Top 20 Most Expensive Divorce Settlements of All Time
Marriage can be the most beautiful thing to happen in someone’s life, but sometimes it doesn’t end with a happy ever after. Many people resort to divorce when a relationship goes south and becomes seemingly impossible to fix. Along with it are divorce settlements, which can be pretty expensive, especially for wealthy individuals.
Top 20 Biggest Divorce Settlements Ever:
1. Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott – $38 Billion
The founder and executive chairman of the e-commerce company Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is currently one of the richest men in the world. In 1993, he married a novelist named Mackenzie Scott.
Mackenzie met Jeff while working at a hedge fund. She was a massive help when Bezos turned Amazon into a global marketplace. During their marriage, they had four children.
After 26 years of being together, they decided to split up. As part of the divorce settlement, Scott received a 4% share in Amazon, which is valued at a whopping $38 billion. Bezos is now dating Lauren Sanchez and Mackenzie married science teacher Dan Jewett in 2021.
2. Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein – $3.8 Billion
Jocelyn Wildenstein, a socialite who is best recognized for her excessive plastic surgery, was once married to art dealer Alec Wildenstein. The couple tied the knot in 1978.
They were introduced to each other on a Kenya safari and eventually eloped because Alec’s father was against their relationship. They raised two children together.
In 1999, Alec and Jocelyn parted ways. The split became a hot topic as Alec revealed that his ex-wife spent hundreds of thousands on food, wine, and other luxuries annually. Even so, it ended with a settlement of $3.8 billion.
3. Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv – $1.7 Billion
The media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has been married four times now. His most expensive divorce was with his second wife, Anna Torv, whom he married in 1967.
Anna is also a known personality in the journalism and writing industry. This was how she got connected to Rupert. When they were still together, they took care of three kids.
It was in 1999 that things got sour between the couple. They divorced, and Murdoch remarried just a few weeks later. Torv, on the other hand, received $1.7 billion with $110 million in cash.
4. Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Radić – $1.2 Billion
Former CEO of motorsports company Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone, is also the former husband of retired model Slavica Radić. Their marriage started in 1985.
Ecclestone underwent a triple bypass in 1999, and if he had died, his two daughters would have been subject to Britain’s 40% inheritance tax. So, he transferred his assets to Slavica’s which he would later regret!
Because of this financial oddity, their 2009 divorce became a strange one. Reports about their final settlement haven’t been made official, but many experts believe it’s around $1.2 billion.
5. Steve and Elaine Wynn – $1 Billion
Steve Wynn has been dubbed the “King of Las Vegas” because of his massive hotel and casino empire. In 1963, he got married to a fellow entrepreneur, Elaine Wynn.
After their initial union, the two became business partners. However, they said goodbye to each other in 1986. Five years later, Steve and Elaine crossed paths again to reconcile.
However, they called it quits one last time in 2010. Unfortunately, Steve’s second divorce was much more expensive for him than the first. It took out about $1 billion of his personal wealth.
6. Harold and Sue Ann Hamm – $974 Million
Harold Hamm is a prominent oil and gas businessman. He is well-known for his shale oil extraction efforts with Continental Resources. Sue Ann became his wife in 1988.
She is an economist and attorney at law who served as an executive at Continental Resources. While working at her husband’s company, she raised two children with Harold.
After 24 years of being together, they decided to get a divorce. To settle the separation, the wealthy oil magnate turned over 5% of his net worth. It was valued at a hefty $974.8 million.
7. Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi – $874 Million
The late Adnan Khashoggi was called “The Great Gatsby of the Middle East.” He was famous for his luxury lifestyle, shrewd business transactions, and marriage to Soraya Khashoggi in 1961.
Adnan and Soraya had three yachts, three planes, and seventeen homes at their peak of fortune. Around this time, they also built a family with their five wonderful children.
Sadly, it all ended when the couple filed for a divorce in 1974. Adnan ended up paying his ex-wife $874 million, which, when adjusted for modern inflation figures, is worth $2.3 billion.
8. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren – $710 Million
Perhaps the most famous professional golf player on the face of the planet is Tiger Woods. In 2004, he made his wedding vows to Swedish-born model Elin Nordegren.
Fellow golfer Jesper Parnevik, who had previously worked with Elin as an au pair, introduced them at The Open Championship in 2001. Their dating life soon became very high-profile and it seemed they had the perfect relationship.
It was the same when they divorced in 2010. They had already executed a prenuptial agreement, but it had to be renegotiated due to Tiger’s unfaithful behavior. Ultimately, he paid up $710 million.
9. Dmitry and Elena Rybolovlev – $604 Million
Dmitry Rybolovlev is a Russian oligarch who heads the fertilizer manufacturer Uralkali and French football team AS Monaco. Elena Rybolovlev is his ex-wife, whom he married in 1987.
Before he got into entrepreneurship, Dmitry wanted to become a doctor and met his eventual romantic partner in medical school. As husband and wife, they raised two daughters together.
In 2008, Elena filed for divorce and she also requested that her assets be protected from Dmitry at the same time. The divorce was finalized in 2014, and the settlement was a cool $604 million.
10. Craig and Wendy McCaw – $460 Million
The pioneering mind behind the cellular phone industry, Craig McCaw is known as the founder of McCaw Cellular and Clearwire Corporation. He married a woman named Wendy in 1974.
