Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood
Written by Oana Schneider

Couples who are about to say their “I dos” would definitely not think about divorce statistics before they get married, but it is a grim reality that they need to be aware of. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, almost half of first marriages will end in a separation or divorce within 15 years.

If you’re lucky, you might just outlast the 15-year average but if your differences as a couple get in the way of your marriage’s growth, the legal union could be shorter than that. Unfortunately, when the fairy tale goes bad, all that is left is a bitter divorce. If you want to know more about the most expensive divorces in Hollywood, keep reading!

For ordinary folks who are earning a decent wage per month or are running a business, the divorce settlement could be nothing to write home about. But when celebrities or moguls earning millions or even billions of dollars are involved, the stakes are definitely higher. To give you an idea about the figures involved, check out this list of the priciest divorces in history according to

  • Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovleva = $4.5 billion (2014)
  • Alec Wildenstein and Jocelyn Perisse = $2.5 billion (1999)
  • Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng = $1.8 billion (2013)
  • Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone = $1.3 billion (2009)
  • Rupert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv = $1.2 billion (1999)
  • Steve Wynn and Elaine Pascal = $741 million (2010)
  • Craig McCaw and Wendy Petrack = 460 million (1995)
  • Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore = 450 million (206)
  • Robert and Sheila Johnson = 400 million (2002)
  • Irina Malandina and Roman Abramovich = 300 million (2007)

Dmitry and Elena are a Russian couple who parted ways May of 2014 in what is the most expensive divorce settlement so far. Interestingly enough, Rupert Murdoch seemingly gave away almost $3 billion to two of his former wives, while Mel Gibson seems to be the Hollywood celebrity with the priciest divorce settlement in history.

Counting Down the 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood

So what is it about Hollywood divorces which make them such a juicy topic among us mere mortals? First of all, these celebs earn millions of dollars per picture, so their overall net worth is really huge. If a celeb marries another celeb, their combined income would add up to that of a power couple’s income – which could be quite messy once divorce looms, especially if there is no prenuptial agreement.

Second, Hollywood celebs are a permanent fixture in gossip columns and celebrity news websites, so anything that they do immediately gets the notice of the public. Third, the spouses of Hollywood celebs who are not in the business are bound to get majority of the settlement. This is something that almost always happens, especially in the Hollywood film industry where erring and unfaithful spouses are very common because of the temptations that abound.

Take a quick look at the top ten most expensive divorces in Hollywood:

1. Kenny and Marianne Rogers = $60 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Kenny Rogers Divorce

Kenny Rogers is a huge country music superstar who made his millions during the 1970s and 1970s. After the peak of his career, he dabbled in photography, became a published author and even opened the famous Kenny Rogers Roasters. With a net worth of $250 million, exactly how much would his spouse get in the event of a divorce? Marianne Gordon, his fourth wife with whom he has a son, filed for divorce in 1993. The country singer gave his wife $60 million willingly, saying that she deserved every penny.

2. Madonna and Guy Ritchie = $76 to 92 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Madonna and Guy Ritchie

Music royalty Madonna and director Guy Ritchie got married on December 2000 in Scotland. Eight years later, Madonna’s spokesperson announced that she agreed to a divorce settlement, with the amount being anywhere from $76 to $92 million. Together, they have a son Rocco and an adopted Malawian son named David. Madonna has daughter Lourdes from a previous relationship. At the time of their divorce, Madonna’s rep called the settlement one of the largest payouts ever.

3. Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva = $80 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva

Kevin Costner is an A-list Hollywood celeb who married his college sweetheart Cindy Silva in 1978. With blockbuster films like The Untouchables, Dances with Wolves and JFK, the actor made a name for himself in the industry and made millions along the way. The couple has three kids and despite the problems associated with a marriage that’s constantly in the spotlight, Cindy tried to make the relationship work. However, things ended up sourly when divorce was filed in 1994, with Costner’s wife reportedly walking away with a settlement of $80 million. Usually, divorces in Hollywood are expensive!

4. Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison = $85 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood

Prior to being married to Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford wed Melissa Mathison. This was during the 1980s to 1990s when Ford was spewing one hit movie after another. They actually managed to stay together for a total of 21 years, but eventually filed for a divorce. Reportedly, Mathison had an $85 million divorce settlement and even had claims to future royalties of Star Wars and Indiana Jones films.

5. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving = $100 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving

Director Steven Spielberg had his first Hollywood hit with Jaws while Amy Irving was a relative unknown in the film Carrie. In 1985, the couple wed but a mere four years later, divorce was filed. They were one of the most prominent couples in Hollywood and with one son together, Spielberg had to give a huge settlement to Irving at the tone of $100 million. The now ex-couple is said to have a prenup but always the nice guy, Spielberg willingly gave the settlement amount to the mother of his son Max.

6. Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey = $150 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Neil Diamond Divorce

One of the priciest divorces in Hollywood was the one between Marcia Murphey and Neil Diamond. The crooner had a string of hits during the 1970s and became one of the biggest names in the music industry.  Murphey and Diamond met in 1969. In 1994, the wife cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce. The settlement rang to a cool $150 million which Diamond claims to be half his net worth. Unfazed, Diamond said that his ex-wife was worth every penny for having bore him wonderful kids. 

7. Michael and Juanita Jordan = $168 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Michael and Juanita Jordan

Basketball royalty Michael Jordan married Juanita Vanoy in September 1989. Together, they have three kids and irreconcilable differences was also the reason cited for the divorce petition that was filed on December 2006. The marriage ended mutually and amicably, with Juanita reportedly getting a $168 million settlement from the NBA legend. Isn’t this one of the priciest divorces in Hollywood?

8. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren = $200 to $500 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Tiger Woods Divorce

Perhaps one of the most buzzed-about divorces was that of Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren. Amidst rumors of Woods’ cheating, the golf superstar announced that he would take an indefinite break from the sport to work on his marriage. Unfortunately, the divorce was finalized on August 2010. Nordegren walked away with a reported amount of anywhere from $200 to $500 million as settlement. Although divorces in Hollywood are generally expensive, this one took everybody by surprise. 

9. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver = $250 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Arnold Swartzenegger Divorce

Hollywood icon Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have been married for 25 years. Shriver is the famous niece of John F. Kennedy and is also a well-known producer, news writer and correspondent. Schwarzenegger became Governor of California. Talks about a divorce started with rumors of Schwarzenegger fathering a child with a member of the house staff, and when the divorce was finalized, Shriver got half of Schwarzenegger’s net worth. The total amount? $250 million!

10. Mel and Robyn Gibson = $450 million

Top 10 Priciest Divorces in Hollywood - Mel and Robyn Gibson

Mel and Robyn Gibson top the most expensive divorces in Hollywood list. Mel Gibson starred in the blockbuster hit Lethal Weapon movies. The couple have seven kids and have been together for almost thirty years, but the fairy tale eventually came to an end with rumors of Gibson’s affair with another woman surfacing. There was no prenuptial agreement so Robyn was entitled to half of the actor’s net worth. Aside from the humongous settlement, Robyn was entitled to half of any film residuals Mel Gibson receives in the future.

Here are a few more honorable mentions: Sir Paul McCartney separated with Heather Mills in 2008. Mills walked away with a settlement amount of $48.6 million. Phil Collins and Orianne Cevey split in 2008, which cost the singer around $47 in settlement. Michael and Diandra Douglas’ divorced in 1997 and it cost the Hollywood actor a cool $45 million in settlement.

Titanic director James Cameron split with Linda Hamilton in 1999. The director was forced to give Hamilton more than half of his revenues from the monster hit of a movie when the divorce was finalized. Ted Danson of NBC’s Cheers split with Casey Coates in 1992, which reportedly had a settlement amount of $30 million.

With celebrity marriages starting and ending with almost the blink of an eye, those who are about to take their vows might want to make sure that they have an iron-clad prenuptial agreement to protect their assets. This way, they can retain as much of their hard-earned money as possible to make up for the emotional trauma that such separations wreak.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois and was part of our team as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget and has a degree in Communications.


  • I will be honest: This article was depressing to read. Some of these couples, like Mel and Robyn Gibson, had spent a huge chunk of their lives together. Not only that, they raised seven children. Yet things ended because of Mel’s possible affair with another woman. It is most likely true considering she left him. Also, it is crazy how much these divorces cost the celebrities especially in relation to how much they spent on the wedding in the first place!

    • In some cases, money trumps everything, including the time spent together in marriage. Far more people care about money than they do marriage or family. That’s just human nature, though, and it doesn’t surprise me that the Gibsons divorced, regardless of how long they were with each other.

  • Do you know what I have NEVER understood? When famous people, or people with a lot of money, get married to someone with no money and they don’t take out a prenuptial! Some of them repeatedly do it as well. Is it a case of a fool and their money soon being parted?

    Some of those prices are absolutely ridiculous and just another example of American courts going overboard!

  • Woah. That’s a lot of money. In a few of them it is mentioned that it is “half of their networth”, and I wonder then how much of their networth the other people had to give away?

    And I think that some of them were very classy — Spielberg for one, who had a prenup but still gave away so much of his money. I mean, he’s rich enough that he can afford to. And it probably gives a better PR image and keeps a cordial relationship with the ex-spouse (which is more important when they have a kid together or, in the case of Diamond, kids)

    • A prenup won’t always save a person from losing a good chunk of their total worth. Prenups that cover alimony payments are usually thrown out, and the alimony amount is decided by the court. Even a prenup that is in effect can still result in a person losing a significant amount of money. It just depends on a given state’s laws on the matter, though.

  • None of these divorces or monetary figures really come as a surprise. People lose a vast amount of their total net worth due to divorces all the time. Splitting up assets or payment of alimony can cost a person a lot of money, sometimes more than 50% of their overall worth. Most people try to avoid this consequence, but divorces often turn bitter when money is involved.

  • Yeesh that is crazy amounts of money. I know one of my uncles was divorced back in the late 90s and his woman tried to take the house and everything since he owned his own business. I could never imagine going through such crazyness myself.

    • That’s the thing that I just can’t reconcile with. Some of the people, specifically the world class athletes like Jordan and Tiger Woods made all of that money by being the best at their craft. That takes skill and hard work. Nobody can dispute that they EARNED that money, regardless of whether or not their douchebags personally. To take away HALF of a man’s hard earned cash is just crazy. Is not that these women were already rich to begin with either. What kind of message does this convey to young women? ‘Just put up with a rich guy until he screws up once and then you can take HALF!’ Do these women even have skills?

      Rant aside, obviously I wasn’t talking about the power couples like Madonna/Ritchie or Schwartszenegger/Shriver.

  • Those are figures that I have not yet made in my life. Such a huge amount, I cannot yet fathom the damage to the pockets after the divorce. Anyway, divorce is not legal in my country. I think we are the only Catholic country that has no divorce law. Annulment yes, but the percentage of the income is not really calculated. Not the 50% rule or so.

    It is a shame though. Seeing high exposure couples and then later on divorcing.

  • wow! thats alot of money. That is crazy. I just couldnt imagine being the one having to dish out all that cash. I could imagine receiving it. LOL!!

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