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The 10 most expensive divorces

Rupert Murdoch is putting billions at risk in his planned divorce of his third wife. Here are other high-profile and costly split-ups.

By businessed Jun 14, 2013 2:41PM

Rupert Murdoch, right, and wife Wendi Deng Murdoch
© John Shearer/Invision/APWord that News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is planning to divorce his third wife, Wendi Deng, got us thinking about the high cost of splitting up.

Even with a prenuptial agreement, Murdoch, 82, could be in for a costly and painful legal battle to protect his global empire, worth an estimated $9.4 billion.

Divorce rarely makes economic sense at any income level, but as Woody Allen once said, "The heart wants what it wants."

Here, in reverse order of course, is our list of the top 10 most expensive divorces, according to Reuters, CNBC and Forbes:

No. 10: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, $250 million-plus

Movie star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, split after it was revealed that Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with a member of the couple’s domestic staff.

No. 9: Roman and Irina Abramovich, $300 million

The settlement bestowed on Irina Abramovich in 2007 was reportedly worth less than 2% of her husband’s massive $18.7 billion net worth.


No. 8: Robert and Sheila Johnson, $400 million

Robert Johnson, the co-founder of BET and America's first African-American billionaire, split from his wife in 2000 after more than 30 years of marriage.

No. 7: Mel and Robyn Gibson, $425 million

In what is the biggest celebrity divorce of all-time, Mel Gibson reportedly handed over half of his $850 million fortune when he split with his wife of 31 years, Robyn in 2011.

No. 6: Craig and Wendy McCaw, $460 million

The Seattle-area businessman and founder of McCaw Cellular, Craig McCaw and his wife Wendy split up, in 1998, just a few years after selling the company to AT&T for between $11-$12 billion.

No. 5: Steve and Elaine Wynn, $740 million

Wynn, CEO of casino empire Wynn Resorts, lost ownership of about half of his stock in the company in his 2010 divorce with Elaine Wynn in a $750 million agreement, according to reports at the time.

No. 4: Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi, $874 million

For almost two decades, Saudi billionaire entrepreneur and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi held the record for the most expensive divorce settlement in history. Although they filed for divorce in 1974, it took Soraya until 1979 to sue her ex-husband for a cash settlement.

No. 3: Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone, $1.2 billion

The Formula One CEO divorced his wife, a former Armani model, in 2009 for an estimated $1 billion to $1.2 billion.

No. 2: Rupert and Anna Murdoch, $1.7 billion

Murdoch divorced his second wife of 31 years, Anna, with a $1.7 billion settlement in 1999. He married Wendi shortly after.

No. 1: Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein, $3.8 billion

The only couple so far to keep Murdoch from the No. 1 spot is a New York socialite known for her cosmetic surgery who divorced her art dealer husband in 1999. According to news reports at the time, she got a settlement of $2.5 billion plus $100 million a year for 13 years.

And because you are so curious, here are some high-profile also-rans:

  • Michael and Juanita Jordan, $168 million
  • Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey, $150 million
  • Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, $100 million
  • Steven Spielberg & Amy Irving, $100 million

See also:


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Jun 14, 2013 5:26PM
What did this woman see in that old wrinkled man ??...wait !!.. he's a multi billionaire...same old story..
Jun 14, 2013 4:57PM
Jun 14, 2013 5:39PM
He is still not rich enough to buy an air conditioned room in hell.
Jun 14, 2013 6:46PM
Wow what a society that we live in today where we teach women hey if you get married to someone you deserve half of what they have. I see if you had a wife that was there with you from the beginning and with her sweat and blood she assisted you in building your empire. But no this is not the case today you can just be married for a month and you didn't bring nothing to the table and our sorry pathetic system will say you deserve half what he has. No wonder guys hardly wants to get married today. Our society has destroyed the belief of marriages.
Jun 14, 2013 5:15PM

I can't even imagine having that kind of money, millions, billions, wow! 


