Love hurts. It’s a cliché. And here’s another cliché: celebrity divorce. But just like songs about how “love hurts,” the public can’t seem to quit stories about the rich and famous couples who just couldn’t work things out. Celebrities, like “normal” people, can discover that—gasp!—their once-happy marriages have crumbled around them. From tabloid battles to broken vows and big court payouts, please indulge in these 42 scandalous facts about celebrity divorces.
42. Two Strikes, You’re Out
Few Hollywood “love stories” match the drama of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Married to other people when they hooked up while shooting Cleopatra, the couple themselves would marry and divorce each other twice. They first got hitched in 1964, but divorced in 1974 after Burton had an affair with a young co-star. However, the two realized they were still in love after a meeting about their financial affairs, and married again 1975… before they divorced for the second (and last) time in 1976 due to Burton’s wandering eye (again).
41. Not My Baby, Baby
Sheri Shepherd’s divorce from Lamar Sally set legal precedents for the modern age of fertility. The former co-host of The View split from her husband just a few months before they were set to welcome a child via surrogate mother. Shepherd renounced maternity of the child and claimed that Sally’s plan had always been to divorce her and seek child support. If that’s true, that’s got to be one of the most underhanded plans there is, but regardless, the nasty battle ended with a settlement in which Shepherd pays $4,100/month in child support for Sally and his son.
40. Married to the Job (and Eventually Someone Else)
James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) might have sunk another romance—his own. His fourth wife, Linda Hamilton, once said “The Titanic was the mistress he left me for.” The Terminator star described every year she was married to the director as “terrible on every level,” as Cameron was consumed by work with his cinematic leviathan. In 1999, she walked away with a $50 million settlement (one of the biggest in Hollywood history at the time) and Cameron quickly married his actual, human mistress—Titanic actress Suzy Amis. Amis would be his fifth wife, but this one seems to have stuck—they’ve been married since 2000.
39. California, Here She Comes
In 2016, Deadpool and Gotham star Morena Baccarin finalized her divorce from American film producer and director Austin Chick, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Just one month after their separation, Baccarin declared her plans to marry her Gotham co-star, Ben McKenzie. Chick claimed that he came home one day to get his things and found the former The OC star there, playing with Chick and Baccarin’s kids while obviously fresh from a shower. Baccarin and McKenzie married in 2017 and have one daughter together.
38. Broken Hearts & Banks
When musician Phil Collins split with Jill Tavelman in 1996, he paid £17 million in divorce settlements. When he divorced Orianne Cevey in 2008, he had to shell out even more, £25 million to be exact (I wonder how Tavelman felt about that?). As of date, the actor has no intention to marry again—but he has recently rekindled his romance with Cevey . We’re sure his bank account is shuddering in anticipation.
37. Spousal Scuffles
Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger divorced in 2002, but the custody battle for their daughter Ireland ensued for years after. It culminated in an infamous voicemail where Baldwin called Ireland—who was 11 years old at the time—a “rude, thoughtless pig.” By 2008, this divorce had left hundreds of legal documents, 91 court proceedings, and approximately $3 million in legal costs. Fourteen years later, in 2016, Basinger evaluated things between her and her ex as “cool now.” Thank goodness for that.
36. When Life Leaves Your Marriage, Make Music
Marvin Gaye was not in great financial shape at the time of his divorce from Anna Gordy, so his lawyer negotiated a compromise in which half the royalties from Gaye’s next album would go to Gordy. A great album and title were born: Here, My Dear (1978).
35. Royal Bounty
Princess Diana Spencer lost the right be called “Her Royal Highness” after her split from Charles, Prince of Wales. She did, however, walk away with a royal $22.5 million settlement, the right to live in Kensington Palace, and her royal jewels. Pretty good, if you ask me.
34. Strong Words
The 2006 divorce between David Hasselhoff and Barbara Bach was famously ugly. However, the Baywatch star slow-motion walked away with at least two important properties: his right to his nickname, “the Hoff,” and its related catchphrase, “Don’t Hassle the Hoff.” What a steal.
33. The Quarter-Day Marriage
For a sweet total of six hours, the famous Italian actor Rudolph Valentino (nicknamed “the Latin Lover”) enjoyed marriage with American actress, Jean Acker. She immediately regretted the decision and proceeded to lock Valentina out of their honeymoon suite. After 20 minutes of knocking on the door, he simply gave up and went home. In the divorce proceedings, Acker would claim they never consummated the union. I guess they wouldn’t have had time!
