On Oct. 31, 2011, the world was blindsided by the news that reality TV star Kim Kardashian was divorcing her husband, National Basketball Association star Kris Humphries. The couple had married on Aug. 20, 2011 in a storybook wedding worth $10 million. A mere 72 days later, however, Kardashian had filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
Fortunately, the couple had a prenuptial agreement in place, so each party is likely to walk away from the union with their finances intact. This puts Humphries in a better situation than many of his fellow divorced sports personalities, many of whom never had such a contract in place prior to exchanging vows. Maybe they believed they truly would live happily ever after with their spouses, or perhaps they never knew they needed one in the first place. Either way, they failed to protect themselves, and it cost them dearly.
Some players were involved in unions that only lasted a year, while others ended marriages that had stood for decades. However long they were married, the price of breaking the contract was huge -- sometimes even reached nine figures.
So, who are some of the athletes whose divorces cost them millions? Click ahead and find out.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Updated 4 November 2011
Frank McCourt is a former real estate developer who had always dreamed of owning a baseball team. He had tried unsuccessfully to purchase the Boston Red Sox, the Anaheim Angels, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but in 2004 he fulfilled his dream and became owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In October 2009, he separated from Jamie McCourt, his wife of 30 years. This created some awkwardness, as she was CEO of the team. Jamie McCourt was fired one week after the couple’s separation was announced, and share responded by filing for divorce. A long and ugly public dispute ensued.
The couple reached an agreement on Oct. 17, 2011. Jamie McCourt gave up her claims of ownership in exchange for $130 million. This was possibly the most expensive divorce settlement in California history, according to The Los Angeles Times.
NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon is a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 and a four-time winner of the Sprint Cup Series. He has 85 career wins, making him third on the list of all-time winners, and in 2009 he became the first to achieve a milestone $100 million in career winnings in the Cup series.
Gordon’s first wife, Brooke Sealey, filed for divorce in 2002, citing “marital misconduct.” Furthermore, she claimed to have the videotaped evidence that would prove it. Although the full details of the settlement were not disclosed, the Associated Press reported that Sealey would receive a guaranteed $15.3 million from the sale of two homes.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan married Juanita Vanoy in 1989. For more than a decade it was smooth sailing, and their union produced three children. Behind the scenes, however, it was a different story. By 2002, the couple filed for divorce. They reconciled, but in 2006 they filed papers again, and this time it stuck.
Juanita Vanoy Jordan was awarded $168 million in the divorce settlement. In 2007, Forbes magazine put the dissolution of the Jordans’ marriage at the top of its list of the most expensive celebrity divorces of all time, eclipsing those of Steven Spielberg, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger.
Greg Norman is an Australian professional golfer with an impressive record on the links. Known as “The Great White Shark,” he turned professional in the 1970s and climbed the ladder to the top. He won his first Australian Open in 1980 and his first PGA Tour event in 1984. He’s still an active player today.
Norman’s marriage Laura Andrassy didn’t have quite the longevity of his golf career. In 2006, he announced that they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage, refusing to give a reason for the dissolution and flatly denying that there had been a third party involved. Whatever the reasons for the split, Andrassy walked away with a settlement of $105 million.
Former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has been an inspirational figure both to sports fans and to cancer survivors. After surviving testicular cancer, he won the Tour de France seven times in a row, an accomplishment that has eluded even those in peak physical condition.
In 1998, Armstrong married Kristin Richard, and the couple had three children together. The marriage didn’t last, however, and the couple filed for divorce in 2003. According to Daniel Coyle’s 2005 book “Lance Armstrong's War,” Richard received $14 million from the settlement.
Over the course of three decades, former baseball player Jose Canseco’s name was synonymous with excellence. During his long career he played for the Texas Rangers, the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees. He won four Silver Slugger Awards, an American League Most Valuable Player Award, and an American League Rookie of the Year Award. He has been divorced twice.
Canseco first filed papers in 1991 seeking to divorce Esther Haddad, his wife of two years, saying that the union was "irrevocably broken." He remarried in 1996, this time to Jessica Sekely, a former Hooters waitress, who later divorced him in 2000. Canseco lost his home to foreclosure in 2009, and when discussing his financial situation on the TV show “Inside Edition,” he revealed that among his many financial problems were his two divorces, which he estimated had cost him between $7 million and $8 million.
In November 2009, allegations emerged that legendary golfer Tiger Woods had been unfaithful to his wife, Swedish model Elin Nordegren. Woods had long enjoyed a squeaky-clean public image, but when he admitted the allegations were true, several women emerged to reveal that they had engaged in liaisons with him, as well.
Nordegren filed for divorce almost immediately. The final amount of the divorce settlement was never disclosed, but a source close to Nordegren claimed that the former model walked away with $100 million.
Justine Henin is a retired tennis player from Belgium. An elbow injury ended her career in January 2011, but while she was an active player she was a force to be reckoned with. Henin won no less than 43 Women’s Tennis Association titles, and the accolades of such tennis royalty as John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, and Billie Jean King, who called Henin “the best player of her generation.”
Sadder perhaps than her premature retirement was the 2007 dissolution of her marriage to Pierre-Yves Hardenne, which cost her 6.5 million euros, or $9 million. According to fellow Belgian tennis player Dominique Monami, Hardenne was often the odd man out at her matches, dooming their union from the start. “At the start, her entourage wanted to give him a role, but it didn't work,” Monami said. “He was only her husband. At best, he carried her water bottles for her.” Ouch.
Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson is no stranger to money problems. During his boxing career, which included a stint as heavyweight champion of the world, he had earned $400 million, but he lost it all through poor business decisions, extravagant spending, and two divorce settlements.
Actress Robin Givens was Tyson’s first wife. She had married him in February 1988 and divorced him one year later, ironically enough on Valentine’s Day. She described the marriage as "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine." Givens divorced the fighter and won a $10 million settlement.
Tyson later married Monica Turner in 1997, but they divorced in 2003. In that settlement, Tyson lost their Connecticut home, custody of their two children, and Turner walked away with $11.3 million.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Chris Evert was one of the most competitive players in women’s tennis. She was the winner of 18 Grand Slam championships and the top singles player in the world five times in the 1970s and 1980s. Off the court, she had been divorced twice. When she married Olympic skier Andy Mill in 1988, however, it seemed like the union would stick, and for 18 years it did.
Evert’s marriage to Mill ended when the tennis star filed for divorce in 2006. The settlement called for her to pay Mill $7 million, in addition to awarding him a $4 million home in Aspen, Colo., and a Porsche. Two years later, Evert married golfer Greg Norman, but their union lasted just over a year.
Kenny Anderson played for multiple basketball teams throughout his 15-year professional career. He was married three times, including a union with reality TV star Tami Akbar that lasted from 1994 to 2001. The couple divorced, but there had been a prenuptial agreement in place, so the $60 million he had earned on the court was his to keep — or so it seemed.
Akbar challenged the prenuptial agreement in court and won. The settlement awarded her $8,500 monthly child support payments in addition to half of his assets. After winning the settlement, Akbar had a custom license plate made for her car that read “HISCASH.”