With all the recent talk about how much Heather Mills stands to get in her divorce from Paul McCartney, we got to wondering what the other biggest divorce settlements were. There are a lot of lists out there, but we couldn’t find one as comprehensive as the one we’ve put together here.
It’s not surprising to discover that many of the marriages on this list were fairly long term (at least for Hollywood). In general, the longer the marriage, the larger the divorce settlement or award will be – for this group, at least. In the longer marriages, there was more time to accumulate marital wealth (also known as community property). For the shorter marriages on this list, the length of the marriage might not have made a big difference because it was the timing of the marriage that resulted in a big payout. If a celebrity has a few big hits at the box office or on the radio during a short coupling, the marital assets earned during that time could be substantial. For a great example of this, check out the Linda Hamilton/James Cameron divorce discussed below.
Now, we know a lot about celebrity divorces because of their high public profile and because of tabloid magazines and celebrity bloggers. But celebrities haven’t cornered the market on pricey divorces. Not by a long shot. In fact, these numbers put the Hollywood numbers to shame…
If we can learn anything from this list, it is this: time matters. The length of these wealthy marriages and the timing of the shorter marriages were key to the large settlements and awards. Most of the property distributions discussed here were probably a fairly equal split of the assets earned during the marriage. It’s all about what assets were accumulated during the marriage – whether the marriage was long or short. The divorce laws are the same for everyone. These folks just had a LOT more to account for and split than the rest of us!