32. Blink and You’ll Miss It
It seems like yesterday that Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries spent $10 million on a four-hour E! television special to get married. With that kind of investment, you’d think it would last more than ten weeks. It didn’t, of course.
31. Unlucky in Love and Everything Else
Drew Barrymore and comedian Tom Green were married for five whole months in 2001. It couldn’t have been a great time for either; in that timespan, he managed to get diagnosed with testicular cancer, and she had her home destroyed in a fire. Bad omens, maybe?
30. $uperstar $eparations
Madonna and director Guy Ritchie’s eight-year marriage came to an end in 2008. The Material Girl paid Ritchie a $92 million settlement—one of the biggest divorce payouts in Hollywood history. Also, Madonna’s lawyers accused Ritchie of being verbally abusive, calling her a “granny,” while Ritchie’s lawyers accused Madonna of being emotionally controlling, rarely allowing her husband to eat meat or host friends at home. Maybe it’s not a tragedy the two split.
29. Truly the End of An Era
After years of partnership and six kids, Brangelina’s 2016 divorce filings came as a shock to everyone. In Jolie’s filing, she claimed that she didn’t agree with Pitt’s parenting methods. The paper also cited an altercation on a flight from Paris to LA involving their son Maddox, and claimed that Pitt’s anger and addiction problems had become too much to bear.
Hollywood darlings Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid were married for ten years—until Ryan started up an affair with her Proof of Life co-star, Russell Crowe, that is. She’s since claimed that Quaid committed his own fair share of adultery throughout their marriage, but it’s an accusation he denies.
27. C’mon and Slam, and Welcome to the… Alimony
The first time Michael Jordan and his wife Juanita Vanoy filed for divorce in 2002, they decided to reconcile. The second time, in 2006, they did not, and it cost him: the NBA legend paid Vanoy a hefty settlement of $168 million. I wonder how many Jordans it took to pay that off?
26. Jon & Kate Plus 8 Minus Jon
Remember Jon & Kate Plus 8? At the height of the show’s popularity, Jon and Kate Gosselin—the parent stars of the TLC reality show—had a very real, very public split in 2009. Despite TLC’s efforts to keep them together, Jon tried to quit the show on “moral grounds” and accused the show of siding with Kate. In 2016, he told Entertainment Tonight that he hasn’t seen all of his eight kids together in three years.
25. Two Times the Trouble
Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva were only married for two years. Nevertheless, those two years cost Costner a hefty $80 million divorce settlement. Another way of putting it, Silva got paid $40 million per year to put up with Costner. Doesn’t sound like that bad of a job to me.
24. Peculiar Parting Gifts
Money can’t mend a broken heart, but it helps if you throw in a home, a Toyota Highlander, and a lock of Bob Dylan’s hair. These cool items (and an also nifty $5 million) were part of the divorce settlement from Black Keys singer Dan Auerbach to his ex-wife Stephanie.
23. Wipe Your Tears with These
When director Steven Spielberg married Amy Irvine in 1984, he allegedly wrote out their prenuptial agreement on a cocktail napkin. Five years later, when the couple decided to split, this impromptu contract—shockingly, I know—did not hold up in court! The actress walked away with $100 million.
22. Let’s Play Pretend
Irish actor Colin Farrell allegedly hitched himself to British singer-songwriter Amelia Warner in Tahiti back in 2001—and then split up the same year. According to Farrell, the marriage was never legal and “just a thing [they] did on a holiday.” Farrell has a tattoo of Warner’s name around his ring finger. That could be hard to explain in future relationships.
21. She Terminated Him
After Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governator himself, admitted to fathering a child with their housekeeper, his now ex-wife Maria Shriver walked away from the marriage with a big bad $250 million settlement. I’m guessing she didn’t leave saying “I’ll be back.”
20. Every End is A Beginning
Married for 50 years, Hollywood legends Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward served as a model for the celebrity marriage, but few people remember how their romance began with adultery. They initially met in 1953 and reconnected on another film set in 1957. At that point, Newman had been married to Jackie Witte since 1949—and they even had three kids! Nevertheless, Newman and Woodward began an affair, with him claiming to be drawn to her “modern and independent” nature. Eventually, Newman came clean and begged Witte for a divorce. Witte initially begged to stay together for the kids, but she relented and granted Newman the split after finding out that Woodward was pregnant. Not the classiest move there, Paul.
