Prenups are big business, and if you’re wealthy and in love there’s a risk you could lose a lot of money by glossing over this vital document. Take Kelsey Grammar, for example: the Frasier actor didn’t sign one when he married his wife Camille Donatacci and she is now in line to receive $30 million of his $84 million fortune. Almost all of the most expensive break-ups are down to not having a prenup: Heather Mills and Paul McCartney, Mel and Robyn Gibson, Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold, you name it. But sometimes, even when the world’s richest people have thought ahead, the amount of cash involved in the split can still be phenomenal. Here’s our list of some of the biggest prenuptial settlements that have happened or could happen.
10. Beyonce and Jay-Z ($25 million or more)
Photo: Cornel Pex
There’s no telling how big the prenup is going to be until a divorce is actually finalized and an agreement has been set, but if this one did happen, it could be huge. Hip hop mogul Jay-Z and his new wife Beyonce have reportedly signed a prenup that promises her at least $10 million if the marriage fails within 2 years, plus an extra $1 million for every year they stay together thereafter. In addition, if the R&B singer has any of his children she will receive $5 million extra for every one. Beyonce is already worth $100 million herself, but according to the National Enquirer she could be entitled to $25 million if they split, and that’s not counting the children. 38-year-old Jay-Z’s net worth is estimated at $300 million.
9. Donald and Ivana Trump ($34 million)
Photo: Robert delGrosso
Apprentice star and business tycoon Donald Trump is one man who knows the value of getting a watertight prenup. His first wife, Ivana, challenged the legality of their pre-marital document in 1991 and walked away with far more than she would have had it held up in court. According to reports, his former wife was given $20 million in cash, the $14 million family home and $350,000 a year in alimony.
8. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones ($40 million just for cheating)
A prenuptial agreement can be about anything, not just how to divide marital assets. It’s reported that the Douglas-Zeta Jones document has a paragraph about how much money Catherine stands to receive if her husband Michael is caught cheating. Plus, she’s entitled to £2.8 million for every year they’re married. The movie legend’s previous marriage to Diandra Douglas cost him $45 million when it ended in 2000 after 23 years, so maybe he’s trying to pin down every eventuality were he to go through another break-up.
7. Madonna and Guy Ritchie ($76 million)
When both parties are considered well-off it’s easy to wonder why they would bother to write a prenup document. But then there’s well-off and there’s being as rich as Madonna. Even though her new husband was an established and profitable film director when they tied the knot, nothing compared to the material girl’s wealth. After 8 years of marriage, and even though there was a prenup in place, Guy Ritchie still came away from their partnership with a reported $76 million.
6. Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving ($100 million)
Amy Irving was an aspiring actress when she met the established director Steven Spielberg in 1984, so when they married each party signed a prenup. Four years later and Spielberg left his wife for another actress, Kate Capshaw. The scorned wife managed to get the couple’s original prenup thrown out of court – which wasn’t difficult as it was written on the back of a cocktail napkin, apparently. She was eventually awarded $100 million, which was half of his net wealth at the time. An expensive but utterly useless prenup, unless you want to mop up spillages that is.
5. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren ($110 million)
Photo: Keith Allison
Mr and Mrs Woods ended their 7 year marriage in October 2010 after his string of affairs became public knowledge. The pair were going to make a go of it and rewrote the initial prenup; and to say sorry for his indiscretions Tiger had offered his humiliated wife a $5 million apology. But eventually Elin Nordegren filed for divorce. Under the newly written document the golfer had to pay out an even bigger amount. She walked away with a reported $110 million rather than the initial $20 million she would have received had they been married for 10 years.
4. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ($125 million)
A prenup can actually pay out during a marriage. Katie Holmes earns money for every year she stays with Tom Cruise and collects the $3 million annually. But the best part for Mrs Cruise? If they’re together for over 11 years the agreement is abolished and she is entitled to half of the mega-rich Hollywood star’s fortune. Reports say that’s roughly $250 million.
3. Jack Welch and Jane Beasley Welch ($150 million)
Photo: Rain Rannu
This is a prenup that went wrong. When Jane Beasley married wealthy CEO Jack Welch they signed a pre-marriage document that had a “sunset clause” in it. It meant that if the marriage lasted more then 10 years the prenup was null and void. That happened in 1999, and by 2002 Jane Beasley Welch was fighting for half of her ex-billionaire husband’s wealth. She eventually received $150 million from the former General Electric head.
2. Michael and Juanita Jordan ($168 million)
Basketball legend Michael Jordan and his wife Juanita split up in 2006 after 17 years of marriage. They had signed a prenuptial agreement which said Juanita would be entitled to half her husband’s fortune, but when it came to splitting up the marital money she only took a third. Still, that third was $168 million.
1. Robert and Sheila Johnson ($400 million)
Photo: David Shankbone
Robert Johnson, the co-founder of BET and America’s first African-American billionaire, paid out a massive $400 million to his wife of 30 years when their marriage ended in 2002. The prenup held up in court and Sheila was awarded half of their joint assets, making it one of the biggest divorce settlements in history (even with a prenup!). Both have continued their business dealings, owning majority stakes in professional men’s and women’s basketball teams. Three years later and Sheila married William Newman Jr. who was the judge presiding over her original divorce case.