The Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces of All Time

Divorce can be many things: painful or liberating, slow or rapid, fault-based or no-fault, and so on and so forth.  Just as each couple is unique, each divorce is unique in kind.  However, virtually all divorces have one unfortunate trait in common: they’re expensive.  And when it comes to racking up zero after zero after zero, no one does it better (or bigger) than the rich and famous.  The most expensive divorces of all time could have collectively financed the creation of a small country, and we’ve compiled them all here for your guilty reading pleasure.  You might want to get one hand ready beneath your chin, because otherwise, by the time you make it to the bottom of the list, your jaw will have dropped to the floor.

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10. Mick Jagger VS. Jerry Hall: $20M

Mick Jagger is known, of course, as the large-lipped lead signer of iconic rock group The Rolling Stones.  Jerry Hall is famous in her own right, with an impressive career as a model and entertainer.  In 1990, Jagger and Hall finally tied the knot in Bali after decades of dating, but unfortunately, the marriage was not fated to last.  Jagger and Hall eventually parted ways in 1999, leaving a path of some $20M burned in their wake.  (Estimates place the divorce inside a range of $15 to $25M.)

9. Donald Trump VS. Ivana Trump: $25M

While Mick Jagger may be best known for his mouth, “The Donald” wouldn’t be “The Donald” without that magnificent head of hair.  In addition to his baffling coiffure, Trump is known for — well, being rich.  In spite of filing for multiple bankruptcies, he maintains a position as one of the most successful and well-known entrepreneurs in America.  Donald and Ivana were married in 1977 (the same year Hall and Jagger began dating), and divorced in 1991 after rumors of Donald’s involvement with southern beauty queen Marla Maples reared their heads.  The divorce was ultimately settled in 1992.

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8. Paul McCartney VS. Heather Mills: $48.6M

With decades of rock-and-roll history behind him, knighted Beatle Sir Paul McCartney is probably one of the most famous men in the world — and his divorce from second wife Heather Mills was one of the most famous divorces in the world to match.  Mills and McCartney were married in June of 2002, but were separated just four years later in 2006.  Their eight-figure divorce was finalized in 2008, with Mills stating, “I will never get over it. I will always love Paul.”

7. Harrison Ford VS. Melissa Mathison: $85M

Harrison Ford is known as a silver screen heartthrob who breathed life into blockbusters like Star Wars, Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, and Apocalypse Now.  Melissa Mathison, while perhaps less famous, is a Hollywood heavy-hitter herself, renowned for being the mind behind the screenplay for mega-hit E.T.  Mathison and Ford were married in 1983, but after just over two decades of matrimony, the couple called it quits in 2004.

6. Steven Spielberg VS. Amy Irving: $100M

We’ve crossed the threshold from six zeroes to seven, and the numbers are only going to keep climbing from here.  Steven Spielberg has directed countless films, and is the man behind a laundry list of beloved classics like Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Saving Private Ryan, and the highly-publicized (and extremely blue) Avatar.  Spielberg’s fame is fortunate, because his divorce from Amy Irving ultimately cost a cool $100M.

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5. Garth Brooks VS. Sandy Mahl: $125M

With his trademark silver hair and black cowboy hat, Garth Brooks is frequently hailed as a sort of country music messiah who managed to help bridge the gap between honky-tonk and mainstream pop.  Brooks married yet-to-be-ex-wife Sandy Mahl in 1986, but the couple divorced in 2000. The country-pop icon has since remarried to fellow singer Trisha Yearwood, but not until he had a $125M split already under his belt.

4. Neil Diamond VS. Marcia Murphey: $150M

Neil Diamond has sold millions upon millions of records since beginning his long career as a singer-songwriter in the 1960s.  He has also spent millions upon millions in divorce court.  Diamond married production assistant Marcia Murphey, making her his second wife, in 1969.  The couple were together until 1995, but after nearly 30 years of marriage, the relationship came to an end.  A very, very expensive end.  The singer reportedly stated that Murphey was “worth every penny,” and that the divorce was a result of “irreconcilable differences.”

3. Michael Jordan VS. Juanita Jordan: $168M

These days, Michael “MJ” Jordan is practically better known for his appearances in ’90s family film Space Jam and various “Got Milk?” and “Nike” ads than he is for his illustrious basketball career with the Chicago Bulls.  Juanita Jordan, born Juanita Vanoy, is no stranger to fame and attention herself, with a background in modeling.  Vanoy was wed to the 6’6″ athlete in 1989, but they divorced in 2002… but remarried… but re-divorced.  The final split came in 2006, and the decision to really part ways was said to have come about “mutually and amicably.”  At the time, Juanita’s hefty $168M divorce settlement was the record-holder — but while $168M is eye-popping enough, it’s dwarfed by the next two.

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2. Mel Gibson VS. Robyn Moore Gibson: $425M

Mel Gibson has garnered a lot of attention over his many years as an entertainer.  He’s been something of a Hollywood chameleon, shifting from gritty Australian newcomer as Mad Max in the ’70s, to ’80s heartthrob firing rounds from a Lethal Weapon, to ’90s history buff behind films like The Patriot and Braveheart, to 21st-century alleged anti-Semite and all around eccentric. He’s also part of one of the most expensive divorces of all time, in or out of Hollywood.

Gibson married Robyn Moore in 1980, but in 2011 the marriage came to a costly end.  The Gibsons, however, have been fairly reticent about the split, stating, “Throughout our marriage and separation we have always strived to maintain thFre privacy and integrity of our family and will continue to do so.”  Fair enough.  Nonetheless, Robyn has publicly mentioned “irreconcilable differences.”

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1. Jocelyn Wildenstein VS. Alec Wildenstein: $2.5B

You read that right.  That “B” up there is no typo: the mother of all divorces cost an almost unbelievable $2.5 billion. 

Born Jocelyne Périsset in Switzerland in 1940, socialite and soon-to-be Wildenstein was always accustomed to money; particularly spending it.  For example, Wildenstein herself estimates a phone bill expenditure of $60,000 per year (that’s $5,000 per month, just for the telephone), and, according to Wikipedia, “food and wine costs at $547,000,” again per year.

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Of course, it would be impossible to mention Wildenstein, unfortunately nicknamed “Cat Woman” and “Bride of Wildenstein,” without touching on her notorious plastic surgery addiction.  Wildenstein has famously spent $4M on cosmetic touch-ups in a long-spanning series of 30 surgeries.

With such a talent for burning piles (and piles, and piles) of cold hard cash, maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that her 1999 divorce from Alec Wildenstein cost so much money.  Still, here’s some food for thought: for the cost of one Wildenstein divorce, you could buy half a dozen 747 jets, a small army of pet tigers, and a mansion or two to top it off, and still have money left to spare.

Divorce can become costly, but it certainly doesn’t have to cost two and a half billion dollars.  If you need an affordable New Jersey divorce attorney, contact the law offices of Maselli Warren online, or call us today at (800) 891-2657.  Our consultations are totally confidential — and the first one is even free.