We all know the financial benefits of a strong marriage. But what about the financial destruction that can follow a rich person’s divorce? The higher you climb, the further you have to fall. This is true of anyone, but nowhere is it more apparent than in the biggest divorce cases of the century. Some of these people you will have heard about (primarily because they’re celebrities), while others will have managed to stay in relative obscurity (primarily because money allows you to disappear).
French Billionaire Alec Wildenstein’s wife was awarded an awe-inspiring $2.5 billion in one lump sum — plus another $100 million annually for 13 years, totaling $3.8 billion for the entire divorce. Did you ever think that hating someone could be so lucrative? Wildenstein was on fire in the media because of the couple’s excessive spending habits. He like to breed racehorses and dealt in fine art.
When Rupert Murdoch divorce Anna Maria Torv, he didn’t wait long to remarry Wendi Deng. In fact, he only waited 17 days. When you know, you know — right? Murdoch and Deng split in 2013 after 13 years of marriage, and Deng received $1.8 billion after the settlement. Wow.
Speaking of Murdoch, he paid $1.7 billion to his second wife. They had been together for 32 years. Can you imagine being a divorce attorney Orlando and handling that kind of celebrity case? You could pop the champagne and retire the second the check cleared.
Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone called it quits to the tune of $1.2 billion in 2009. You might know Bernie as the CEO of Formula One racing. Or you might not.
Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi divorced in 1974, when the $850 million Soraya received was worth even more. It took five years and one hell of a lawsuit for her to receive the check, though, because Adnan wasn’t about to part with his hard-earned (probably not) fortune willingly. By the way, Adnan was a renowned arms dealer from Saudi Arabia.
Steve Wynn and Elaine Pascal have had somewhat of a whirlwind romance — more than once. They married in 1963, then divorced in 1986, then were remarried five years later, then divorced again in 2010. Elaine currently owns about half of Wynn Resorts company stock and has $740 million from the second divorce. Anyone want to take bets to see if they’ll have another go of it? Third time’s the charm!
Back in the 70s, a man named Craig McCaw built a company called McCaw Cellular. He divorced his wife Wendy Petrak after 24 years of marriage only to sell the company a few years later. When the divorce occurred, she received $460 million — a paltry sum compared to the $11 billion he received from the sale of McCaw. If only she had held out another couple of years!
Mel Gibson divorced his wife Robyn in 2006 and was forced to pay her $425 million — which was a nice even number because he had made $850 million.