“Divorce is the one human tragedy that reduces everything to cash.”
Rita Mae Brown
Divorce is a tragedy which leads to the independence of two people. No doubt that Rita Mae Brown was right -a divorce usually revolves around cash. These days we might witness one of the most expensive divorces in the world. Just on the 21st of March, it was announced that Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, one of the US richest people, was involved in a harsh divorce with his wife Sue Ann Hamm. It is expected that this divorce might turn out to be one of the most brutal as a hefty sum will have to be divided. According to records, Harold Hamm is a majority owner of Continental as he holds a 68 percent stake in the company which is estimated at as much as $11.2 billion. The divorce can easily make a dent in his staggering fortune. However, for the results of the divorce we will have to wait. Yet, many think that the Harold Hamm and his wife's divorce might end with the record high financial settlement leaving behind the world’s most expensive divorce of the Ruperts.
Certainly, a divorce is always a tough process, however when money is in the picture, the fight might be fierce and brutal. There are no rules. And the world’s richest people know that. Some have already prepared prenuptial agreements, some have not. Undoubtedly, the lack of an official prenuptial agreement might lead to a record-breaking divorce settlement!
Here is the list of the most expensive divorces in the business world. Be prepared cause you never know if your marriage gonna last till death do you part.
No. 1 Rupert and Anna Murdoch’s divorce settlement - $1.7 billion
Rupert and Anna Murdoch might glory in the title of most expensive divorce in the business world as the 32-year marriage ended with the record-breaking settlement of $1.7 billion. Anna Murdoch, who had stood firmly at her husband's side for over three decades, was richly rewarded for her long commitment.
Certainly, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corp., was shocked when he heard the vertiginous divorce settlement. Under the terms of the divorce settlement, Anna Murdoch received $110 million in cash and $1.6 million in News Corp. stock - the staggering sum which was believed at the time to be just.
Yet some amounts are, without a doubt, worth paying as almost immediately after the finalization of the most expensive divorce in the world, the media magnate married his current wife Wendi Deng.
No. 2 Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone – $1.2 billion
The title of the second most expensive divorce in the world is held by Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone. The fact is that Bernie Ecclestone, the British billionaire who runs Formula One racing, paid an exorbitant sum of $1.2 billion for his “unreasonable behavior”. Slavica Ecclestone, who is much taller than her now ex-husband, patiently put up with Bernie’s eccentric behavior.
The settlement was, however, not made public. Given the marriage lasted approximately 24 years, experts note that the sum of $1.2 billion was reasonable.
No. 3 Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi - $850 million
The Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi’s divorce was once the world’s most expensive one. The divorce was brutal, dirty and fierce as it wore on five years (sic!) and it finally ended in 1979. After all, the divorce settlement was reached in 1982. Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi was ordered to pay a staggering sum of $850 million! Soraya, who was born as Sandra in the United Kingdom, got a lot taking into consideration that in 1998 she admitted that her daughter Petra was not fathered by Adnan.
Without a doubt, the divorce settlement was painful for Adnan Khashoggi who made his fortune during a career of buying and selling arms all over the world, including the Saudi royal family. Not only that Adnan once held the title of the world’s most expensive divorce, but also at the time he was said to be the world’s richest person.
No. 4 Craig and Wendy McCaw - $460 million
Also Craig and Wendy McCaw can take dubious pride in holding the title of one of the world’s most expensive divorces. Craig and Wendy McCaw, who built telecom empire MCCaw Cellular together, divorced in 1998 and raised the bar in the divorce rankings. After the triumphant sale of MCCaw Cellular to AT&T for as much as $12 billion, the relationship started to show clear signs of crisis. However, the over two decades marriage successfully ended for Wendy as she got around $460 million.
No. 5 Robert and Sheila Johnson - $400 million
Not surprisingly, the list of world’s 5 most expensive divorces includes also the settlement between Robert Johnson, the US African-American billionaire and co-founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television), and his wife Sheila. The fifth most expensive divorce cost him as much as $400 million.
Yet it was Sheila who stood at Robert Johnson's side while he was developing the cable network Black Entertainment Television. After 30 years of marriage, the one of the world’s most expensive divorces was finalized in 2000 making two people independent.
Love and marriage
Love and marriages end. These days nothing is tenacious. The most expensive divorces in the business world seem to be clear evidence of it. Money cannot secure the longevity of the institution of marriage. What’s more, Gene Simmons was right saying: “The biggest financial pitfall in life is divorce. And the biggest reason for divorce is marriage.”
As all rankings are only temporary, it is just a matter of time when we see a change in the list of the most expensive divorces in the world. Just wait.