hiding.
  18. Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen: Sly Stallone makes this list twice after his 1985 marriage to actress Brigette Nielsen ended just two years later with a $6 million settlement. The two met on a movie set, starring in both Rocky IV and Cobra together. Nielsen is perhaps best known now for her reality TV career, having starred in VH1’s The Surreal Life, during which she began her notorious fling with rapper Flavor Flav.
  19. Jim Carrey and Melissa Womer: Funnyman Jim Carrey met his first wife Melissa Womer before he was famous. She was working as a waitress at The Comedy Store, a comedy club in West Hollywood when they met. They were married for eight years and had a daughter Jane. Their messy divorce left Carrey’s wallet $3.5 million lighter. Jim has since been involved in many relationships and some have even been rumored to be on the brink of engagement. Unfortunately for your him he wasn’t just the Grinch that stole Christmas as this man of many masks has yet to tie the knot. Keep trying Jim we’re pulling for you!
  20. Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson: This stylish couple was married from 1988 to 1993 and together they adopted one son. Their child became the forefront of their much-publicized divorce drama as they battled in court over custody rights. Eventually, the matter was settled and Loni walked away with $2 million. Sorry Burt, while you have many great roles and have kept us on our toes for a long time, this lady was not for you.

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