The most expensive divorces ever as Bill Gates announces split from wife Melinda with $130 billion fortune to be split
NO one says "I do" at the altar believing that, one day, they're going to end up in a legal fight with their spouse about who gets to keep the private jet.
But despite having every resource available to make a marriage work, billionaires do end up in divorce proceedings like the rest of us — with Bill and Melinda Gates the latest power couple left wondering how they'll carve up their $130bn fortune.
Microsoft co-founder Bill, 65, and 56-year-old Melinda are calling it quits after 27 years of marriage and raising three kids together.
"The marriage is irretrievably broken," their divorce documents say, also adding that the couple don't have a pre-nup.
"We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract."
It's thought the divorce will be the most expensive since Amazon boss Jeff Bezos' split from MacKenzie Scott in 2019, in which he paid out around $38billion.
From sports stars' separations to tech tycoons' secret trysts, here are some of the biggest billionaire divorces in history.
Sex, blackmail and billions at stake
Who: Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott
Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott's explosive split was shocking — and not just because of the eye-watering numbers involved.
When the divorce was finalised in 2019, Scott received $35.6billion in Amazon stock, making her the third-richest woman in the world — she's now the richest as her net worth rocketed to $62billion by late 2020 thanks to Amazon's value exploding during the pandemic.
Bezos, 57, met Scott, 51, when she worked as his assistant at an investment firm in the early 90s.
They married in 1993 and went on to have four kids together, including one adopted from China, but things fell apart three years ago.
The National Enquirer published details of Bezos' affair with news anchor Lauren Sanchez, with the Amazon founder publicly accusing the newspaper's owners of blackmail when they claimed to have naked pictures of Bezos.
A lawsuit later alleged the compromising pictures were obtained by Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and then leaked for political reasons, but the Saudi government has denied the accusation.
Bezos and Sanchez are still in a relationship while Scott remarried in March this year to high school chemistry teacher Dan Jewett.
Arms dealer's divorce disaster
Who: Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi
Saudi Arabia also has links to one of the other biggest billionaire divorces in history.
Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi arms dealer who built a $4billion fortune, divorced Englishwoman Sandra Daly in 1974 — in a reported $874million split, which was the most expensive in history at the time.
Daly, who grew up on a council estate in Leicester, was in her early 20s when she met Khashoggi on a trip to Paris before marrying in 1961.
She converted to Islam during their relationship and changed her name to Soraya.
They had four sons together and a daughter named Nabila, after whom Khashoggi named a 281ft superyacht which was for a time the world's largest and featured in the Bond film Never Say Never Again.
It was later sold to Donald Trump for $29million — he renamed the vessel "Trump Princess".
Khashoggi also kept a harem of "pleasure wives" who he flew around the world for sex, including the ex-Vogue model Jill Dodd.
The arms dealer died in London while being treated for Parkinson's disease in 2017 aged 81.
Soraya was found living in a modest flat in West London four years ago.
Millions splurged on surgery
Who: Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein
Adnan Khashoggi also played matchmaker to another couple who ended up having one of the most expensive divorces in history.
In 1977, he introduced Swiss socialite Jocelynnys Dayannys da Silva Bezerra Périsset to horse-racing expert Alec Wildenstein on safari in Kenya.
They married the following year and went on to have two kids together, with Jocelynnys later becoming known as Jocelyn.
After a year of marriage, Jocelyn began having a series of expensive cosmetic surgeries to make her appearance more "feline" to please her husband, the Independent reports.
She's since claimed to have spent over £5million on operations, vowing to continue having work done into her 80s.
In 1997, Jocelyn claimed to have found Alec in bed with a 21-year-old Russian model, Yelena Jarikova, and a fight ensued in which Alec allegedly pulled a gun on Jocelyn and ended up spending the night in jail.
A two-year divorce battle followed, in which Jocelyn was ultimately given a $2.5billion settlement and $100million every year for 13 years afterward.
Alec passed away in 2008 aged 67.
Affairs with '120 women'
Who: Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
The Wildensteins' divorce came after over 20 years of marriage — whereas Tiger Woods' breathtaking split came after just six.
Elin Nordegren divorced the golf legend in 2010 for a reported $110million.
The Swedish model met Woods at the 2001 Open Championship before marrying three years later in Barbados.
But by 2009, the year their second child was born, the marriage unravelled in spectacular circumstances.
The National Enquirer published claims Woods had an affair with nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel.
It would ultimately emerge that he reportedly slept with 120 women while still married to Nordegren.
He was also accused of spending tens of thousands of pounds on escort girls while playing in tournaments.
Woods was subsequently forced to apologise for his infidelity and attend a rehab course for sex addiction.
Double divorce proceedings
Who: Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy
Woods isn't the only sports star whose divorce proceedings landed in the rough.
NBA hero Michael Jordan married Juanita Vanoy at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas in 1989 and ended up going through two separate divorce sagas with her.
The couple had three kids together but, in 2002, they filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.
Despite the filing, they decided to try and salvage the marriage.
But ultimately ended up seeking divorce again in 2006.
"Michael and Juanita Jordan mutually and amicably decided to end their 17-year marriage," the couple's lawyers said in a statement, People reports.
Vanoy received a $168million settlement, which made it the most expensive celebrity divorce at the time, eclipsing Neil Diamond's 1995 divorce from Marcia Murphey which cost him an estimated $150million.
Dad and daughter's billion-dollar cases
Who: Bernie Ecclestone and Slavica Radić
Even sports magnates have been sucked into costly divorce proceedings too.
Bernie Ecclestone, the inscrutable former Formula 1 boss, is thought to have paid out around $1.2billion in his 2009 divorce.
He split from Croatian Armani model Slavica Radić after 24 years of marriage.
After their staggering split, their daughter Petra went through her own £5billion divorce from playboy businessman James Stunt in 2017.
At the time of the tense legal proceedings, during which Stunt called Bernie a c***, the warring couple's astonishing assets included a £158million LA mansion and a £100million home in Chelsea, west London.
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