Top 10 Largest Celebrity Divorce Settlements

Top 10 Largest Celebrity Divorce Settlements

Or, Why It’s Important to Sign a Prenuptial Agreement

Oh, celebrities…we love to watch as their relationships blossom.  Some couples even end up with a unified name such as “TomKat” or “Bennifer” or “Kimye”.  It’s a familiar cycle; they fall in love, marry, have kids, and then have it all come crashing down in a disastrous divorce settlement, often plagued with scandal and deceit.

But what happens when these lovesick stars whose bank accounts equal the size of Texas, marry and do not sign a prenup?  They lose millions and millions in divorce pay-outs.  Fortunately for these high-rolling celebs, it’s a drop in the bucket.  But it’s got to hurt a little, right?

Why Sign a Prenuptial Agreement?

While a prenuptial agreement is the least romantic discussion on the table, it is a valuable contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or civil union that addresses division of assets and spousal support should a divorce occur. Although most celebs are advised to the contrary by their legal teams, they often have stars in their eyes and opt to not sign a prenup.  While some celebrity couples are in it for the long haul, history shows that’s usually not the case.  According to, here’s a list of the top 10 largest divorce settlements for celebrity couples.

10. In 2003, after 23 years of marriage to Diandra Douglas, Michael Douglas had to pony up $45 million dollars.  Hopefully he learned a lesson from this marriage as his second marriage to Catherine Zeta-Jones seems to be on the rocks.

9. After being advised by anyone from his own family to radio talk show host Howard Stern, Paul McCartney opted to not sign a prenup when he wed Heather Mills.  In 2006, after only 4 years of marriage, Mills walked away with $48.6 million.  Let’s do the math.  That’s $12,150,000 for each year of marriage…not bad.

8. Movie director James Cameron had to pay his wife of two years, Linda Hamilton, $50 million in a divorce settlement.  Ok, she beats Heather Mills.  That’s a cool $25 million for each year of marriage.

7. At the time of Madonna’s divorce to Guy Ritchie in 2008, it was considered one of the largest payouts ever in a divorce settlement.  Ha, we’re only talking $76 million.  Read on….

6. Kevin Costner’s divorce to Cindy Silva cost him a mere $80 million after 16 years of marriage.

5. Harrison Ford’s ex-wife hit the jackpot.  Not only did she receive $85 million after their 21-year marriage, she also received the rights to future royalties on two Star Wars movies and three Indiana Jones movies.

4. Director Steven Spielberg did have a prenup with his first wife, Amy Irving.  However, he still had to pay out a whopping $100 million after only 4 years of marriage!  Thank goodness he’s held on to Kate Capshaw!

3. We’re getting down to some real serious money now.  When Neil Diamond divorced his wife Marcia Murphy, he paid a reported $150 million dollars!

2. And the runner-up is…Michael Jordan!  The basketball legend had to pay his wife, Juanita, $168 million dollars in their 2006 divorce which was reported by both USA Today and Forbes magazine.  At the time, it was the largest divorce settlement in history.

1.  Drum roll please!  The winner of the largest divorce pay-out in history is…Tiger Woods!  Although the actual dollar amount has not been confirmed, it is reported that he had to pay Elin Nordegren anywhere from $200 to $500 million dollars. After Tiger’s discretions, let’s just say it is money well-deserved.

In closing, unless you are Steven Spielberg, a prenuptial agreement will protect one from having a massive pay-out in a divorce settlement.  Even if you are not a celebrity and have assets you’d like to protect, signing a prenup is a good idea prior to marriage.  If you are in the New York City or Long Island area and are interested in contacting a divorce lawyer for pre or postnuptial agreements, the legal services of Keil & Siegel can help.

Need help with a prenup or post-nup? Complete our intake form today to schedule a FREE consultation. We will respond promptly.

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