Some of the most ballyhooed celebrity unions have ended with eye-popping, multi-billion dollar divorce settlements paid by some of the world's richest people. Sometimes a split can mean millions in legal bills — and in at least some cases, A-listers have had to part with half their fortunes.
There are important lessons to learn from the failed marriages of the rich and famous — such as, say, not signing a prenuptial agreement on a napkin, as director Steven Spielberg reportedly did with his first marriage. The move ended up costing Spielberg a whopping $100 million that ex-wife Amy Irving walked away with as part of a divorce settlement.
Here are 50 pricey celebrity divorces.
Bill Gates has topped the list of richest people in the world for decades. As of 2022, Forbes estimated his net worth at more than $112 billion. The Microsoft co-founder's divorce from his partner of nearly 30 years, Melinda French Gates, was finalized in August of 2021.
While details on how the two divided their assets were not disclosed in court documents, French Gates reportedly walked away with more than $6 billion in stocks alone.
Divorce settlements can drag on and in some cases take years to settle.
British singer and songwriter Adele didn't finalize her divorce from charity entrepreneur Simon Koneki until 2021, after the two initially announced the split in 2019.
Cosmopolitan reports a Los Angeles court granted the star's request to keep terms of the $171 million divorce private.
In 2019, the divorce between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Scott, was finalized, with the mother of four walking away with a whopping $38.3 billion in Amazon stock.
The payout didn't seem to leave a significant dent on his net worth, which, at last look, was valued at more than $170 billion, ranking him as the world's second-richest person.
Actress Amber Heard took an unlikely approach with her $7 million divorce settlement from actor and Pirates of the Caribbean franchise star Johnny Depp.
When the divorce was finalized in 2017, the actress vowed to donate the entire settlement to charity. After Heard lost a high-profile defamation case to Depp, NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie asked why she never donated the millions as promised.
In August 2022, actor Sylvester Stallone's wife, Jennifer Flavin Stallone, filed for divorce from the "Rocky" star after 25 years of marriage. The former model is seeking complete ownership of their $35 million Florida home, Fox News reported. The news outlet added that Sylvester is worth $400 million.
"Sylvester was wealthy when they married, but amassed a fortune during their marriage," divorce attorney Christopher Melcher told Fox News. "If there is no premarital agreement, Jennifer should receive an enormous sum."
In 2021, rapper Dr. Dre finalized a $100 million divorce with his wife of 24 years, Nicole Young.
The Beats by Dr. Dre founder was ordered to pay Young two separate, $50 million transactions.
Young was expected to receive the first payment right after the divorce, with the second installment in 2022.
Rapper Kanye West and "Keeping up with the Kardashians" star Kim Kardashian had a combined $2.1 billion in assets at the time their high-profile divorce was announced in 2021, after seven years of marriage, Forbes reports.
West's wealth is estimated at $1.3 billion and Kardashian has a $780 million fortune, the magazine added. Together, the two shared a combined $70 million in joint assets, including luxurious homes.
Despite signing a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot in 2014, West and Kardashian were still, as of August 2022, disputing assets and custody.
While Google co-founder Sergey Brin's divorce from Nicole Shanahan was not yet finalized as of August 2022, the settlement was anticipated to be eye-popping.
Brin is worth $94 billion and ranks as the sixth richest person in the world. He filed for divorce in January after three years of marriage, People reported.
"All issues as to the property rights or obligations of the parties will be determined by confidential binding arbitration in accordance with a written agreement between the parties," according to court documents obtained by the magazine.
Self-proclaimed "Queen of Pop" Madonna was forced to fork over $92 million to her ex-husband and British film director Guy Ritchie after the two ended their marriage of eight years in 2008.
The money was awarded to Ritchie as part of the divorce settlement.
Along with divorce can come expensive child support obligations. Actor Tom Cruise will not have to pay child support for much longer.
After the Mission Impossible franchise star and "Dawson's Creek" actress Katie Holmes divorced in 2012, he was ordered to pay child support for daughter Suri in the amount of $400,000 a year over the course of 12 years, until she turns 18 in 2024. That amounts to $4.8 million.
