More often than not, couples are finding themselves in an increasingly more demanding divorce than ever before. Particular strain is placed on the couple’s net worth, which is a large playing factor in most divorce settlements. But legal obligations such as prenuptial agreements and the circumstances of the separation are also taken into consideration. For this reason, numerous couples cannot afford a divorce, although some of the world’s wealthiest men and women have been left bankrupt by such a financial battle. So, what were some of the biggest divorces in recent history, and what exactly was the final price paid?

1. Ruport and Anna Murdoch (CNBC)
Settlement Amount: $1.7 billion
Yet to be topped, the Murdoch settlement is the most expensive divorce ever to have occurred. Ruport Murdoch, an Australian media tycoon, separated from his wife of 32 years and three children in 1999. Less than 17 days afterward, he married Wendi Deng, 38 years his junior. Ruport’s ex-wife Anna wed William Mann several months after the Murdoch divorce.

2. Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone (CNBC)
Settlement Amount: $1.2 billion
The Ecclestone divorce may not have attracted the attention of the public, but according to experts, it was initially thought to be one of the most expensive in history. The divorce settlement between billionaire Bernie Ecclestone and his wife Slavica was estimated to exceed $4 billion. However, the final price paid amounted to around $1.2 billion. Since their hefty separation, former Armani model Slavica has been spending her wealth lavishly.

3. Mel and Robyn Gibson (Ask Men)
Settlement Amount: $425 million
While the Ecclestone divorce did not attract the media, everyone knew about the Gibson divorce. Possibly one of the largest celebrity divorces of all time, Mel Gibson generously gave his wife of 31 years, Robyn, over half of his $850 million fortune. Two years after being filed, the divorce was finalized in December 2011, following the scandalous snapshots of Mel Gibson being spotted with Oksana Grigorieva, a Russian singer-songwriter.

Afterwards, Robyn was entitled to any future residuals from Gibson’s films in addition to Gibson’s $425 million. Soon after his financial loss, his relationship with Oksana also turned sour. Their breakup was highly publicized, including recorded phone conversations and restraining orders. As a result of their separation, Mel Gibson was ordered to pay child support up to $750,000 in addition to a multi-million dollar settlement.

4. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver (Ask Men)
Settlement Amount: $250 – $375 million
The Schwarzenegger divorce also grabbed the attention of the public and media when Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria, separated after it was exposed that he had fathered a child with one of their household staff. Under California law, Schwarzenegger was required to hand over half of his fortune, although he indicated that he was more than willing to hand over even more to demonstrate he was responsible for his actions.

5. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving (Ask Men)
Settlement Amount: $100 Million
After meeting in 1976 in the movie Carrie, Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving wed in 1985 and became one of Hollywood’s prominent couples. But in 1989, they parted ways harmoniously. Steven Spielberg generously gave Amy, mother of their son Max, $100 million, which exceeded what he was required to give.

With this kind of money at stake, it is apparent that prenuptial agreements are a necessary safeguard for those thinking of the worst circumstances.


This piece was contributed by Paul Nickerson, a freelance writer based in the greater metropolitan area of Seattle. Though discussing celebrity divorces can often by entertaining, divorce in general is a painfully complex and difficult subject; for those who needs assistance in this area contact Lewisville divorce lawyer.