Roman and Irina Abramovich
Settlement: $300 million
The couple married when Roman was a struggling businessman in 1991; he later acquired stakes in steel giant Evraz, Norilsk Nickel and the U.K.’s Chelsea soccer team. More than a decade later, Irina, a former airline stewardess, supposedly settled for $300 million in a quick Moscow divorce, rather than file in the U.K. Third time wasn’t the charm for Roman either. In August 2017, he announced that he and his wife No. 3, Dasha Zhukova, were separating.
Farkhad and Tatiana Akhmedova
Settlement: not finalized
Farkhad, a Russian oil and gas mogul, has been waging a battle to keep his $1.4 billion fortune since a London court ordered him to pay his ex-wife roughly $650 million in 2016. Though Tatiana reportedly seized one of his helicopters and is trying to claim his 380-foot yacht–impounded in Dubai as a result of the dispute–she has yet to receive any substantial payout from the divorce.
Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos
Settlement: not finalized
The pair met while both were working at hedge fund D.E. Shaw in New York. Because they married 25 years ago before Jeff started Amazon and since Washington is a community property state, Mackenzie might get as much as half of his Amazon stake, a whopping $65 billion in stock, based on recent share prices. Even if she got 1% of his total net worth, it would be one of the biggest divorce payouts ever.
Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki
Settlement: not disclosed
Sergey, the Google cofounder, and Anne, cofounder of genetic-testing company 23andMe, divorced in mid-2015 after eight years of marriage. The entrepreneurs had two children together and reportedly separated in 2013. The couple reportedly had a prenuptial agreement, but the terms of their settlement were not disclosed. Sergey is now worth an estimated $48.8 billion, and Anne’s stake in 23andMe is worth an estimated $440 million.
Joe and Kathy Craft
Settlement: $500 million
A lawyer’s son reared in coal country, Joe joined Mapco’s coal division as assistant general counsel in 1980 and rose to become president. He was rewarded with a big stake for leading the firm’s leveraged buyout and conversion into a tax-efficient public master limited partnership in 1996; it was later renamed Alliance Resource Partners.
Craft debuted on The Forbes 400 in 2010 (net worth: $1.4 billion). The longtime Alliance CEO fell out of the ranks two years later after divorcing Kathy in 2011. As part of the deal, he gave her half his Alliance stake but retained voting rights for all shares.
Roy E. and Patricia Disney
Settlement: $600 million
Roy and his wife filed for divorce in 2007 at the ages of 77 and 72, respectively, after 52 years of marriage. Roy, a nephew of Walt Disney, was worth approximately $1.3 billion at the time. Previously a Forbes 400 mainstay, he lost nearly half of his fortune in the split and was dropped from the list. In 2008, he married writer and producer Leslie DeMeuse. He died a year later; Patricia followed in 2012. A family foundation with assets of $122 million (as of 2016) bearing both of their names supports environmental and economic causes.
Ken and Anne Dias-Griffin
Settlement: not disclosed
Hedge fund manager Ken divorced Anne in 2015 after a lengthy separation and an ugly legal spat that dragged on for over a year. According to court documents, Ken claims he abided by the prenup the couple signed the day before their wedding in 2003, making payments of $37 million to Anne, plus giving her joint ownership of the couple’s Chicago penthouse.
Anne, who got an M.B.A. from Harvard and worked at Goldman Sachs before founding her own hedge fund, argued the prenup should be thrown out because she was coerced into signing it. The couple finally came to an agreement two days after trial was set to begin, but details of the settlement were not disclosed.
Bill and Sue Gross
Settlement: $1.3 billion
The Grosses’ messy split minted a new billionaire and dragged down another. Sue filed for divorce in 2016 from her husband, the founder of asset-manager Pimco, and walked away a year later with a $1.3 billion fortune. That haul included a $36 million Laguna Beach house and “Le Repos,” a 1932 Picasso painting that she later sold for $35 million. And while Bill originally tried to hang on to one of their three pet cats, Sue eventually got custody of all of them. (She did have a good lawyer: Los Angeles attorney Laura Wasser, whose clients have included such celebrities as Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian.) Bill, whose net worth fell to $1.5 billion due to the divorce, lost his spot on The Forbes 400 in 2018 following 14 consecutive years on the list. Both now run their own charitable vehicles.
Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall
Settlement: $975 million
After three years of bitter court proceedings, oil tycoon Harold in 2015 tried to finally end his 26-year marriage with Sue Ann (no prenup) by writing her a check in the amount of $974,790,317.77 from his Morgan Stanley account. She deposited it, but then changed her mind, decided she wanted more and filed an appeal seeking a bigger share of the $13.7 billion fortune tied to Hamm’s 75% ownership in publicly traded Continental Resources. In April 2015 the Oklahoma Supreme Court ended the saga, granting Harold’s motion to dismiss her appeal, reasoning from precedent that Sue Ann had agreed to the settlement by signing and depositing the check. Sue Ann subsequently funded a political action committee that succeeded in its effort to unseat the judge who presided over the divorce.
