For most of us the arguments voiced during divorce proceedings centre around children and the division of property such as the family car and home. Increasingly however, a number of those in the business world, whose wealth staggeringly ranges from the multi-millions to the multi-billions, concerns are unsurprisingly mired in the money.
Despite the fact that divorce laws differ vastly around the world, in most, each spouse is usually entitled to a share of the matrimonial property which inevitably includes the hard-earned cash.
In a time where the super-rich appear to be getting richer and their wealth being increasingly brought within the public eye, their divorces have become for many people a source of fascination to witness the almost obscene marital settlements which often arise as a result.
This has never been more apparent following the record separation agreement between Amazon CEO, the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos and his estranged wife MacKenzie Tuttle.
However, these records appear ripe only for being broken with previous holders of the most expensive divorces in history ranging from Russian oligarchs to acting superstars.
No one man in history epitomises the concept of divorce perhaps any better than King Henry VIII. Most famous for his inability to commit to one single woman, he saw himself ending his life having been married to no-less than six different ladies.
However, at a time in history where family laws and morals were governed by religious principles, whether people could legally divorce rested in the hands of the Pope. Wanting rid of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon due to her being unable to bear him an heir, Henry sought the permission of the Pope to annul his marriage so he could go on to wed Anne Boleyn. However, the Pope refused and Henry was left in limbo.
Despite this, instead of merely accepting the supremacy of the Catholic Church, he decided to break away and form his own church, governed by his rules. This saw the establishment of what is now the Anglican strand of Christianity which, conveniently, allowed Henry the divorce.
The effects this monumental break-away from the long-established status quo were unprecedented and can still be felt today. Henry’s actions can now be seen as being a significant contributing factor for the reformation in Britain which has resulted in both Catholics and Protestants often difficultly living alongside each other for close to 500 years.
Despite getting his way and marrying Anne Boleyn, this didn’t last. However, instead of divorce, Henry opted to end this marriage by chopping off his wife’s head.
Media giant, Rupert Murdoch’s companies have been widely believed to prod and probe controversially in other people’s lives in order to publish tabloid headlines for their papers. However, in 1999 it was his private affairs which were being brought into the public eye.
This came with his divorce with his wife of 31 years, Anna Torv. Their dispute over who gets what never went to court but was reported to have been agreed on good terms. The figures are merely estimates but it is generally agreed that Anna Torv was allocated around a quarter of Murdoch’s assets at the time which amounted to a staggering $1.7billion.
Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovleva is not the dullest of characters with his business life being mired in Bond-esque allegations of plotting to murder his competitors. Reported to be worth a colossal $6.8billion, in typically super-rich fashion, he bought football club AS Monaco in 2011.
However, in 2014, a large chunk of Rybolovleva’s wealth was threatened with being handed to his wife Elena who had previously filed for a divorce. Since no agreeable settlement had been able to have been made by the two and their legal representatives, Elena proceeded to take it to the courts.
In its ruling, a Swiss court awarded Elena Rybolovleva a record-breaking sum of $4.8billion.
However, although this would have stood as the highest value divorce settlement in modern history, Mr Rybolovleva’s lawyers appealed the court’s decision and had the money owed reduced successfully to a sum close to merely $600million. Merely…
In 2017, founder of online shop Amazon, Jeff Bezos became the worlds wealthiest human when his money surpassed $90billion. Despite breaking this record, Bezos didn’t stop and only a couple of years later, this total now stands at an almost unbelievable $161billion.
However, at the beginning of 2019, Bezos and his estranged wife MacKenzie announced their decision to seek a divorce after a long period of separation.
It seems the couple’s divorce was not fraught with conflict and so were able to arrive at an agreement only months after the announcement of their intention to do so.
Despite the apparent amicable circumstances, it didn’t make the separation any cheaper. The pair agreed that MacKenzie should receive 25% of their shared wealth. Although only a quarter of the total, this still amounted to an eye-watering $36billion. This blew every other previous divorce settlement record entirely out of the water and even subsequently resulted in MacKenzie Tuttle becoming the third richest woman in the world.
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