Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos | $35 Billion
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19 of the Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces of All Time

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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos | $35 Billion
Jerod Harris / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images North America /Getty Images CC

Big League Breakups

When news of a big celebrity marriage makes headlines, a secret part of tabloid readers everywhere anxiously awaits the really juicy headlines to come — those that chronicle the divorce as well as how much they get when they inevitably sell the luxurious house they shared. The limelight is both a blessing and a curse for the rich and famous, and when their marriages fail, the drama plays out in public for all to see — and in most cases, one walks away from the relationship a whole lot richer than before.

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard | $7 million
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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard | $7 Million

Filled with plotlines of betrayal, abuse, domestic violence, restraining orders, and addiction, the divorce of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was scandalous even by the standards of Hollywood tabloid breakups. The actors were married for only 15 months after tying the knot in 2015, and when the divorce was finalized, Depp agreed to pay Heard $7 million to walk away. Because of the marriage's short tenure, the usual gold-digger accusations plagued Heard, who made those charges hard to defend after donating the entire $7 million to the ACLU in support of women's causes. 

Michael Strahan and Jean Muggli | $15.3 Million
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Michael Strahan and Jean Muggli | $15.3 Million

As recently as this year, NFL legend Michael Strahan was still embroiled in an ugly and headline-grabbing custody battle stemming from his divorce in 2006. His wife Jean Muggli won $15.3 million plus $18,000 a month in child support, although that was reduced to $13,000 when Strahan left the NFL two years later. It didn't end there, however, as Muggli is demanding more money and Strahan is at the same time counterpunching with a custody claim for their twin teen daughters, claiming his ex-wife physically abused them.

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Matt Lauer and Annette Roque | $20 million
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Matt Lauer and Annette Roque | $20 Million

When NBC fired long-time "Today" show host Matt Lauer in the wake of a string of sexual misconduct accusations, it represented a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement. It was also the beginning of the end of Lauer's two-decade marriage to Annette Roque. The disgraced host agreed to pay Roque $20 million and Lauer quickly moved to sell a $44 million home in the Hamptons that the couple bought from Richard Gere. 

Donald and Ivana Trump
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Donald and Ivana Trump | $20 Million

In chronological order of President Trump's wives, Melania Trump is actually the third lady. Trump was married to his first wife, Ivana, from 1977-1992, although she recently claimed that the marriage had ended in her mind in 1989 when she realized the future president was having an affair with Marla Maples, according to the Independent. That affair, and the endless drama of the Donald/Ivana divorce, sent the New York tabloid press into a feeding frenzy. Ivana Trump walked away with a $20 million settlement and Donald Trump married Marla Maples soon after before they, too, spiraled into a highly contentious and public divorce.

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Johnny Carson and Joanna Holland
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Johnny Carson and Joanna Holland | $20 Million

Famously private television comedy god Johnny Carson married model Joanna Holland in secret in 1972. Their divorce 13 years later was anything but hush hush — the tabloids followed it relentlessly, likely to the chagrin of Carson. Holland was awarded $20 million as part of the settlement. Adjusted for inflation, that's about $48.31 million today.

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Terry "Hulk" Hogan
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Hulk Hogan and Linda Claridge | $30 Million

After allegations of infidelity emerged, wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan's wife Linda Claridge filed for divorce in 2007 — but it took four years of legal wrangling to finally reach a settlement. When they did, she walked away with not half of the Hulk's fortune, but 70% of the couple's liquid assets and 40% ownership of the Hulk's companies.

Mills, McCartney and Vladimir Putin during a tour of the Kremlin in 2003
Mills, McCartney and Vladimir Putin during a tour of the Kremlin in 2003 by Kremlin.ru (CC BY)

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills | $49 Million

The long, drawn out, and intensely public divorce between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills finally came to a close in 2008 when a judge decided the terms after the couple couldn't come to an agreement. The former Beatle offered about $32 million but Mills was holding out for about $251 million. 

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Madonna and Guy Ritchie | $76-$92 Million
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Madonna and Guy Ritchie | $76-$92 Million

In 2008, Reuters reported that Madonna had paid her ex-husband Guy Ritchie "up to" $92 million to settle the couple's divorce. The pop icon and film director announced they were splitting after eight years of marriage. Their combined fortune had been estimated at $525 million, but most of that was attributed to Madonna's long and legendary career. 

Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison | $85-$118 million
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Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison | $85-$118 Million

Although the late Melissa Mathison might not be a household name like her longtime husband Harrison Ford, she wrote the screenplay for "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," including the famous line "E.T.: phone home." She and Ford married in 1983 and divorced in 2004. As part of the settlement, she walked with $85 million. Mathison died from cancer at the age of 65 in 2015.

Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving | $100 Million
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Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving | $100 Million

Steven Spielberg is known for being a perfectionist behind the camera, but his meticulous nature does not, apparently, carry over into his personal life. When the famed director and his wife of four years, Amy Irving, divorced in 1989, she argued in court that she did not have legal representation when the couple informally sketched out a prenup on a scrap of paper, according to Forbes. The court sided with Irving, who was granted $100 million — half of Spielberg's fortune and nearly $210 million in 2020 dollars. That kind of money would grab tabloid headlines today, but back then, nine-figure settlements were almost unheard of.

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Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl | $125 Million
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Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl | $125 Million

Crossover king Garth Brooks and his college sweetheart Sandy Mahl had been married for 15 years when the couple divorced in 2001. Brooks would go on to marry fellow country star Trisha Yearwood in 2005, but he parted ways with Mahl with a nine-figure hole in his vast fortune. His divorce settlement included a $125 million payment to Mahl. 

Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey | $150 Million
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Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey | $150 Million

Neil Diamond was married to former TV producer Marcia Murphey before they divorced in 1994. When they split, the settlement gave her $150 million, about half the music star's fortune. Today, that's about $263 million. Diamond later said Murphey was "worth every penny." 

Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy | $168 Million
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Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy | $168 Million

Although Juanita Vanoy filed for divorce from the most famous celebrity athlete in history in 2002, she and Michael Jordan reconciled once before splitting for good a few years later. Their divorce was finalized in 2007 and Vanoy moved on $168 million richer in what at the time was one of the biggest divorce settlements in history.  

Mel Gibson with wife Robyn
Mel Gibson with wife Robyn by Alan Light (CC BY)

Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore | $425 Million

In 2017, Mel Gibson's girlfriend Rosalind Ross gave birth to Gibson's ninth child. He had his eighth child eight years earlier in 2009 with Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva, who conceived while Gibson was still married to Robyn Moore, his wife of 31 years and the mother of his first seven children. In 2012, their long, public, and bitter divorce — which coincided with a string of ugly and racially charged Gibson meltdowns — was finalized. Moore, a former dental nurse, was awarded half of Gibson's $850 million fortune. She also received half of all Gibson's future movie royalties.

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren | $750 Million
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Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren | $750 Million

In 2009, Tiger Woods' world — and unimpeachable integrity that drove his public persona — began to unravel. One night that year, the world learned Woods crashed his Escalade into a fire hydrant while trying to escape his wife, who attacked his vehicle with, fittingly, a golf club. The ensuing months revealed a slow, steady drip of salacious revelations of infidelity and dysfunction that belied the squeaky-clean image the PGA superstar had spent so many years cultivating. Sponsors fled, Woods' career spiraled downward, and Swedish-born model Elin Nordegren walked away with full custody of the couples' children and a then-record-setting $750 million settlement.

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Steve and Elaine Wynn | $955 Million
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Steve and Elaine Wynn | $955 Million

Philanthropist, socialite, and powerbroker Elaine Wynn is known unofficially as the "queen of Las Vegas." After helping her celebrity businessman husband Steve Wynn build a casino empire, the couple's divorced was finalized in 2011 and Elaine Wynn parted with stock valued at more than $955 million. That, of course, made her a very rich woman — but her power goes far beyond her bank account. After the divorce, Steve Wynn was consumed by a flurry of sexual misconduct accusations and sordid tales of sexual assault and hush money payments to allgeged victims. Elaine Wynn seized the moment, asserted herself, leveraged her vast wealth to work the legal system, and muscled her former husband's backers to reassert control of the Wynn empire back to herself. 

Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv
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Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv | $1.7 Billion

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch married Anna Maria Torv, a young journalist working for one of his papers, in 1967. That's the very same year he divorced his first wife, who he married in 1956 and later had a child with. In 1999 he divorced Torv, and just 17 days later, he married fellow media mogul Wendy Deng. They divorced in 2013 and in 2016, Murdoch, now in his late 80s, married actress Jerry Hall. The terms of his divorce with Deng were not disclosed, but Torv walked away with $1.7 billion in 1999, or $2.65 billion in 2020 dollars.

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Jocelyn Wildenstein
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Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein| $3.8 Billion

When socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein won $2.5 billion and $100 million a year for 13 years as part of her 1999 divorce settlement, the judge stipulated that she couldn't use any of the money for plastic surgery. Known as "Catwoman" for the unfortunate results of decades of excessive cosmetic alterations, Wildenstein spent 20 years married to Alec Wildenstein, a celebrity art dealer and race horse owner. Her million-dollar-a-month spending habits and her massive, debt-incurring real estate portfolio eventually ate their way to the bottom of even that seemingly endless pile of cash. In 2018, she claimed to have $0 in her checking account and that she was living off of Social Security when she declared bankruptcy that year.

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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos | $35 Billion
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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos | $35 Billion

Jeff Bezos had a net worth of roughly $150 billion before his astonishing 11-figure divorce with his wife MacKenzie was finalized in 2019. She walked away with 25% of the Amazon founder's company stock, which was worth about $35 billion, instantly making her one of the richest women on Earth. Jeff Bezos rebounded nicely, as well. In August, Forbes reported that he held the distinction of becoming the first person in history to accumulate a fortune worth $200 billion.