After major brands realized the potential impact of phones on individuals around the globe, McCaw Cellular was sold to AT&T for around $11 to $12 billion. Shortly after, the McCaws’ marriage became difficult.
1997 saw the split of Craig and Wendy. While not much was disclosed about their legal proceedings, they involved a lot of Craig’s high-priced properties. He gave up $460 million of his fortune.
11. Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore – $425 Million
Mel Gibson is one of the most popular personalities in Hollywood. He is an actor and producer who was once married to public figure Robyn Moore. They walked down the aisle back in 1980.
Sometime in the 1970s, shortly after filming Mad Max, Gibson befriended Moore. They eventually dated and got married. They had seven children and a couple of grandkids.
The pair divorced in 2011, and because they did not have a prenup, Mel ended up giving half of his net worth to Robyn. She received $425 million, plus future residuals from her ex’s film projects.
12. Robert Johnson and Sheila Crump Johnson – $400 Million
Robert Johnson and his former spouse, Sheila Crump, were considered the first African-American billionaires in history. The power couple got married in 1969.
Sheila and Robert were co-founders of Black Entertainment Television (BET). It was through this venture that they rose into the top 1%. During their partnership, they were also blessed with two children.
In 2001, BET was acquired by media conglomerate Viacom. In the same year, the Johnson couple broke up. After some time in court, Sheila was given $400 million.
13. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt – $400 Million
The chemistry of celebrity duo Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt was one that many movie fans were rooting for. They had even given the couple the nickname “Brangelina.” 2014 was when they made their vows.
When Pitt and Jolie worked as co-stars on the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the two found love. They announced their relationship when Angelina was pregnant with Brad’s child.
However, they split up in 2019. A lot was considered in their divorce as the couple accumulated a selection of valuable items and their relationship ended with a $400 million settlement.
14. Roman Abramovich and Irina Abramovich – $300 Million
Roman Abramovich is a Russian oligarch and politician. Outside of his country, he is best known as the former owner of Chelsea football club. He wedded Irina Abramovich in 1991.
Irina was a stewardess in Russia’s largest airline company, Aeroflot. Roman, who just got out of a marriage, decided to make her his second wife and Irina gave birth to five children.
After she got suspicious of Roman, the former airline employee took action and divorced him. Their spousal obligations were cut in 2007, and Irina walked away with $300 million.
15. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver – $250 Million
Another renowned actor to be included in this list is the legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1986, he got married to former president John F. Kennedy’s niece, Maria Shriver.
It was during their marriage that Arnold decided to jump into politics and became the Governor of California. His first lady, who is also a journalist, was the mother of his four kids.
They were together for 25 years until Shriver chose to leave Schwarzenegger. They didn’t have a prenup, so Maria was given an estimated settlement of $250 million and custody of their children.
16. Charles Edgar and Marlene Fipke – $200 Million
Charles Edgar Fipke is a geologist and explorer who found diamonds in Canada’s Lac de Gras. He is also a horse racing enthusiast who married a lady named Marlene in 1966.
The two were high school sweethearts, and Marlene had always been by Fipke’s side since the start of his search for diamonds. Though they had a rough start, they managed to raise five children.
Their love story came to a conclusion in 2000 when Marlene decided to break up with her long-time lover. The agreed settlement was $200 million.
17. Michael and Maya Polsky – $184 Million
Michael Polsky is the founder and CEO of energy company Invenergy, a power generation development and operations company. In 1975, he married art gallery owner Maya Polsky.
They left their hometown in Soviet Ukraine to go to the United States. They only had $500 to their name when they moved, but Michael worked hard to build his business while Maya took care of their two children.
After years of struggle, the couple decided to go their separate ways in 2003. The judge decided that Maya deserved half of the pair’s combined cash and assets. She settled with $184 million.
18. Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy – $168 Million
Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan had a couple of hurdles in his career. In 1989, while playing for the Chicago Bulls, he married Juanita Vanoy.
In 1987, Michael proposed to Juanita. She said yes, but the engagement was cut off. The two eventually got hitched, though. They also had three children together.
In 2002, Juanita tried to get a divorce, but they fixed their relationship not long after. But in 2006, the couple had a mutual decision to break up with a settlement of $168 million.
19. Boris Berezovsky and Galina Besharova – $160 Million
The last Russian oligarch to be included in this list is the late Boris Berezovsky, who is also referred to as Platon Elenin. He became the husband of Galina Besharova in 1970.
Berezovsky met Besharova when he was still a mathematics teacher. When he decided to be a businessman, he became one of the original oligarchs. In his marriage with Galina, he had two kids.
However, two years after their wedding, the couple unofficially split up. They didn’t file a divorce until 2010. When it was finalized, Besharova amassed $160 million.
20. Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey – $150 Million
Neil Diamond is regarded as one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, selling over 100 million records internationally. In 1969, he tied the knot with Marcia Murphey.
At first, the musician was married to his high school lover, but it didn’t work out. When they divorced, Diamond got together with Marcia and had two sons.
Unfortunately, it also ended up being a rocky relationship. Neil admitted to straying outside their marriage and took the blame. Consequently, he paid $150 million to finalize their marriage.