NEW YORK (MainStreet) When power couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced they were "consciously uncoupling" on March 25 after 11 years of marriage, we were reminded that divorces among celebrities are all too common. While the pain of a high-profile breakup can definitely sting, the silver lining for some spouses can be a huge payout from the wealthier significant other. And when we say "huge," we're talking millions upon millions of dollars. Now that can help ease the loneliness just a tad, don't you think? Read on for our roundup of some of the most expensive celebrity divorce settlements ever.
Paul McCartney & Heather Mills
Divorce payout: $48.6 million
Paul McCartney's first marriage to wife Linda McCartney lasted nearly 30 yearsuntil Linda's untimely death from breast cancer in 1998. But Paul's second marriage to former model Heather Mills was far less successful.
Paul and Heather married at a lavish $3.2 million wedding in Ireland in 2002 and had one daughter, Beatrice, together, but the pair divorced just six years later after a nasty trial. People magazine reported that although Heather requested an exorbitant $250 million for the divorce settlement, the judge granted her less than a fifth of that. Still, Heather got to take home a not-too-shabby $48.6 million. According to People, in addition to a lump sum of $33 million, Mills got to keep $15 million in real estate, including an English seaside condo, Angel's Rest, and a countryside home, Pean's Wood. Paul was also ordered to pay $70,000 a year in child support, in addition to paying for his daughter's nanny and private school tuition.
Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Divorce payout: Between $76 million and $92 million
It's not always the woman who gets to walk away with a big divorce payout. When Madonna and British director Guy Ritchie parted ways in 2008 after an eight-year marriage, the Material Girl reportedly had to pay Guy between $76 million and $92 million http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7784519.stm . People magazine reported that http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20246841,00.html the payout included the value of the pair's country home in western England, Ashcombe, and their London pub, the Punchbowl.
Madonna and Guy married at Skibo Castle in Scotland in December 2000 and have two sonsbiological son Rocco and adopted son David Banda (Madonna also has an older daughter, Lourdes, from a previous marriage and an adopted daughter, Mercy James). Madonna filed for divorce on grounds that Ritchie was displaying "unreasonable behavior," and the couple was granted a divorce at the High Court in London.
Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren
Divorce payout: $100 million
Golf superstar Tiger Woods had a squeaky clean, family-man image until the scandal broke in November 2009 that he had been cheating on his wife Elin Nordegren, a Swedish former model and the mother of his two young children. Tiger had allegedly been unfaithful with New York City nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs, porn star Joslyn James, and a slew of other women. While Elin was heartbroken over the affairs (and supposedly chased Tiger out of the house with a golf club the night she confronted him on his betrayal), the Swede seems to have gotten the last laugh. In 2010, Elin was reportedly awarded approximately $100 million from the divorce settlement. Despite being set for life, Elin told People magazine a few months after her divorce was finalized that she was studying toward degree in psychology. Right on, sister.
Michael and Juanita Jordan
Divorce payout: $168 million
After 17 years of marriage and three children, basketball legend Michael Jordan and wife Juanita divorced in 2006. The nearly two decades of matrimony paid off for Juanita, who was reportedly granted more than $168 million in the divorce settlement. Juanita made out like a bandit because the pair had signed a prenuptial agreement that entitled Juanita to half of Michael's fortuneand he earned a whopping $350 million during their marriage. Michael may be the sports superstar, but Juanita sure knew how to score a slam dunk in divorce court.
Mel Gibson and Robyn Denise Moore
Divorce payout: $425 million
After three decades of marriage and seven children, actor Mel Gibson and wife Robyn Denise Moore parted ways in 2011but Robyn certainly didn't walk away empty-handed. Because Mel and Robyn didn't have a prenuptial agreement, Robyn reportedly received half of the Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ star's $850 million fortune. But that's not all. The settlement also dictates that Mel will have to pay his ex-wife half of any film residuals for the rest of his life. Ouch.
--Written by Kristin Colella for MainStreet