In early August 2022, Judith Giuliani, ex-wife of Trump lawyer Rudy, filed a lawsuit claiming he failed to pay her $260,000 as part of their divorce settlement, People reported.
Rudy divorced his wife after 15 years of marriage in 2019.
At the time the lawsuit was announced, Judith's lawyer, Dror Bikel, told People the move "is not out of any sort of bad feeling other than he just needs to meet his obligations and what he agreed to do."
Mel Gibson's divorce from former dental nurse Robyn Denise Moore cost "The Passion of the Christ" star half his fortune.
Citing sources, ABC News reports Gibson's net worth was valued at $850 million prior to the divorce, and he had $425 million less after it was finalized in 2011.
The two were married for 31 years and share seven children together.
Dubai royals are known for extravagant lifestyles and multi-billion dollar fortunes.
In 2021, a United Kingdom court ordered Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, to pay his ex-wife, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, and their daughter and son more than $554 million British pounds, the equivalent of $733 million, Forbes reports.
An attorney representing Haya revealed legal fees for the divorce cost a staggering $92 million, Forbes added.
NBA legend Michael Jordan's 2006 split with wife and former model Juanita Vanoy may top the list of most expensive celebrity divorces.
The Chicago Bulls star paid Vanoy a staggering $168 million divorce settlement and $2.1 million in legal fees after the 17-year marriage.
Pop sensation Britney Spears was ordered to pay $20,000 a month in child support to her ex-husband and former back-up dancer Kevin Federline for their two sons, Sean and Jayden.
The "Baby One More Time" singer was married to Federline from 2004 to 2007.
Federline will lose the monthly child support payments in two years as the kids approach 18. He reportedly received $1 million as part of their divorce settlement.
The separation between golf legend Tiger Woods and Swedish former model Elin Nordegren came with a lucrative divorce settlement.
Nordegren reportedly walked away with $100 million after the divorce was finalized in 2010.
Beatle Paul McCartney and his ex-wife, former model Heather Mills, were married from 2002 to 2008 before calling it quits.
Mills didn't get exactly what she wanted in the divorce settlement. She initially asked for a $250 million and was awarded $48.6 million instead, according to CNN. The two share daughter Beatrice McCartney together.
"I'm so glad it's over and it was an incredible result, in the end, to secure my and my daughter's future, and that of all the charities that I obviously plan on helping," said Mills per the outlet at the time.
Former "Today" host Matt Lauer and wife Annette Roque divorced after his firing from the show, an incident sparked by serious allegations of sexual misconduct.
Roque filed for the divorce that was finalized in 2019 after the 20-year marriage. She walked away with $20 million, the equivalent of $1 million for each year they stayed married.
The divorce between country music star Garth Brooks and songwriter Sandy Mahl cost the singer nearly $9 million for each year the two were married.
The divorce was finalized in December of 2001 after 15 years of marriage. As part of the divorce settlement Brooks reportedly paid Mahl $125 million. The two share three daughters together.
"Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Camille Meyer made headlines after defending her $30 million divorce settlement with ex-husband and "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer.
"I just felt that, you know, working and I worked hard," Meyer said in 2019 during the season 9 "RHOBH" reunion. "I just didn't sit back, buying fancy clothes and shoving bonbons in my face. I mean, I worked hard."
There is a lot to learn from the marriage between acclaimed film director Steven Spielberg and his first wife Amy Irving.
Before tying the knot, the two reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement on a napkin. Irving later argued the document was not valid because she was never represented by an attorney.
Her legal argument proved to be sound, and she was eventually awarded $100 million after the divorce. The marriage spanned between 1985 to 1989.
Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock's divorce was finalized in 2022.
Vanity Fair reports Clarkson was ordered to pay a $1.3 million divorce settlement. Under terms of the agreement, the "Kelly Clarkson Show" host was also ordered to pay more than $45,000 in child support for their two children each month.
The two were married from 2013 to 2021.
The marriage between Jennifer Lopez and former backup dancer Cris Judd lasted less than a year and reportedly cost the actress and singer $14 million after the two divorced in 2003.