19. This Gold Goose Cuts Herself Loose
Sonny and Cher rose to fame as a musical duo, but things fell apart when their careers floundered. Cher filed for divorce in 1974, citing “involuntary servitude.” According to her, Sonny had withheld money from her and treated her “more like a golden goose than a wife.”
18. Wandering Eyes Settle Down
Acting legend Humphrey Bogart’s marriage to Mayo Methot was always fraught with drama; the tabloids had even dubbed them “the Battling Bogarts” (Methot once stabbed Bogart in the shoulder, but Warner Brothers suppressed the scandal). But when Methot caught word of her husband’s on-set affair with a woman young enough to be their daughter—the 19-year-old Lauren Bacall—she came to the set of The Big Sleep to keep an eye on them. Not liking what she saw, Methot apparently sent Bogart packing (although some say he initiated the divorce). Soon after, Bogart wed Bacall, and the pair remained together (in an open marriage) until his death in 1957.
17. Let’s Go Shopping
Khloe Kardashian’s prenuptial agreement with Lamar Odom reportedly entitles the reality star to $500,000 for every year they were married. She also gets $25,000/month in support, a new car at the end of each lease cycle, $5,000 for shopping, $1,000 for beauty care, and courtside seats at Lakers games. That all seems pretty crazy, when you think about Kardashian and Odom’s respective incomes since their divorce was finalized in 2012.
16. Charitable Statement
After only 15 months of marriage, 30-year-old actress Amber Heard divorced the 53-year-old Johnny Depp, citing verbal and physical abuse. The two reached a settlement wherein Heard would receive a one-time $7 million payment—which she promptly donated to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union. Someone acting like a good person in a divorce? This is unheard of!
15. Under Par Matrimony
Discovery of Tiger Wood’s many affairs began in 2010, when the golf legend crashed his SUV into a tree. His soon-to-be-ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, reportedly went through his phone and called the woman he was sleeping with. Waking Woods up to confront him, she reportedly began hitting him with her fists before chasing him into his car and out onto the streets with a golf club! After the dust settled, Elin walked away with a reported $100 million for ex-husband’s indiscretions.
14. Trail by Contract
Terrence Howard, star of Empire, had been married to Michelle Ghent for only 13 months when she filed for divorce. According to Ghent, Howard expressed possessive behavior; some texts were permitted as evidence, one from Howard declaring, “I will never allow a restraining order or anything to keep me from my wife.” In turn, Howard accused Ghent of blackmailing him to get spousal support. A judge overturned their divorce settlement in 2015, claiming that Howard had signed it under duress. Ya, blackmail will do that to ya.
13. Til Countersuit Do Us Part
The marriage of musical icon Liza Minnelli to David Gest didn’t just end in divorce—it ended in lawsuits! Gest sued Minnelli for $10 million, claiming she drunkenly assaulted him, at one point resulting in a five-day hospital stay and nerve damage. Minnelli countersued and accused Gest of stealing $2 million from her. In the end, they dropped the suits and settled the divorce in 2007. Is that considered a happy ending? I can’t tell.
12. Musical Disharmony
Paul McCartney didn’t have a prenup when he married Heather Mills. As a result, the former Beatle had to pay his wife $48.6 million in the divorce. The singer later called the marriage one of his worst decisions ever.
11. RIP Two Marriages and a News Site
In 2012, the news website Gawker published less than a minute of a tape involving Hulk Hogan having sex with his best friend’s wife. At the time, he was still married to his own wife of 25 years, Linda Hogan. Linda filed for divorce soon after, and Hulk Hogan sued the website for $31 million, effectively sending it into bankruptcy. Something about the fact that Hogan got $31 million out of sleeping with his best friend’s wife, while married himself, just doesn’t sit right with me.
10. His Filmography, Her Bank Account
Mel Gibson and his wife Robyn were married for almost three decades and had seven kids together. As Mel’s mental health destabilized, evidenced by his drunken anti-Semitic rants, Robyn filed for divorce in 2007 (can’t blame ya there, Robyn). As part of their settlement, Robyn received more than $425 million. On top of that sweet plum, she also gets half of the residuals on all the projects that he worked on during their marriage.
