The world's most expensive divorces

Angela and Steve's battle for the toy house was a bitter, drawn-out affiar
"After a 32-year marriage, media mogul Murdoch and his second wife Anna Torv divorced in 1998, leaving Torv with an estimated $1.7bn"
  • | by Emily Bater

Saying "I do" is one of the biggest decisions you'll ever make.

And as the world's biggest divorce settlement is decided in Switzerland, we're reminded that it's sometimes the most expensive, too - or at least it was for these 10 celebrities and businessmen, whose split-ups were the most costly in history.

Some of the most memorable divorces didn't even get near the top 10 - Paul McCartney's nasty split from Heather Mills cost him a measly $48m, while Tiger Woods was left $100m out of pocket after details of his affairs were revealed.

If you're a media mogul, Russian oligarch or 1980s action icon, divorce comes at quite a price - but what's a few hundred million between exes, eh?

10. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

 Sad lady

The Kindergarten Cop and Jingle All the Way star and his wife have  have yet to finalise their divorce*, but it's thought that Shriver will receive a large portion of their $400m fortune - around $250m, if reports are to be believed.

Shriver filed for divorce in 2011 after her husband confessed to having an affair and lovechild with their maid.  

9. Roman Abramovich and Irina Maladina

It was speculated at the time that the settlement could have left Irina the world's richest divorcee*, but as the couple settled in Russia (where wives are entitled to less), she received a reported $300m of the Chelsea owner's fortune.

This included two homes, a private plane and a yacht, but was a drop in the ocean to the Chelsea owner, who's worth an estimated $14.2bn.

8. Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore

In the most expensive Hollywood divorce of all time, Moore divorced Gibson* after his 2006 arrest for drink driving.

The couple, who met while they both still lived in Australia and before Gibson found stardom, settled for a staggering $425m.

7. Craig McCaw and Wendy Petrak

The cable TV and mobile phone business magnate got divorced from university love Wendy in 1997 - she got $460m of his billions. In 2012 McCaw bought the most expensive car ever sold, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, for $350m.

6. Steve Wynn and Elaine Pascal

Sad couple

The Las Vegas casino billionaire and his wife married and divorced not once but twice, with Pascal eventually receiving $740m in stocks and shares in 2011 - which she now wants to sell*.

5. Adnan Khashoggi and Soraya Khashoggi

The Saudi Arabian businessman married the 20-year-old Soraya - formerly Sandra Daley from Leicester - in 1961 and they were married for 21 years.

In today's figures, their settlement of $850m would exceed $2bn.

4. Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone

Formula 1's diminutive president married the statuesque former model (28 years his junior) in 1984 and divorced 23 years later after having two children together.

At the time it was reported that she had pocketed around $1.2bn, but the Ecclestone divorce may be a bit more complex* than we were initially led to believe.

3. Rupert Murdoch, twice

After a 32-year marriage, media mogul Murdoch and his second wife Anna Torv divorced in 1998, leaving Torv with an estimated $1.7bn.

Murdoch married again just 17 days after his divorce was finalised, and 13 years later he repeated the split-up process*, giving third wife Wendi Deng an estimated $1.8bn.

2. Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein

Annoyed lady

When wife Jocelyn walked in on art heir Alec with his 19-year-old lover, she decided to call it a day, receiving $2.5bn at the divorce settlement, plus $100m a year for the next 13 years.

And the winner (or loser, depending on how you look at it) is…

1. Dmitry and Elena Rybolovlev

Thought to be the most expensive divorce in history*, Russian oligarch Rybolovlev has been ordered to pay his ex-wife $4.5bn.

Dmitry, the so-called 'fertiliser king' and owner of AC Monaco Football Club, was married to Elena for 24 years, and the couple have two daughters.

While this settlement isn't final - under Swiss law there can be two appeals to the decision - it's likely that Elena will walk away with a fair whack of her husband's fortune, which includes a Greek island once owned by Aristotle Onassis and properties in Florida, Hawaii, New York and Monaco.

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