It marked the second of the famous actress and singer's four marriages. This year the "If You Had My Love" singer rekindled an old flame when she tied the knot with actor Ben Affleck.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie once made up of Hollywood's most recognizable couples.
They two decided to call it quits in 2016, and in 2018, Jolie accused Pitt of not fulfilling his child support obligations.
According to documents obtained by CNN, an attorney for Pitt rebuked the claims, stating he had given the "Maleficent" star $1.3 million in "bills" for her and the children since the split, and loaned Jolie $8 million to buy a home.
The payout by Harrison Ford following his 18-year marriage with screenwriter Melissa Mathison is among the largest known in the entertainment industry.
The divorce settlement, finalized in 2004, was reportedly $85 million.
The marriage between "Titanic" director James Cameron and Terminator franchise star Linda Hamilton was short-lived, spanning only a year and a half.
Cameron reportedly earned upwards of $100 million from the iconic American classic that generated $1.8 billion in revenue.
The divorce reportedly cut his earnings from the film in half after Hamilton was awarded $50 million as part of the 1999 divorce.
In some cases, the wedding itself proves to be more expensive than the divorce.
NBA star Chris Humphries and Kim Kardashian's marriage gained notoriety for only lasting 72 days.
While the two two signed a prenuptial agreement, millions were still lost. The elaborate and highly publicized 2011 wedding cost $10 million.
Actor and film director Kevin Costner's 16-year marriage to former actress Cindy Silva ended with an expensive divorce settlement.
The two-time Oscar winner reportedly paid a $80 million settlement after they divorced in 1994.
Throughout their 26-year marriage, country music sensation Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock seemed like the perfect pair.
After their divorce was finalized in 2015, she was ordered to pay a $47.5 million divorce settlement
The marriage between late Princess Diana and Charles, Prince of Wales, was plagued by heartache and scandals.
The highly publicized union ended with Princess Diana being awarded a $25 million settlement.
She died in a car accident one year later, along with Egyptian filmmaker Dodi Al Fayed. The two were reportedly engaged at the time.
Dwyane Wade's marriage to his high-school sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches, ended with the Miami Heat star paying a $5 million divorce settlement.
He also reportedly came close to logging $10 million in legal fees. They were married from 2002 to 2010 and share two sons together.
The televised, troubled marriage between entrepreneur David Beador and "Real Housewives of Orange County" star Shannon Beador seemed doomed from the start.
After the two finally decided to call it quits, Beador received $1.4 million as part of a divorce settlement finalized in 2019.
On top of the payment, David was ordered to pay a combined $10,000 a month in child and spousal support for 10 consecutive years each month beginning May of 2019. The two were married for 19 years and share three daughters.
When Donald Trump divorced Ivana Trump, a nuptial agreement limited the amount she could get out of the divorce.
The agreement put a $25 million cap on how much his first wife could collect, People reported.
In addition to the hefty payment, she also received time at Trump's famous Mar-a-Lago Florida resort, child and spousal support and a Connecticut mansion, the magazine added.
The Guardian reported that media mogul and billionaire Rupert Murdoch and his fourth wife, Jerry Hall, finalized their divorce settlement in August 2022.
Hall will reportedly receive a multi-million-pound settlement. Under terms of the settlement, the former model will get a Georgian country home and another estate in the south of France. Murdoch is worth $19 billion.
Rapper Wiz Khalifa and model Amber Rose were seen partying together at a strip club the night before their divorce settlement was finalized in June of 2016.
"Too much fun with my ex hubby last night & no we didn't celebrate our divorce we celebrated our love 4 each other cuz that never goes away," the model tweeted at the time.
The same month E! News reported Rose would receive $1 million in addition to $14,800 each month in child support for their son.
The divorce settlement between Kennedy family heiress Maria Shriver and former California governor and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger was estimated to be between $250 million and $375 million, CNBC reports.
The two were married for 25 years before Shriver filed for divorce in 2011, after learning Schwarzenegger had a child with his housekeeper Mildred Baena.
