Could any of us look away when news broke in June about Tom Cruise’s split from Katie Holmes? This is Cruise’s third divorce and, if various media reports are to be believed, he was cagey enough to insist on a prenuptial agreement.
What’s in it is open to speculation and rumor. Based on the history of divorce among the wealthy and famous, it’s not a stretch to predict Holmes will walk away with a lot of money.
Still, even with prenups, lawyers and all kinds of advice, there’s no guarantee a divorce will be smooth. Such agreements have been around in the U.S. since the late 19th century and although they undoubtedly saved some bitterness over the years, there are still plenty of salacious divorce stories to zing around the Internet.
Most of these celebrities didn’t need to read AdvisorOne’s Top 10 Critical Financial Tips During Divorce, since their phalanx of lawyers and advisors certainly had those areas covered.
So in the spirit of education (OK, and prurient interest) AdvisorOne looks at 5 Super Costly Divorces of the Rich and Famous. Some of them had prenups, others didn’t. Either way, the costs were staggering, particularly the one that topped our list.
(Paul McCartney and Heather Mills on June 10, 2002, a day before their
wedding. Photo: AP)
5. Paul McCartney vs. Heather Mills
Cost: $48 million
The “cute” Beatle’s first, blissful, marriage included Sir Paul allowing his wife Linda, who had a notoriously bad voice, to perform at concerts, and on albums. Fans might not have been happy with the arrangement, but the couple lived an idyllic life while raising their children. It all came to a sad end when Linda died of cancer in 1998. That left Paul alone for the first time in decades.
Then Heather Mills came along. Sir Paul was smitten. His children weren’t so sure. He took the plunge anyway and being the romantic who penned ditties like “Silly Love Songs,” he skipped a prenup. That might have been a silly mistake.
When things went sour in 2006, after four years, the couple landed in court. Trial papers leaked to the press showed the judge’s irritation with Heather and his admiration for Sir Paul as a witness. Still, Heather was granted about $48 million, plus $70,000 a year to help care for the couple’s daughter.
Ever the romantic, Paul has remarried, to Nancy Shevell, a New Yorker who has money of her own, and once again reportedly skipped a prenup. Heather on the other hand, claims to have spent most of the millions she received on charities, businesses and two properties for her daughter.
Perhaps Paul and Heather could have stayed together if they had followed the advice in this previous AdvisorOne article, Seven Tips for Couples on How to Achieve Money Happiness.
(Madonna and Guy Ritchie at Cannes in 2008. Photo: AP)
4. Madonna vs. Guy Ritchie
Cost: $76 million to $92 million
Movie director Guy Ritchie (his recent movie was “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows”) once reflected on his marriage to pop star Madonna, calling it a soap opera. Should he have been surprised? Even if he was, he couldn’t have been blindsided by the melodramatic coverage of the couple’s breakup.
After eight years and two children, one adopted, the split was announced in 2008. The press had a field day. There was no prenup (it seems the “Material Girl” missed an obvious chance for protection), but initial reports assured the gossip-reading public that Ritchie didn’t want a dime of Madonna’s money. All he cared about was the children.
Well, not exactly. Late last year, the couple settled on a figure somewhat higher than “not a dime.” Media reports about the settlement ranged from $76 million to $90 million plus the value of two properties in the U.K.
Madonna may have been the wealthier party in this couple, but many women facing divorce remain relatively financially illiterate, as Liz Davidson reports in her most recent blog for AdvisorOne, How Advisors Can End the Real ‘War Against Women.’
(Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren laughing it up in June 2009. Five months
later the laughter turned to tears. Photo: AP)
3. Tiger Woods vs. Elin Nordegren
Cost: $110 million
The story of the golf great’s epic fall from poster boy for living and playing well to philandering bum is well documented.