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The War of the Roses: Scandalous Divorces

Last week saw the start of the libel trial of Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, which continues what is probably one of Hollywood’s messiest divorces. It’s not even fair to say that there hasn’t been some serious competition in the past, but the “revenge feud” Depp refers to may have been “beyond imagination”. And when it comes to deciding on expansive properties and millions of dollars, we forget our manners… Here we reflect on some memorable celebrity divorces.

Famed producer Dr Dre is the fifth richest in the world of hip-hop, with a fortune of 820 million USD thanks to his Beats by Dre empire. After 24 years of marriage, wife Nicole Young filed for divorce in June 2020, receiving only a small portion of the fortune, $100 million, thanks to a prenuptial agreement, and in two instalments: the first on 28 December, and the remainder a year later.

Last year also saw the divorce of Bill Gates, who, with 129.5 billion USD, still happens to be one of the richest businesspeople in the world. Melinda Gates filed for divorce in May after 27 years of marriage. Bill and Melinda Gates met at Microsoft in 1987 and married seven years later in 1994. Details of the divorce settlement are not yet known, but it is certain that neither of them will have to pay alimony. The couple has three children together and runs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has donated a great deal to the fight against the coronavirus, among other humanitarian initiatives. According to an earlier statement, their working relationship will not be broken, and they will continue to work together in the future.

Thanks to Elon Musk’s soaring fortunes, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and now only the second richest man, divorced his wife Mackenzie Bezos in 2019. The most expensive divorce of all time cost the Amazon chief 38 billion USD. It is interesting to note that this amount was more than ten times the amount that the previous record-holder, art dealer Alec Wildenstein, paid his ex in 1999, which was 2.5 billion plus an additional 100 million. With this fortune, Mackenzie is now one of the richest women in the world, and as promised, she makes substantial donations to non-profit organisations and charities.

When we look at famous divorces, we cannot ignore Bernie Ecclestone, the former CEO of Formula 1, who had one of the strangest divorces in history, because somehow the wife ended up “dealing” the cards. In the 11 years since his split with Serbian ex-model Slavica, Ecclestone has received more than half a billion dollars from his ex-wife, which amounts to $100 million a year for the Formula 1 tycoon. When the old man suffered a serious heart condition in the late 1990s, his entire fortune, currently worth 3 billion, was put in his wife’s name, hence why she had to pay him.