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The Most Expensive Divorces in History

divorce
May 8th, 2015

A divorce is a relatively simple legal procedure but if it is between a couple with a net worth millions or even billions of dollars, it becomes not only fodder for gossip but a matter of tremendous financial loss for one spouse and a big, fat bank account for the other. Some of the wealthiest individuals in the world have had their net worth cut by more than half because of divorce settlements.

While most divorce settlements are typically finalized after the divorce actually takes place, negotiations begin on the day a spouse files for one. Here are six of the most expensive divorces in history (in no particular order).

Dmitry and Elena Rybolovlev

This Russian businessman’s net worth was $8.8 billion in 2014, but a Geneva, Switzerland court awarded his now ex-wife Elena $4.5B as well as custody of their daughter Anna, 13 years old, along with one half of the former couple’s former home in Geneva’s upscale neighborhood in Cologny. The ex-Mrs. Rybolovlev filed for divorce in 2009 citing the Russian oligarch’s infidelities.

Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv

Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch paid $1.7 billion, inclusive of $110 million cash, to divorce Anna Torv, his wife of 32 years, in 1999, making it the world’s most expensive un-coupling at the time. Murdoch then promptly married TV journalist Wendi Deng just 17 days after his divorce from Torv. Murdoch has since divorced Deng, too, after he suspected she had an affair with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore

After 31 years of marriage, another Australian, Mel Gibson, and his wife Robyn Moore divorced in 2009. Named the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1985 by People magazine, the Oscar award-winning director of “Braveheart” lost $425 million in the settlement, half of his net worth at that time.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

The highly-publicized separation and subsequent divorce of actor/former Mr. Universe/ex-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and TV journalist Maria Shriver, niece of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, was settled with an amount between $250 million and $375 million. Schwarzenegger, who fathered a child with one of the couple’s domestic staff, was worth between $500 million and $750 million at that time.

Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy

Making over $300 million from his stint as the star shooting guard of the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan lost $168 million when his marriage to the former Juanita Vanoy ended in 2006; it was the largest celebrity divorce settlement in history on public record, at least during that time. Jordan married Cuban-American Yvette Prieto, a model, in April 2013 and they have twin daughters, Ysabel and Victoria, born in February 2014.

Adnan Khashoggi and Sandra Daly a.k.a. Soraya Khashoggi

Saudi Arabian Adnan Khashoggi, who amassed wealth as an arms dealer in the 70s and 80s, married the former Sandra Daly in 1961 and divorced her in 1982. The divorce settlement cost him $874 million. Khashoggi’s fortune declined shortly after that and, thanks to ill-advised personal investments, overspending, and entwinement in numerous scandals, he now lives a quiet, modest, and scandal-free life in Monaco.


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