9. No Happy Endings
Robin Williams met his wife, Marsha Garces, when she worked as a nanny for the actor’s children in 1989. Although they were married for 19 years, Williams relapsed into drinking, and they divorced “amicably” in 2010. This, sadly, was a sign of things to come—Williams never managed to get sober and he committed suicide on August 11, 2014.
8. Waiting Periods Are Out
It came as a shock to all when Project Runway host Heidi Klum and singer Seal split up in 2012. Klum accused Seal of having anger issues, and Seal accused Klum of conducting an affair with her bodyguard, Martin Kristen. Although Klum insisted they didn’t start dating until the couple had separated, this fact was probably cold comfort to Seal.
7. Four Degrees of Separation
Debbie Reynolds recalled the moment, decades ago, when she figured out that her husband, Eddie Fisher, was having an affair with Reynolds’ best friend, Elizabeth Taylor. Reynolds called Fisher’s room, and when he wasn’t there, she tried calling Taylor’s. When Fisher answered, she heard Taylor’s voice in the back, and asked her soon-to-be-ex-husband, “Would you just roll over and put Elizabeth on the phone?” (Fisher would marry Taylor in 1959…until she later divorced him to be with Richard Burton.)
6. Safety Papers
When Britney Spears married dancer Kevin Federline, she initially didn’t want a prenup. Don’t panic though! Spears’s family was money-conscious and pressured her into drawing one up (thank God). It came in handy: when the couple broke up in 2006, Federline reportedly walked away with only $1 million.
5. Get In, Get Out, Stay Safe
When Katie Holmes divorced Tom Cruise after five years of marriage, she had reason to fear for her life. The Church of Scientology, to which Cruise is devoted, is known for treating defectors with harassment, intimidation, and threats of bodily harm. Holmes immediately went into hiding when the news broke. She was eventually granted full physical custody of their daughter, Suri, and the matter was resolved in 11 days. Fortunately, Holmes’s father, a lawyer, had convinced her to sign a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. Good call, Pops.
4. Endless, Problematic Love
Divorce was only a punctuation mark in the long, complicated story of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s relationship. They had been married for only nine months when Monroe announced that she was divorcing DiMaggio on the grounds of “mental cruelty” and his possessive behavior. DiMaggio didn’t take it well; he would show up to her house at random to see if she was with new men, and he enlisted his friend, none other than the also recently divorced Frank Sinatra, to have Monroe’s phone bugged (the “possessive” part is ringing true). Even when his harassment abated, DiMaggio never got over Monroe—when she overdosed in 1962, he took charge of the funeral plans and sent flowers to her grave twice a week, every week, until he himself died in 1999. DiMaggio’s last words were reportedly, “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.” Like sure, that’s romantic, but does that make up for the other stuff?
3. Squeezing Him Out
Denise Richards reportedly emailed her divorce lawyer to insist she get some of Charlie Sheen’s sperm as part of their divorce settlement, though Richards has since said that Sheen himself faked the message. Honestly, either story is crazy enough for me.
2. Keeping Up with the Roads Not Taken
Kris Jenner has stated her only regret in life was divorcing her first husband, Robert Kardashian, in 1991. In her 2011 memoir, Jenner admitted to an affair with their friend Todd Waterman while she was still married. Shouldn’t the affair have been the greater regret? Kardashian passed away in 2003.
1. Racing Against the Clock, and Each Other
Although Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman called their divorce as an “amicable separation,” their settlement was less than friendly. Cruise listed their separation date as December 2000—just shy of their tenth anniversary—while Kidman contended she was informed of their divorce two months later, in February 2001. This little difference meant a big deal—under California law, a marriage is considered “long-term” at ten years, at which point Cruise would have to support his ex until she remarried (but seriously, how much “support” could Kidman possibly need?). Cruise reportedly caved to Nicole’s demands after she threatened to use DNA samples to prove she had suffered a miscarriage just weeks after Cruise announced their separation. Yeah, doesn’t sound that amicable to me. There was speculation that Scientology was to blame for the divorce, but very little was known about the split’s awful details until former Scientologists revealed that Cruise and the Church of Scientology actually had Kidman’s phone tapped during their marriage. Cruise and Kidman’s two children also reportedly refuse to speak to their mother since the divorce, and have called her a “suppressive person.”
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