The 10 Most Expensive Divorces Of All Time

By on January 23, 2019 in ArticlesBillionaire News

With the Bezos divorce finalized we now have a new winner in the dubious category of the most expensive divorces of all time. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are the clear winners (or it is really losers?) in the divorce battles and it is hard to think that they will ever lose that title. MacKenzie's final settlement of $35.6 billion is enough to make her instantly the 4th richest woman on the planet and the 25th richest person in the world. Her ex-husband remains the world's richest person with his $114 billion – $14 billion more than Bill Gates.

Divorce is difficult enough. Now add fame and wealth to that mess. The division of wealth and assets in the absence of a prenup can be devastating to one or both parties in the divorce. For celebrities, divorce proceedings can drag on for years in the courts and in the press. Besides money, there is property, alimony, child support, child visitation, and more to work out. Fortunately, Jeff and MacKenzie appear to have had a pretty amicable divorce, all things considered. It was just 85 days between the public announcement of their divorce and the finalization of it.

When Jeff and MacKenzie got married, they didn't have two pennies to rub together. They didn't have a prenup. Mackenzie was basically entitled to half of the $150 billion Amazon fortune. However, it was always highly unlikely that the former couple would choose a 50/50 split of their fortune. Most of Jeff's net worth is tied up in Amazon stock. Dividing the shares would dilute his control of Amazon. Ultimately, this isn't what the couple decided to do.

This list really highlights a simple rule if you plan on being rich and married some day: GET A PRENUP! I don't care how awkward that conversation will be, it might end up saving you millions, or hundreds of millions, or even BILLIONS of dollars some day.

Actually, maybe the better rule to take away from this list is don't get divorced. That could mean one of two things:

  • 1) Marry someone who you truly love and never violate your sacred bond.
  • 2) If you are ever tempted to violate that sacred bond, ask yourself if one night of pleasure is worth half your fortune, then go home and take a cold shower.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

10. Bob Johnson and Sheila Crump Johnson, 2002: $400 Million

The Johnsons partnered not just in marriage but in business, co-founding BET. After getting a $400 million settlement in 2002, Shelia Crump Johnson is reported to have gone on to marry the presiding judge in the case!

9. Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore, 2006: $425 Million

Remember when Mel Gibson couldn't stop running his mouth about how he felt about traffic cops and Jewish people? That was one step in the process of his wife of 21 years, Robyn Moore, leaving him. The divorce is still the most expensive split in Hollywood. Robyn walked away with $425 million.

Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

8. Craig McCaw and Wendy McCaw, 1997: $460 Million

Nextel executive Craig McCaw paid his ex, newspaper publisher Wendy McCaw, $460 million worth of Nextel stock when they split up after 23 years of marriage in 1997.

7. Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovlev, 2014: $604 Million

Elena Rybolovlev was originally awarded a much higher figure in a Russian divorce court, about $4.5 billion. But after an appeal, the sum was reduced to just $604 million.

6. Adnan Khashoggi and Soraya Khashoggi, 1980: $874 Million

Arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi married Soraya in 1961. Nearly two decades later the couple was in divorce court. If you take inflation into account, the $874 million paid out in this 1980 divorce settlement would be worth some $2 billion today.

Soraya Khashoggi/Getty Images

5. Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall, 2012: $975 Million

Oil tycoon Harold Hamm and his ex Sue Ann Arnall had a drawn out bitter divorce after 26 years of marriage that ended with Hamm writing his ex a check for nearly $1 billion. Sue Ann didn't cash the check right away as she was hoping for more money. Reportedly she finally cashed the check in 2015.

4. Steve Wynn and Elaine Wynn, 2010: $1 Billion

Steve and Elaine Wynn married in 1963 and divorced the first time in 1986. They remarried each other in 1991 and got divorced for the second and final time in 2010. Elaine was integral in the building of the Wynn casino and resort empire. She walked away with $1 billion.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images


3. Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Radić, 2009: $1.2 Billion

Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone has received more than half a billion dollars from his ex-wife's trust fund. Ecclestone and Slavica were married for 24 years. She is 28 years younger, and when they divorced it was assumed the more than $1 billion settlement was in her favor. After all, typically the wealthier spouse is the one who pays their ex, and Ecclestone, with a net worth of $3.1 billion, is plenty wealthy. The unusual structure of his divorce settlement isn't that surprising, given how his finances are structured.

In the late 1990s, Ecclestone's assets were transferred into Slavica's name when he was suffering from serious heart problems. He had a triple bypass in 1999. If he had died, the inheritance he would have left his daughters would have been subjected to British death duties at the rate of 40%. So, while Ecclestone has a net worth in the billions, his ex-wife technically holds the deeds and pink slips on a number of his assets, and as such, is left holding the proverbial bag. Because of this, it looked like she was the wealthier one to the courts and is required to pay her billionaire ex $100 million per year.

Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone

Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone /Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

2. Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv, 1999: $1.7 Billion

The 31-year union between Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv ended in an "amicable separation" in 1998, reportedly stemming from a disagreement over whether Murdoch would retire. He was married again 17 days after the papers were signed, while she waited six months to tie the knot again.

Michael Webb/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


1. Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos, 2019, $35.6 billion

In the dissolution of the nearly 25 year marriage of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, she is walking away with $35.6 billion of Amazon stock – over which she has agreed to let Jeff retain voting control. MacKenzie is now the third-largest shareholder in Amazon with about 4% of Amazon's outstanding shares. She is also giving up any right to The Washington Post and to Jeff's space exploration company Blue Origin. Even after losing $36 billion, Jeff's remaining $114 billion net worth is still enough to keep him as the richest person in the world.

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