Jun 14, 2013 5:21PM
**** is  a Gold Digger.  Bimbo knew what she was doing to the old guy and the old guy is an idiot anyway.  Bitch will bring all her  family to the states now.  Idiot.

Jun 14, 2013 7:50PM
Why are men who are smart enough to make millions, stupid enough to get married? It boggles the mind.
Jun 14, 2013 9:14PM
It's absolutely ridiculous that someone who marries a person of wealth can take so much of their money during a divorce.  In a vast majority of these cases, the spouse who did not make the money did little or nothing to contribute to the wealthy person's success.  I can see a split in a case where husband and wife make about the same or when they aren't wealthy and one of them gives up a career to take care of the family.  However, in these cases where one is super successful while the other just plays the socialite and does nothing, it's absurd that our courts award so much to these non-contributing people.  ...Just more of our society's growing sense of entitlement for those who don't contribute.
Jun 14, 2013 5:36PM
At 82 and a complete A$$hole he doesn't need 9.7 billion dollars. Who cares who fuks him over. He's fuked the News for years now.
Jun 14, 2013 6:33PM
This is idiotic who the hell needs billions of dollars think about the good you could do around the world with that kind of money and still have enough to live on comfortably. America has turned into a country obsessed with money does anybody enjoy anything else except getting money sex or drugs..Pathetic. I'm 48 and I get 1086.00 a month on disability and I'm satisfied..
Jun 14, 2013 5:25PM

 I wonder what his "newer model" look$ like. And, how greedy the heifer will be-- when he divorce$ her!

Ca-ching! Ca-ching! Ca-ching! (Ca$h regi$ter $ound$. lol)

 "For The Love of Money"... sung by the great... OJays!

Jun 14, 2013 8:25PM
It's absolutely ridiculous that these women get such HUGE payouts. They didn't have any part in that person making that much money in most cases, if it was a team effort than yes split the assets. But more than half of divorces are initiated by women in the first place and the men still have to pay. Regardless if he cheated, had four gf's, you just fell out of love. That is no reason to have to pay out millions and millions of dollars just because the relationship ended. Hell I have broken up with women and been broken up with and I didn't get a fat paycheck. I didn't even want material possessions I just wanted to be out of the relationship in most cases. Screw a pre-nup!!! What you have is yours What she has is hers and what you 2 make TOGETHER in your marriage is what should be split when the marriage ends, not just "well I guess you owe her half". Some of these women are Stars in their own right with 100's of millions of dollars in assets of their own and they STILLLLLL request multi million dollar payouts. It makes me Sick.
Jun 14, 2013 5:58PM

Guys like Murdoch don't really care about the money... so long as they retain their POWER... that's all their in it for.  He's probably unaware of what he is really worth $$$ wise.  That's not his goal nor drive in life.


If he just wanted cash or wealth, he'd have been satisfied long ago and retired to a nice little quiet spot, enjoying a drink and kicking back.  


The cash will only bug him if it delays his next 'takeover' bid or power grab.


Jun 14, 2013 9:48PM
Women getting part of the fortune earned by the husband is ridiculous. If they worked for it, then they might deserve some of it. But just cause they were married to a wealthy man, doesn't mean that their own value increases. Same goes for vice-versa.
Jun 14, 2013 6:08PM
George Clooney is on top of it, Murdock is still living in the stone age.
Under US laws marrying a woman is insane, if something happens you have
no idea what the judge will come up with,  you had no idea he was also in your bed.
I have spent sometime in China. I was ask: If a woman marries a US man, can
she take some of his stuff if she divorces him.

Jun 14, 2013 4:45PM
He's a old guy.  The bimbo didn't even have the common decency to wait a little while longer.
Jun 14, 2013 9:32PM
Haven't these people (except the long term married ones) ever heard of pre-nups
Jun 14, 2013 5:56PM
Isn't divorce cheaper than Probate?
Jun 14, 2013 5:39PM
But she saved him from that pie-thrower in court
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