Kirk Kerkorian and Lisa Bonder
Child support: $10.25 million plus $100,000 a month
One of the nastiest and weirdest billionaire divorces was that of the late Kirk Kerkorian and his much younger ex-wife, Lisa Bonder.
A former standout on the professional women’s tennis circuit, Bonder met Kerkorian, whose fortune came from stakes in everything from DaimlerChrysler to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and MGM Mirage, in 1986. The two became lovers, but Kerkorian was hesitant about tying the knot, according to court filings. Upon learning that she was pregnant in 1997, Kerkorian married her. The union lasted 28 days.
Bonder later asked a California judge for a record $320,000 a month in child support so that her daughter, Kira, would enjoy the life she had come to expect, including $6,000 a month for house flowers and $150,000 a month for private jet travel. As the case unfolded, it became known that Kerkorian was not Kira’s biological father: According to his own lawyers, Kerkorian was sterile. Bonder said the tycoon claimed Kira as his own in order to maintain an image of virility.
The judge eventually ordered Kerkorian to pay a relatively paltry $50,316 a month to support the then 4-year-old. He reportedly agreed to pay $10.25 million in back child care and $100,000 a month in 2010. He died five years later.
George and Marcia Lucas
Settlement $50 million
Back in 1983, Star Wars creator George and Marcia—an Oscar-winning film editor who worked on Lucas’ films—divorced after 14 years of marriage. While her eight-figure payment was impressive then, it represents less than 1% of George’s current wealth, the bulk of which was made after he sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.1 billion in stock and cash in 2012.
Craig and Wendy McCaw
Settlement: at least $460 million
Money wasn’t an issue at the outset of the relationship that would lead to the then-costliest breakup in American history. Wendy and future cellular pioneer Craig met their sophomore year at Stanford University, where both were history majors and Wendy tutored her future husband. They graduated and married in 1974.
Craig went on to snatch up relatively cheap cellular phone assets, eventually selling them to AT&T for $11.5 billion in 1994. Less than a year later, the couple separated. A brutal divorce followed, stripping the media-shy couple of their privacy. Folks ranging from Craig’s elderly mother to Microsoft’s Bill Gates were deposed. In the end, Wendy ended up walking away with at least $460 million, nearly all of it in Nextel stock, one of Craig’s more recent ventures. Wendy made the 1998 Forbes 400 as a result of the divorce settlement beforefalling off the list two years later.
The ending is happier than might be expected: The McCaws, who donated millions to free the orca Keiko—titular star of hit movie Free Willy—from captivity, are said to be friends and active business partners.
Vladimir Potanin and Natalia Potanina
Settlement: $6.7 million
Once a deputy prime minister under Russian president Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir ended his three-decade marriage to Natalia in 2014. Though he reportedly only paid around $7 million in the initial divorce settlement, Natalia launched multiple lawsuits after, asking for half of her former husband’s $15 billion-plus wealth. Vladimir, now worth $16.4 billion thanks to investments in metals, mining and pharmaceuticals, among other things, ultimately prevailed as Russian courts dismissed Natalia’s claims.
Stewie and Carol Rahr
Settlement: $250 million
When pharma billionaire Stewie and his wife of 43 years divorced in 2013, he had to pay his wife $250 million. The settlement was roughly 16% of his net worth at the time, but the billionaire—who refers to himself as “The Number One King of All Fun”—insisted at the time that he and Carol were still on good terms. “My divorce with Carol was phenomenal,” he said. “I love that girl.” Stewie expanded the pharmaceutical distributor Kinray, which was founded by his father in 1944, and made a fortune when he sold the company to Cardinal Health in 2010 for $1.3 billion in cash. He’s worth an estimated $2.3 billion today.
Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovleva
Settlement: estimated $600 million
Tired of his infidelities, Elena reportedly hit Dmitry with her divorce petition during a New Year’s Eve party in 2008. She later accused her husband of transferring assets—a trove that included Donald Trump’s former Palm Beach mansion and Greek Islands that once belonged to Athina Onassis—to overseas trusts to keep them beyond her reach. She was awarded $4.5 billion by a Swiss court in 2014. A Swiss appeals court later cut that figure to nearly $600 million. In October 2015, the pair announced they had “reached an agreement on the terms of their divorce” that included an end to all legal proceedings. The size of the monetary settlement wasn’t disclosed.
Steve and Elaine Wynn
Settlement: estimated $1 billion
The cofounders of casino giant Wynn Resorts met during college, married in 1963 and divorced for the first time in 1986. They remarried five years later but still couldn’t make it work for good that time either.
The Las Vegas power couple divorced again in 2010. That settlement dictated that Elaine, a Wynn Resorts board member since 2002, receive 11 million shares, then worth an estimated $795 million. Steve also sold around $114 million in stock that year—some, if not all, went to Elaine as part of the deal. That made Elaine a billionaire for the first time. She then sued Wynn Resorts in 2012 to sell part of her 9% stake and was kicked off the board three years later amid an ugly proxy battle.
After Steve stepped down as CEO and chairman in February 2018 amid sexual harassment allegations that he has denied, he sold all his shares. Elaine, now worth $2 billion, is Wynn Resorts’ largest shareholder.