CNBC added the two didn't have a prenuptial agreement, leaving Schwarzenegger to pay Shriver the millions.
Businessman Frank McCourt and his ex-wife Jamie McCourt spent a fortune on divorce legal bills.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the two amassed more than $20.6 million in legal bills around the time of their 2011 settlement. Jamie, the former ambassador to France and Monaco, received $130 million.
As a couple, the two owned the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium. The 30-year marriage reportedly ended after she was fired as Dodgers CEO by Frank.
Some requests in alimony petitions are not centered around assets. Musician Lionel Richie's ex-wife, Diane Alexander, reportedly claimed she spent $15,000 a month on clothes and $20,000 annually on plastic surgery.
In the end, things worked out in the former fashion designer's favor, and she walked away with $20 million after the seven-year marriage that ended in 2003. The two share two children together.
While late singer Michael Jackson's marriage to dermatology assistant Debbie Rowe was short-lived, it proved to be a costly affair.
Rowe, the mother of two of Jackson's children, Prince and Paris, walked away with $8.5 million from the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" in 2000, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hulk Hogan lost a fortune to ex-wife Linda Marie Claridge.
The two share two children and ended their marriage in 2009. Claridge reportedly walked away with a settlement agreement valued at more than $30 million.
The marriage that spanned over two decades ended after reports surfaced of Hogan's affair with his daughter's, friend Christiane Plante.
When Janet Jackson's husband, Rene Elizondo Jr., filed for divorce, things didn't exactly work out the way he had hoped financially.
He reportedly sued the music star for $25 million. In the end the Mexican music video director walked away with only $15 million after 9 years of marriage that ended in 2000.
Country music star Kenny Rogers was married five times. The divorce from his fourth wife, Marianne Gordon, is the most noteworthy.
After the former couple's divorce was finalized in 1993, Rogers was ordered to pay a $60 million divorce settlement, according to E! News. Gordon and Rogers share a child together and were married for 16 years.
"Mummy" star Brendan Fraser took on major-child support obligations after his split from ex-wife Afton Smith.
The two were married from 1998 to 2008 and by 2009 Fraser started paying $900,000 a year in child support for their three children.
Shortly after in 2013, Fraser took legal action to get the child support reduced, arguing that he could no longer afford it.
Surprisingly, not all celebrities have the money to pay the hefty fees that come along with divorce.
When five-time NBA champion Dennis Rodman divorced Michelle Moyer in 2012, it wasn't long before he was dragged back in court, accused of not fulfilling child support obligations.
Rodman was reportedly unable to pay $800,000 in child support for the couple's two children.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's marriage to Anna Maria Mann certainly ranks among the most expensive celebrity divorces.
The two were married for 32 years and had three children together. When they split in 1999, Anna walked away with a staggering $1.7 billion in assets and $110 million was awarded in cash, CNBC reports.
It didn't take long before the business tycoon found love again. Within 17 days after the divorce, he married his now third ex-wife, Wendi Deng.
Singer and songwriter Neil Diamond is another celebrity who lost half of his fortune in a divorce battle.
Insider reports the "Sweet Caroline" singer paid a $150 million divorce settlement after his 25-year marriage to Marcia Murphey.
Former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong and Kristin Richard parted ways in 2003, which is the same year he started a romance with singer Sheryl Crow.
The divorce reportedly cost the athlete a whopping $14 million, according to the 2005 book Lance Armstrong's War.
Famous pro boxer Mike Tyson and actress Robin Givens had one of the most costly known divorces in the sports industry, according to CNBC.
Tyson, who is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, reportedly paid a $10 million divorce settlement after the one-year marriage ended.
"Good Morning America" host and former New York Giants star Michael Strahan's divorce from Jean Muggli cost him a whopping $15.3 million, ESPN reported.
The two were married from 1999 to 2006 and share two daughters.
The marriage between Oscar winner Michael Douglas and Diandra Luker proved to be a costly affair.
According to E! News, Douglas paid a $45 million divorce settlement after the marriage ended in 2000. The two share a son together.