MONEY Divorce

Most Expensive Divorce Settlements of All Time

We're talking well over $500 million.

There have been plenty of exorbitantly expensive celebrity divorces over the years. Mel Gibson, Michael Jordan, and Steven Spielberg were each involved in splits that cost $100 million or more. Other well-known figures, like Larry King, Mickey Rooney, and Elizabeth Taylor, are famous for getting hitched–and subsequently divorced–more times than you can count on one hand.

But none of these divorces ranks among the all-time costliest in history. Neither does the divorce of Donald and Ivana Trump (she reportedly got $25 million plus a $14 million estate in Connecticut), or Donald Trump and Marla Maples (a measly $2 million, thanks prenup!). The collective net worth of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is reportedly around $400 million, but even their forthcoming divorce settlement will be relatively small compared to some truly colossal splits.

Below, we’ve assembled a list of the most expensive divorces in history—some believed to have run into the billions.

  • Dmitry and Elena Rybolovlev: $604 Million+

    Dmitri Rybolovlev with his wife
    Frederic Nebinger—WireImage

    How could you ever be happy that you owe $604 million to your ex in a divorce? Well, you’d be grateful if the courts had previously ruled you owed her $4.5 billion. This is essentially what happened with the split of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and his ex-wife Elena. Court battles dragged on from 2008 through 2015, with a 2014 Swiss court ruling awarding her $4.5 billion. After an appeal, though, he “only” had to pay $604 million—but she got to keep two Swiss chalets in the settlement.

  • Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi: $874 Million

    161210_EM_EXPENSIVEDIVORCE_KHASHOGGI
    Getty Images (2)

    “The term ‘jet-set’ could have been invented for Soraya Khashoggi,” the Daily Mail wrote in 2014. She was one of her generation’s most beautiful women, ran in social circles with Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor, and was romantically linked to Warren Beatty and more than one member of the British parliament.

    At the height of her wealth, when married to Saudi Arabian businessman Adnan Khashoggi, the couple owned 17 homes, three planes, and three yachts. Their divorce settlement reportedly totaled £574 million in 1982. That was worth about $874 million at the time—and the equivalent of about $2.2 billion today.

  • Harold and Sue Ann Hamm: $1 Billion

    CEO Harold Hamm and his then wife Sue Ann Hamm
    Evan Agostini—AP

    The Hamms’ divorce in 2015 may not have been the world’s costliest separation, but it did feature the largest single settlement check we know of. Harold, an oil and gas executive from Oklahoma, wrote a check for $974.8 million to his former wife in 2014 to finalize proceedings after more than two years of court battles. (With the exchange of assets and other payments, the total divorce costs were around $1 billion.)

    The “famous check,” Harold Hamm said on CNBC, “got the job done,” though Sue Ann didn’t cash it right away and appealed in the courts to receive more money. More recently, it’s been reported that Harold Hamm has been an informal advisor to Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, and that Hamm could be named energy secretary if Trump wins the election.

  • Steve and Elaine Wynn: $1 Billion

    161210_EM_EXPENSIVEDIVORCE_WYNN
    Patrick McMullan—Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

    Casino industry bigwigs Steve and Elaine Wynn were married and divorced not once but twice, ending their marriages in 1986 and again in 2010. The exact terms of the splits haven’t been released, but it is believed her portion of the settlement was worth $1 billion. In a 2010 interview with the Las Vegas Weekly, Steve Wynn agreed with the characterization that it was indeed one of the “most expensive of all time” divorces.

  • Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone: $1.2 Billion

    161210_EM_EXPENSIVEDIVORCE_ECCLESTONE
    Dave M. Benett—Getty Images

    In 2008, when the 6’2″ former model Slavica Ecclestone filed for divorce from her diminutive husband Bernie, the 5’4″ Formula One car-racing tycoon, the family fortune was worth an estimated £2.4 billion. Slavica reportedly received £713 million (about $1.2 billion) in the divorce settlement.

    But it was revealed in 2014 that it was Bernie who received some £300 (about $500 million in U.S. dollars at the time) from his ex-wife’s trust fund since the divorce was finalized, at a clip of roughly $100 million per year. Apparently, the unusual payment scheme from an offshore account was arranged more than a decade before the couple divorced.

  • Rupert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv: $1.7 Billion

    1Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch arriving at the Connaught Rooms, London, with his second wife Anna Torv
    Mike McLaren—Getty Images

    Though there’s some dispute that the amount is accurate, it has been widely reported that Rupert Murdoch’s second wife, Anna Torv (now Anna Mann), received $1.7 billion, mostly in News Corp. stock, when the couple’s 31-year marriage ended.

    Just 17 days after the divorce became final, the media mogul married a woman 38 years younger, Wendi Deng, on his 155-foot yacht in New York Harbor in 1999. Murdoch and Deng divorced 14 years later, and while she received several luxurious homes in the settlement, the couple’s prenuptial agreement dictated that she wouldn’t get quite the payoff of her predecessor.

    While Murdoch appears to have grasped the wisdom of prenups, he apparently hasn’t given up on the institution of marriage. Earlier this year, he married Jerry Hall, the former model and mother to four children with her longtime partner, rock legend Mick Jagger.

  • Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein: $2.5 Billion

    WILDENSTEIN
    Evan Agostini/Getty Images; Mychele Dania/Getty

    The Wildenstein family was famous for owning an art collection worth billions, including some works reportedly stolen by Nazis in the 1940s. But the bizarre appearance of a woman who married into the family is perhaps even more famous. Some $2.5 billion of the family fortune wound up going to New York socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein, who divorced her husband Alec in 1999.

    In addition to the main settlement, Jocelyn received $100 million per year for 13 years. She has spent millions of dollars on plastic surgery, to the point that she’s been nicknamed “catwoman” for the way her face has been transformed under the knife.

  • Vladimir Potanin and Natalia Potanina: $7 Billion?

    Vladimir Potanin with wife Natalia Potanina at
    Alamy Stock Photo—Alamy Stock Photo

    Worth $14 billion according to Forbes, the Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Potanin is currently embroiled in a divorce battle that could wind up dividing that fortune in half. “Under Russian law spouses are entitled to equal shares in family assets,” his wife, Natalia Potanina, said to Business Insider in a 2016 interview. “So in my claim I’m asking for half of his assets. At the beginning of the divorce case, he offered me zero. He is still offering me zero.”

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