As the song notes, "breaking up is hard to do"—especially if you're a celebrity. When there's millions (even billions!) on the line and a lot of media attention focused on the couple, things can get messy. This is particularly true when the couple got together without signing a prenuptial agreement that would include a plan to split assets in case of divorce. Often, these marriages took place before one member of the couple became a celebrity—and, in the absence of a prenup, the other member can be entitled to up to half of all assets.
It's important to note, here, that these are just the settlements we're aware of. Some of these are estimated (and weren't actually made public). Sometimes these settlements can include lucrative properties that aren't part of the lump sum, or pricey child support setups. Inflation can change the value of a settlement; $50 million in 1990, for example, is a lot more today. Either way, though, these dissolutions were très expensive, both for the time and now. And lots of them were très dramatic, too!
Below, 32 of the most expensive divorces in Hollywood history.
Slash and Perla Hudson
The musician Slash agreed to pay his ex-wife Perla Hudson over $6.5 million when they divorced in 2018—and, on top of that, $100,000 a month in spousal support and $39,000 a month in child support according to Page Six. It was the end of a long and drawn-out process, including accusations of bigamy(!).
Scooter Braun and Yael Cohen
When Scooter Braun's divorce was settled with Yael Cohen in 2021, according to People, the agreement included $20 million in spousal support and $60,000 per month in child support (they have three children together) as well as Cohen retaining some properties.
Kelsey and Camille Grammer
According to Entertainment Tonight, Camille Grammer defended her $30 million divorce settlement from actor Kelsey Grammer by saying, "Well, I was married for 13 years. That's a long time...I just felt that, you know, working, and I worked hard. I just didn't sit back, buying fancy clothes and shoving bonbons in my face. I mean, I worked hard."
Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin
The exact terms of the settlement between Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin (after a long, contentious divorce battle) is not known. But we do know that the legal bill alone cost $3 million. The two hadn't signed a prenuptial agreement, and it was a public and nasty split.
Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock
The divorce settlement between Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock included $1.3 million as well as $45,000 a month in child support. However, in 2023, according to People, Blackstock was ordered to pay Clarkson "$2,641,374 for unlawfully procuring deals as her manager that should've been handled by a talent agent."
Sandy Mahl and Garth Brooks
According to reports, Garth Brooks paid Sandy Mahl (who was a songwriter and reportedly influential in Brooks' early career; The two share three children) $125 million as a part of their divorce settlement. According to CBS News, this payment was "$9 million for each year the two were married."
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall
The famed musician and the famed model ended their relationship with an annulment (their wedding ceremony in Bali was ruled not valid under English law), and their settlement was in the millions—it was reported she was seeking 30 million pounds, and the payout was estimated to be somewhere around $20 million.
Lionel and Diane Richie
The divorce settlement between Lionel Richie and wife of seven years, Diane, reportedly cost $20 million. According to E! News, in her petition for alimony, "she reportedly claimed a monthly clothing allowance of $15,000 as well as a plastic surgery budget of $20,000 a year."
Johnny Carson and Joanna Holland
According to Page Six, Johnny Carson's divorce from Joanna Holland cost an estimated $20 million in cash and property. Carson, who was America's favorite TV show host, was married a total of four times, and his multiple unions were a running joke on his show and in interviews.
Ted Danson and Casey Coates
After a decade and a half together (and wedded before he became a star on the show Cheers), Ted Danson and second wife Casey Coates divorced for a reported settlement of $30 million in 1993. Adjusted for inflation, that would be over $60 million in modern money.
Kenny and Marianne Rogers
With a reported settlement of $60 million, the divorce between Kenny and Marianne Rogers was expensive for the time in 1993 (in case you're wondering, adjusted for inflation that would be over $125 million). Rogers was married four times, and was with Marianne for 16 years.
Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey
When Neil Diamond divorced his wife of 25 years, Marcia Murphey, he reportedly settled for $150 million in 1994. In modern money, that would be over $300 million. According to NBC San Diego, when asked about the divorce, Murphey said she was "worth every penny."
Dr. Dre and Nicole Young
According to TMZ, the divorce settlement between Dr. Dre and Nicole Young included $100 million—according to Rolling Stone, " more than one-fifth of the rap icon’s fortune and roughly half of his liquid assets." The two had gotten married in 1996 and were divorced in 2021.
Michael and Diandra Douglas
According to several reports, in the divorce between Michael Douglas and wife Diandra, she received more than $45 million (as well as their California home). They apparently used to share a Mallorca property, but in a rare interview Michael shared that he bought her share—and he's much happier at the property now.
Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
According to Reuters, Kevin Federline may have only received $1 million from his divorce from superstar Britney Spears, but the settlement also included $20,000 a month for child support. And that number increased, by Federline's request, in subsequent years (although changes in child support aren't entirely uncommon).
Adele and Simon Koneki
After entrepreneur Simon Koneki and singer Adele announced their separation in 2019, they divorced in 2021 (the terms of their divorce were made private, but the assets to be divided totaled $171 million—and there were reports, unverified, that he received a big sum in the split).
Phil Collins and Orianne Cevey
Phil Collins and Orianne (Cevey) Bates had a very acrimonious divorce. They originally split in 2006 with a $46.68 million payout (according to People). They reconciled in 2016, then split again in 2020. Eviction notices, accusations, and auctions of belongings ended with a judge dismissal in 2022.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles
After a long, public, drawn-out separation process, Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996. Diana asked for $75 million but only received $22.5 million. At the time, the New York Times reported that in addition to that lump sum, she received a yearly $600,000 stipend for business expenses.
Ewan McGregor and Eve Mavrakis
According to People, Ewan McGregor's split resulted in a settlement in which his ex Eve Mavrakis received $14,934 per month in child support and $35,868 per month in spousal support. Us Weekly also noted that they would split royalties for films including Star Wars—which could be quite a bit.
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
The Beatle settled with ex Heather Mills for $50 million, according to People, "and later called his marriage to Mills his biggest regret of the decade." Oof. The two were married from 2002 to 2008; McCartney met Nancy Shevell in 2007 (first spotted together mid-divorce) and married her in 2011.
James Cameron and Linda Hamilton
According to Forbes, when Linda Hamilton divorced from James Cameron in 1999 after a year and a half of marriage, she petitioned for half of what Cameron had made in the (incredibly successful movie) Titanic. She reportedly received $50 million; Cameron had earned in the ballpark of $100 million for the movie.
Kevin Costner and Cindy Costner
If you're thinking about Kevin Costner's tense divorce, you're probably remembering his second wife Christine (whom he divorced in 2023). His first wife, Cindy, received $80 million in their 1994 settlement; According to court documents, second wife Christine was only entitled to up to $1.5 million.
Madonna and Guy Ritchie
In 2008, one of the world's biggest power couples (Madonna and Guy Ritchie) divorced...expensively. Per Reuters, "Madonna has paid her ex-husband British director Guy Ritchie up to 60 million pounds ($92 million) to settle their divorce after eight years of marriage, her spokeswoman said."
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
It's not totally clear how much each of them was worth, but when Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow "consciously uncoupled" (a fancy word for divorced), they each got half of their $200 million fortune. This was never confirmed, obviously, and was reported originally by the Hindustan Times.
Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison
According to People, the divorce between Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison in 2004 was quite high-profile at the time (given that Ford was a superstar and the couple had been married for two decades). Mathison received $85 million in the divorce settlement, as reported by Forbes.
Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving
According to CBS News, Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving signed a pre-nup...on a napkin, so it was ruled to not be legally binding. Irving reportedly walked away with a settlement of $100 million in 1989 (adjusted for inflation, that would be in the realm of over $253 million in modern money).
Michael and Juanita Jordan
Michael Jordan and his wife separated in 2002 and then reconciled, only to divorce for good in 2006. According to People, Juanita (Vanoy) Jordan received a $168 million payout in the divorce. When her children were adults, she opened up a fashion business called Juanita World.
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
According to People, Elin Nordegren received $100 million in her divorce settlement with Tiger Woods. "Money doesn't make you happy, but I have to be honest: It is making some things easier," she said at the time. "I have the opportunity to be with my children as much I want, and I am able to travel to see my family and also have them come here as often as I like."
Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger
After a 25-year-long marriage (and revelations that Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with the family's housekeeper), Maria Shriver received an undisclosed amount in the settlement of their 2011 divorce. CNBC reports that the amount was estimated between $250 and $375 million.
Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore
According to ABC News, when Mel Gibson divorced wife Robyn Moore in 2011, she received $425 million (like other couples on this list, they did not have a prenuptial agreement). People reported that Moore "is entitled to half of any film residuals Gibson receives for the rest of his life."
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos
According to Bloomberg, Mackenzie Bezos received $38.3 billion worth of Amazon stock in her 2019 divorce from Jeff Bezos (which, adjusted for inflation, would be more than $4.5 billion). After the settlement, she was listed by Forbes as one of the wealthiest women in the United States.
Bill and Melinda Gates
While the exact settlement was not made public, it was estimated that Melinda French Gates may have received $76 billion in her 2021 divorce, given that at the time of the settlement, Bill Gates was worth $152 billion. Per Forbes, French Gates received "at least $6.3 billion worth of stock."