Divorces make headlines for different reasons. Sometimes it’s because the couples involved are famous. Or the proceedings are acrimonious. Or the causes for the split are especially salacious (“She caught him doing what?”).
Usually, though, a divorce becomes news because of money – specifically, the sums to be divided up in the breakup. The end of Bill and Melinda Gates’ 27-year marriage is the most recent case in point. Given that Gates was worth about $130 billion when the divorce was announced, and the couple lives in the community property state of Washington, an equal split of assets could make theirs one of the largest divorce settlements on record.
Let’s look at some of the most expensive divorces in history going by the official settlement amount paid by one spouse to another. So far, the recipient spouse has always been the wife, with one possible exception. Below given are the most expensive cases of the divorce settlement.
In the World-
1. Bill and Melinda Gates: $73 Billion
After 27 years of marriage. Court documents show the two had a private separation agreement in place, but not a prenuptial agreement — and since they shared so much of their professional life together, untangling their assets could be complicated. They have several properties, including a 66,000-square foot waterfront mansion in Medina, Washington, worth $130.88 million and a new $43 million home in Del Mar, California. Individually, Forbes estimated that Bill is worth $130.5 billion.
The couple runs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the most influential non-profit organisations in the world that spends $5bn annually on fighting poverty, disease and inequality around the world. Mrs Gates is estimated to be worth $73bn, making the divorce the most expensive in the world to date. They split their fortune equally.
2. Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott: $38 Billion
Considering Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was named the world’s richest man in June 2018, his 2019 divorce from his wife MacKenzie Scot of 25 years was expensive. Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest man with a net worth of $197bn, paid $38bn to settle the divorce with his wife of about 26 years.
Bezos announced he would retain 75 per cent of the company shares, while his former wife received a 4 per cent stake in Amazon.
3. Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein: $3.8bn
French-American businessman and art dealer Alec Wildenstein divorced his wife of 21 years, Jocelyn Wildenstein, in 1999.
The divorce proceedings resulted in Mrs Wildenstein being awarded $2.5bn and $100 million annually for the next 13 years, amounting to a total of $3.8bn.
4. Steve and Elaine Wynn: $1bn
Las Vegas casino bigwigs Steve and Elaine Wynn were married to each other twice – from 1963 to 1986 and from 1991 to 2010.
Their second divorce involved a settlement to Mrs Wynn of $1bn and included $741 million worth of stock in Wynn Resorts, the company they founded.
5. Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall: $975m
The divorce proceedings between oil magnate Harold Hamm and his wife Sue Ann Arnall were finalised in 2014, with Hamm writing her a $974.8 million cheque.
Arnall did not cash the cheque immediately and was involved in a court battle for a larger settlement, but ultimately deposited it in 2015. Hamm founded Continental Resources in 1967 and is now worth $8.69bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
6. Craig and Wendy McCaw: $460m
Cellular and Clearwire founder Craig McCaw separated from Wendy McCaw in 1998.
A few years before their divorce, Mr McCaw sold his company to AT&T for about $11.5bn, earning Mrs McCaw a $460m payout.
7. Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi: $874m
The late Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi paid his former wife a divorce settlement of $874 million in 1982. At the height of their affluence, the couple owned three planes, three yachts and 17 homes around the world.
8. Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovlev: $604m
Ending their marriage after 26 years, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and his wife Elena split in 2008.
Several years later, a Swiss court ordered Rybolovlev to pay his former wife a sum of $4.5bn. But after negotiations, the final payout was reduced to a little more than $600m.
Rybolovlev has a current net worth of $10.8bn.
9. Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv Mann: $1.7bn
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former journalist Anna Torv Mann were married for more than 30 years and had three children together. The couple agreed to separate in 1998.
The exact amount of the settlement varies but Torv Mann reportedly received $1.7bn – mostly in shares in News Corporation, Murdoch’s media and information services company.
Most expensive divorce settlements in India
1. Hrithik Roshan and Sussanne Khan
Hrithik and Sussanne gave everyone a shock when they announced their separation. The couple was married for 14 years and are parents of two sons. According to the reports Sussanne demanded Rs 400 crore as alimony and it was settled at Rs 380 crore.
2. Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh
Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh made headlines due to their age difference when they got married in 1991. After 13 years of marriage, the couple decided to part ways. In an interview, Saif Ali Khan revealed that he was asked to provide Rs. 5 crores as alimony to his wife. He also told that he will also be paying Rs 1 lakh every month until his son turns 18.
3. Karishma Kapoor and Sunjay Kapur
The married life of Karishma Kapoor and Sunjay Kapur had encountered problems since the start. The couple filed for divorce in the year 2014 and were legally separated in 2016. Reportedly, Karishma received Sunjay’s Khar house, and Rs 14 crore bonds in the name of kids which amount to Rs 10 lakh interest per month.
4. Malaika Arora and Arbaaz Khan
Malaika Arora and Arbaaz Khan’s separation came as a shock to many. The two got separated with mutual consent and ended their 17 years of marriage. According to the reports, Malaika demanded a 250 Cr. amount as alimony.