Top 8 Most Expensive Divorces in History

Marriages do not always work out. And when a marriage takes place in the public eye, the ensuing divorce often becomes a spectacle. The public is fascinated by massive divorce settlements of well-known and powerful people. Rumors, cheating, criminal activity, plastic surgery, and money… the most historically lucrative divorce settlements involve all of the above.

Historically Lucrative Divorce Settlements

8. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

The marriage between the golf phenom, Tiger Woods, and the Swedish model, Elin Nordegren, lasted merely five or six years, but the divorce settlement was estimated to be $710 million ($882 million inflation adjusted). In 2010, the couple filed for divorce following a colossal public scandal. Tiger was alleged to be involved with numerous other women during his five-year marriage to Elin. Under the terms of the divorce, Tiger agreed to only introduce his children to women he marries and not flings, girlfriends, etc.

7. Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall

Harold and Sue Ann were married for 26 years. The Oklahoman’s amassed their fortune in oil. In 2014, Harold wrote a personal check for $974.8 million ($1.2 billion inflation adjusted) to his former wife, Sue Ann Arnall, in the divorce settlement.

6. Steve and Elaine Wynn

Steve and Elaine initially met in college and got married in 1963. They remained married until 1986. Following a five-year separation, they remarried in 1991. The couple divorced again in 2010. Their wealth comes from the ultra-successful Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas. It is suspected that Elaine’s portion of the divorce settlement was an estimated $1 billion ($1.2 billion inflation adjusted).

5. Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone

In 2009, the divorce between Bernie and Slavica was considered to be the most expensive divorce in history. The Formula 1 CEO and Croatian model were married for 24 years and share two daughters. The settlement is widely speculated upon and complicated. Apparently, Bernie transferred his assets to Slavica in the 1990s when he was faced with health problems. The money is held in a trust with Slavica and their two daughters as beneficiaries. Pursuant to the divorce settlement, Slavica is required to pay Bernie through the trust. The estimated settlement is $1.2 billion ($1.5 billion inflation adjusted).

4. Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi

The Saudi businessman and Englishwoman (then Sandra Daly) married in 1961 and remained married for 20 years. The two share five children. Adnan’s source of income was as an international arms dealer for the Saudi royal family. His excessive spending earned him the moniker of the Great Gatsby of the Middle East. In 1980, the divorce settlement was worth approximately $874 million ($2.5 million inflation adjusted).

3. Rupert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv

In their 1999 divorce, it was reported that the media mogul’s second wife, Anna, received a $1.7 billion divorce settlement ($2.8 billion inflation adjusted), primarily in News Corp. stock. The couple were married for 31 years. About two weeks following the divorce, Rupert married a woman 38 years younger than himself. That marriage lasted 14 years. Rupert then married former model and former partner to Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall. Rupert Murdoch’s prenuptial agreements dictated the divorce settlement for the latter two marriages.

2. Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein

The art dealer, Alec, and “The Lion Queen” socialite, Jocelyn’s, 1999 divorce was anything but amicable. Jocelyn reportedly walked in on Alec and a young model in her bedroom. Alec then threatened her with a gun. In addition, Joselyn allegedly started getting plastic surgeries in a desperate attempt to garner the attention of her giant cat-loving husband. Throughout the years, Joselyn was rumored to have countless plastic surgeries to make her face more “feline.” Ultimately, her attempts were futile and their relationship ended in a $3.8 billion divorce settlement awarded to Joselyn ($6.2 billion inflation adjusted).

1. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos

Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon is the richest individual in the world, so it’s no surprise that his 2019 divorce yielded the highest divorce settlement to date. The couple were married for 25 years and have four children. According to securities filings, MacKenzie Bezos received 25% of the couple’s Amazon stock, amounting to approximately $38 billion ($40.3 billion inflation adjusted). MacKenzie stated that she would give half her fortune to charity.

Highest Paid Alimony in the World

Divorce settlements in Hollywood and otherwise famous, well-known individuals piques everyone’s interest. A few other celebrities with expensive divorce settlements include: Mel Gibson ($571 million inflation adjusted); Neil Diamond ($274 or $267 million inflation adjusted); Michael Jordan ($226 million inflation adjusted); Steven Spielberg ($219 million inflation adjusted); Harrison Ford ($169 million inflation adjusted); Madonna ($96-$116 million inflation adjusted).

Our firm’s litigation services department provides professional services to participants in the legal process, particularly in marriage dissolution of high net worth individuals. Contact our Orlando, Miami, or Palm Beach Gardens offices today to learn more.