15 most expensive divorces

15 most expensive divorces

The recent news of South Korean billionaire Chey Tae-won’s divorce settlement, totaling $1 billion, has caused a stir online.

PUNCH Online reports that Chey, chairman of the SK Group conglomerate, has been ordered to pay his ex-wife a divorce settlement of 1.38 trillion won (approximately $1bn), marking the largest divorce settlement in South Korean history.

Nigerians reacted in shock, with many commenting that marriage now appears to be a business arrangement rather than a romantic commitment.

However this is far from the largest divorce settlement in history.

In this report, PUNCH Online highlights some of the most expensive divorce cases.

  • Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott

In 2019, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest individual with a net worth of $197 billion, ended his 26-year marriage to MacKenzie Scott, finalising their divorce with a settlement of $38 billion.

  • Bill Gates and Melinda Gates

The divorce settlement between Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates remained private, with no public disclosure of financial details. While the couple’s combined net worth was estimated at $130 billion, it is reported that Melinda French Gates received over $6 billion in stock shares, but the exact asset division remains undisclosed.

  • Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein

In 1999, French-American businessman and art dealer Alec Wildenstein ended his 21-year marriage to Jocelyn Wildenstein, resulting in a divorce settlement worth $3.8 billion, with Jocelyn receiving an initial $2.5 billion and an additional $100 million annually for 13 years.

  • Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv Mann

Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv Mann, married for over three decades and parents of three, separated in 1999. Their divorce settlement was valued between $1.2 and $1.7 billion, equivalent to approximately $40-56 million per year of marriage.

  • Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Radic

Bernie Ecclestone, former chief executive of Formula One group, ended his 25-year marriage to model Slavica Radic in 2009, with a reported divorce settlement of $1.2 billion.

  • Steve and Elaine Wynn

Steve and Elaine Wynn, Las Vegas casino moguls, had two marriages spanning 1963-1986 and 1991-2010. Their second divorce in 2010 resulted in a settlement worth $1 billion to Elaine, including $741 million in Wynn Resorts stock, the company they co-founded.

  • Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall

In 2014, oil tycoon Harold Hamm finalised his divorce from Sue Ann Arnall, paying her $974.8 million in a single settlement payment.

  • Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi

According to Forbes, the late Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi paid his ex-wife Soraya Khashoggi a divorce settlement of $874 million in 1982, equivalent to $42 million per year of their 21-year marriage, in an out-of-court agreement.

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum & Princess Haya bint al-Hussein

In December 2021, the Dubai ruler was court-ordered to pay a $728 million to his ex-wife, Princess Haya, ending a prolonged divorce battle marked by allegations of infidelity and threats. The settlement will cover Princess Haya’s lifelong security expenses and ongoing costs for their two children, Al Jalila and Sheikh Zayed, according to CNN.

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren finalised their divorce in August 2010, after five years of marriage, with Elin receiving a reported $100 million settlement, equivalent to $20 million per year of marriage.

  • Stephen Spielberg and Amy Irving

Film director Steven Spielberg’s 1989 divorce from Amy Irving, his wife of four years, resulted in a settlement worth $100 million, equivalent to half his wealth at the time, or $25 million per year of marriage.

  • Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

Paul McCartney’s ex-wife, Heather Mills, received a divorce settlement of $50 million, translating to $12.5 million per year for their four-year marriage.

  • Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison

The Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford’s 1994 divorce from Melissa Mathison, his wife of 18 years and mother of two of his children, resulted in a settlement of $90 million, equivalent to $5 million per year of marriage.

  • Michael Douglas and Diandra Douglas

Two-time Academy Award winner Michael Douglas’s 23-year marriage to Diandra Douglas ended in a divorce settlement of $45 million, which translates to approximately $2 million per year of their marriage.

  • Madonna and Guy Ritchie

Madonna’s divorce from film director Guy Ritchie in 2008 reportedly resulted in a settlement of $76 – $92 million, paid to the British film director and her ex-husband of eight years. The specifics of their agreement remain private, so the exact reasons for the payment amount aren’t publicly disclosed.

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