Bezos to join exclusive club: The world's 10 most expensive divorce settlements

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Bezos to join exclusive club: The world's 10 most expensive divorce settlements

Married couple and money
Jamie Grill | JGI | Getty Images

The world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie are the latest power couple to hit the marital skids.

The Amazon founder and his spouse announced on Wednesday they are parting ways after 25 years of marriage. The couple, who wed one year before the founding of the now giant retail company, reportedly do not have a prenuptial agreement.

  • Bezos, 54, is worth an estimated $136 billion and is the world's richest person, according to Forbes. His home state of Washington is one of the few remaining so-called "community property" states — where marital assets generally are divided equally — so his divorce settlement with his soon-to-be-ex, 48, promises to be one of the largest in history.

    Here's a look at the 10 most expensive divorces to date.

    Editor's note: The following listings have been reordered. The amounts do not reflect inflation.

  • 10. Mel and Robyn Gibson

    Estimated settlement amount: $425 million

    Mel Gibson reportedly handed over half of his $850 million fortune when his split with his wife of 31 years, Robyn, was finalized in December 2011. As a result of the divorce, Robyn reportedly is entitled to half of Mel’s wealth, as well as any future residuals from his films.

    Actor Mel Gibson, wearing sunglasses, and wife Robyn.  (Photo by David Mcgough/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
    David McGough | The LIFE Picture Collection | Getty Images
  • 9. Craig and Wendy McCaw

    Estimated settlement amount: $460 Million

    The Seattle-area businessman was the founder of McCaw Cellular and Clearwire Corp. He split with former wife Wendy in 1998, just a few years after selling the McCaw Cellular to AT&T for between $11 billion and $12 billion. The settlement saw Wendy receive most of her $460 million payout in Nextel stock. The windfall allowed her to purchase the Santa-Barbara News-Press from The New York Times.

    UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10:  Craig McCaw, chairman of Clearwire Corp., answers questions posed by Steve Largent, president and chief executive officer of wireless industry group CTIA, not pictured, at the 2008 CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008. The conference runs until Sept. 12.  (Photo by Chip Chipman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
    Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • 8. Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovleva

    Estimated settlement amount: $604 Million

    Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and his ex-wife, businesswoman and socialite Elena Rybolovleva, separated after 26 years of marriage in 2008. Six years later, a Swiss court ordered Rybolovlev to pay his ex $4.8 billion. Rybolovleva's windfall was not to be, however; in 2015, the court in Geneva reversed its decision and reduced her award to 564 million Swiss Francs. The pair are said to have amicably reached a settlement in October 2015; terms were not disclosed but it's estimated Rybolovleva's final payout was just north of $600 million.

    Dmitri Rybolovlev with his now ex-wife Elena attend the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters on April 21, 2012 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
    Federic Nebinger | WireImage | Getty Images
  • 7. Steven and Elaine Wynn

    Estimated settlement amount: $741 million

    In March 2010, Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn filed for divorce from wife Elaine and had to pay an estimated $741 million in Wynn Resorts stock. Now 76, Elaine Wiynn, a long-time member of Wynn's board, is the company's largest shareholder This was actually the second time that the couple divorced, the first being a five-year period starting in 1986, according to The New York Times.

    Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn and his former wife Elaine Wynn in 2005.
    Getty Images
  • 6. Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi

    Estimated settlement amount: $874 Million

    Although they filed for divorce in 1974, it took Soraya Khashoggi until 1979 to sue — to the tune of $2.54 billion — her ex-husband, Saudi billionaire entrepreneur and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. In 1982, the couple agreed to a settlement that reportedly landed British-born Soraya (nee Sandra Daly) $874 million. At one time, Adnan, who died at age 81 in 2017, was estimated to be worth $4 billion, but lost his billionaire distinction in 2007. Soraya, 77, has claimed she never actually received any cash from Adnan and now apparently lives a modest life in London.

    Adnan and Soraya Kashoggi. (Photo by Cecile TREAL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
    Cecile TREAL | Gamma-Rapho | Getty Images
  • 5. Harold Hamm and Sue Ann Arnall

    Estimated settlement amount: $974.8 million

    In 2012, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm and wife Sue Ann Hamm filed for divorce after 24 years of marriage. The oilman had an estimated $11 billion prior to the filing. In 2014, Hamm, now 73, was ordered to pay her 5 percent of his total net worth. He wrote her a check for $974,790,317.77 — which she reportedly promptly cashed.

    Harold Hamm and his wife Sue Ann Hamm, in April, 2012
    Kevin Mazur | WireImage | Getty Images
  • 4. Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone

    Estimated settlement amount: $1.2 billion

    The 2009 divorce between billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, now 88, and wife Slavica, a Croatia-born former model, was at the time thought to be the most expensive in history — in the range of $4 billion. However, the final settlement between Ecclestone and Slavica, now 60, is estimated by various reports to be in the range of $1 billion to $1.2 billion. The settlement has not been made public, but experts from across the globe believe the latter number is more realistic.

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18:  F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone poses with his wife Slavica Ecclestone (R) in front of photographers at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman Ron Walker at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 18, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
    Bryn Lennon | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
  • 3. Rupert and Anna Murdoch

    Estimated settlement amount: $1.7 billion

    In 2013, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his former wife, Anna (now Anna Murdoch Mann) divorced. After a marriage of 32 years and three children together, the couple split in 1999. Under terms of the settlement, $1.7 billion of Rupert's fortune (which included $110 million in cash) went to Anna. Seventeen days after the divorce was finalized, Rupert wed Wendi Deng, 38 years his junior, while Anna married investor William Mann several months later. Murdoch and Deng divorced in 2013; in 2016, he wed former model Jerry Hall — his fourth marriage.

    NEW YORK, NY - 1989: Rupert Murdoch with his wife Anna Murdoch and their son Lachlan Murdoch at their home in 1989 in New York City.  (Photo by Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images)
    Peter Carrette Archive | Hulton Archive | Getty Images
  • 2. Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein

    Estimated settlement amount: $3.8 billion

    Art dealer Alec Wilderstein and New York socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein divorced in 1999, and she was entitled to $2.5 billion and an annual $100 million for 13 years, according to Reuters. Jocelyn Wildenstein, widely known for her many cosmetic surgery procedures, was instructed by a judge not to use her alimony payments for cosmetic surgery, according to Reuters. She is now 78; Alec Wildenstein died of cancer in 2008 at age 67.

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 05:  Jocelyn Wildenstein discusses her engagement to Lloyd Klein at Baccarat Hotel on August 5, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
    Noam Galai | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
  • 1. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos

    Estimated settlement amount: As high as $68 billion

    It remains to be seen how the divorce of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos plays out but, given his status as the wealthiest man in the world, it's a sure bet the eventual settlement will place the exes at the top of the pack for expensive splits. Even if Bezos, like Harold Hamm, was ordered to pay his ex-wife just 5 percent of his total net worth, that would land her as much as $6.8 billion — easily beating Jocelyn Wildenstein. But with gossip websites like TMZ reporting the couple do not have a prenuptial agreement, MacKenzie Bezos could end up with 10 times as much.

    Correction: Entries were reordered because an earlier version did not account for inflation for all the amounts.

    24 April 2018, Germany, Berlin: Head of Amazon Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos arrive for the Axel Springer award ceremony. Bezos will be receiving the award later. Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa (Photo by Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images)
    picture alliance | picture alliance | Getty Images