Maintenance payments are not required, Melinda Gates is said to have already specified in her separation agreement. Not many celebrities do without that. We look back on some costly divorces in the past.
There is a stimulus-response model that comes off especially well for wealthy couples when they initiate their breakup. They say: love rusts, love costs. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (65) and his wife Melinda Gates (56) will have already dealt with it, the couple announced their imminent divorce on Twitter. After 27 years and “careful consideration”, the formerly richest person in the world and his wife end their marriage. They want to continue the work of the Gates Foundation, one of the most important aid organizations in the field of health care and development cooperation.
The couple previously lived on extensive lakefront property in Seattle, northwest Washington State, and have three children – Jenn, Rory and Phoebe, who are of legal age. According to the divorce papers, which, among other things, the US magazine “People” exist, the couple should not have a marriage contract. The assets are to be divided up on the basis of a separation agreement. Melinda Gates is likely to confirm in the paper that “maintenance payments are not required”. The couple are due to appear in court in April 2022, until then there is time to reallocate all possessions. Some prominent predecessors paved the way on this rocky path.
With calm through the storm
The multi-billionaire Jeff Benzos, who is also one of the richest people in the world, separated from his then wife MacKenzie Bezos in 2019 after 25 years of marriage and four children. The 50-year-old MacKenzie Scott is now remarried and says she has donated billions of her fortune. At the time of the divorce, their stake in Amazon was valued at around $ 36 billion.
With public praise, Jeff Benzos sealed the separation from his wife on Twitter in 2019. He probably had every reason to be grateful, because observers suggest that MacKenzie Bezos could have got a lot more. According to case law in the US state of Washington, where the couple had their main residence, half of the assets would have been granted to her – which was also an important topic in the financial markets.
In theory, it could have messed up the shareholder structure at the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon. MacKenzie Bezos acted the same with the public throughout the divorce drama as he had in the previous 25 years of marriage: reserved and calm.
The Russian oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev reached an agreement with his wife Elena in 2015 after a year-long war of divorce in which billions were at stake. A Geneva court had awarded the woman the gigantic sum of four billion francs (3.7 billion euros). According to her lawyers, this would have meant “the most expensive divorce in history”. An appeals court then cut the claim to still a proud 564.7 million francs.
The Russian billionaire Roman Abramowitsch is said to have paid his ex-wife Irina 300 million dollars (264 million euros) in 2007, according to the Moscow daily “Vedomosti”. The Austrian billionaire Martin Schlaff allegedly had his divorce from his wife Andrea cost 200 million euros.
Money or drama?
Billionaire Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West recently came to an agreement surprisingly quickly on custody of their children North (7), Saint (5), Chicago (3) and Psalm (2). No war is likely to break out over the fortune, estimated at around two billion dollars. A prenuptial agreement would have made things clear before the marriage, they say.
Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard didn’t break up very peacefully in the end. Heard received $ 7 million in severance payment. The allegations weighed heavily: domestic violence, explosive disputes. Depp then sued some media outlets who alleged he had physically abused his ex-wife. The process attracted worldwide attention in the past year. For weeks Depp and his ex-wife (“Zombieland”), who was 23 years his junior, painted the picture of a deeply destructive relationship. Another case is ongoing in the United States.
The divorce of the former Genesis star Phil Collins was the most expensive in the British show business to date, according to London media reports, with the equivalent of 32 million euros. The singer and drummer, who got rich with super hits like “Invisible Touch” and “Another Day in Paradise”, paid more than Paul McCartney for his third divorce.
With a severance payment of £ 24.3 million (around 32 million euros) to Heather Mills (for four years of marriage) Paul McCartney even got away much cheaper than many other celebrities.
American basketball star Michael “Air” Jordan is said to have paid his ex-wife around $ 168 million in severance pay. With this record amount, “Air” was once mentioned in the US business magazine “Forbes”.
Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving divorced in 1989. The director is said to have paid his wife between 90 and 100 million dollars after four years of marriage. She had successfully challenged the marriage contract. This was simply placed on a paper serviette.
The actor Harrison Ford paid his ex-wife Melissa Mathison a severance payment of $ 85 million, according to Forbes. Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva have been going separate ways since 1994. The separation from his college love after 16 years of marriage is said to have cost Costner around $ 80 million at the time.