By Rotimi Agbana
Quite a number of celebrity marriages have come to an abrupt end with ridiculous and multi-billion dollar divorce settlements paid by some of the world’s richest people. Some celebrity breakups have resulted in one of the couples parting with half, if not all of their fortunes.
Divorce has never been recorded to be an easy or pleasant experience, even in the most amicable breakups. From meeting with lawyers to dividing assets, and figuring out how to move on after the eventual split are just a few things that make divorce cumbersome.
While it seems celebrities are more likely to divorce compared to their less-famous counterparts, their marriage splits are often tricky. Especially in marriages where there is an imbalance in income.
Divorce doesn’t just mean the stress of going through the process, it means forfeiting a large chunk of your fortune at someone you may never have anything to do with again.
Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, has been on top of the list of richest people in the world for decades. As of 2022, Forbes estimated his net worth at more than $112 billion. His divorce from his partner of nearly 30 years, Melinda French Gates, was finalized in August of 2021. While details on how the they divided their assets were not disclosed in court documents, French Gates reportedly walked away with more than $6 billion in stocks alone.
2. Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott
In 2019, the divorce between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Scott, was finalized, with the mother of four walking away with a whopping $38.3 billion in Amazon stock. The payout didn’t seem to leave a significant dent on his net worth, which, at last look, was valued at more than $170 billion, ranking him as the world’s second-richest person.
3. Rapper Dr. Dre and Nicole Young
In 2021, popular American rapper Dr. Dre finalized a $100 million divorce with his wife of 24 years, Nicole Young. The Beats by Dr. Dre founder was ordered to pay Young two separate, $50 million transactions. Young was expected to receive the first payment right after the divorce, with the second installment in 2022.
4. Adele and Simon Koneki
Divorce settlements can drag on and in some cases take years to settle. British singer and songwriter Adele didn’t finalize her divorce from charity entrepreneur Simon Koneki until 2021, after the two initially announced the split in 2019. Cosmopolitan reports a Los Angeles court granted the star’s request to keep terms of the $171 million divorce private.
5. Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Self-proclaimed “Queen of Pop” Madonna was forced to forfeit over $92 million to her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie after the two ended their marriage of eight years in 2008. The money was awarded to Ritchie as part of the divorce settlement.
6. Mel Gibson and Robyn Denise Moore
Mel Gibson’s divorce from former dental nurse Robyn Denise Moore cost “The Passion of the Christ” star half his fortune. ABC News reports that Gibson’s net worth was valued at $850 million prior to the divorce, and he had $425 million less after the divorce was finalized in 2011. The two were married for 31 years with seven children together.
7. Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy
NBA legend Michael Jordan’s 2006 split with wife and former model Juanita Vanoy may top the list of most expensive celebrity divorces. The Chicago Bulls star paid Vanoy an eye-popping $168 million divorce settlement and $2.1 million in legal fees after the 17-year marriage.
8. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
The separation between golf legend Tiger Woods and Swedish former model Elin Nordegren came with a lucrative divorce settlement. Nordegren reportedly walked away with $100 million after the divorce was finalized in 2010. Woods paid her $100 million in their divorce settlement. While some reports initially reported that Nordegren’s divorce settlement payout from Woods was $750 million, she actually walked away from their marriage with $100 million.
9. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving
There is a lot to learn from the marriage between acclaimed film director, Steven Spielberg and his first wife Amy Irving. Before tying the knot, the two reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement on a napkin. Irving later argued the document was not valid because she was never represented by an attorney. Her legal argument proved to be sound, and she was eventually awarded $100 million after the divorce.
10. James Cameron and Linda Hamilton
The marriage between Titanic movie director James Cameron and Terminator franchise star Linda Hamilton was short-lived, spanning only a year and a half. Cameron reportedly earned upwards of $100 million from the iconic American classic that generated $1.8 billion in revenue. The divorce reportedly cut his earnings from the film in half after Hamilton was awarded $50 million as part of the 1999 divorce.