Divorce Has a Hefty Price Tag for Celebrities, Billionaires

Divorce in itself is ugly enough, but for the rich and famous, having all the expensive details fleshed out in the press is not exactly icing on top of the ruined memories of their wedding day.

The recent nasty split of R&B couple Kelis and Nas is about to get very costly for Nas. On July 23, a judge ordered him to pay nearly $44,000 in monthly alimony and child support to the "Milkshake" singer, just hours after she gave birth to the ex-couple's first and only child.

Nas has also been ordered by an L.A. Superior Court judge to pay $45,000 for his estranged ex's attorney fees. The former couple is due in court on Sept. 8 for a hearing regarding monthly support payments.

Nas and Kelis aren't the only power couple to have expensive marital troubles.

"Because of the Internet and the more salacious nature of global society, a lot of high-profile cases are getting played out in the media," said Laura Wasser, a Los Angeles-based divorce lawyer who has represented many celebrities. "It's not necessarily a good thing for the litigants or judicial officers. You should be able to have litigation as personal as a family law matter not open to the public."

What makes divorce settlements so challenging? In contested divorce cases, each party involved has differing ideas of what assets -- ranging from real estate to stocks -- their soon-to-be former spouse is entitled to.

"This lifestyle that these people have lived has been incorporated in the very soul of their being," said Malcolm Taub, a prominent divorce lawyer in New York. "Each of the parties has a sense of correctness and an absolute right to continue the life they had during the marriage."

High-profile divorces can be especially painful in cases that involve a celebrity spouse and a nonfamous party.

"One of the parties may feel dethroned," Taub said. "Usually that creates pain and usually the remedy of that is to seek at least a major share of the assets accumulated during marriage. Contested, high-profile divorces are fought with pain, issues and unfortunately a great deal of loss."

Other ex-husbands, such as Michael Jordan, Craig McCaw and Neil Diamond, are all paying their ex-wives generous amounts of alimony.

"There are always issues of valuation in high-profile cases, but there are also human issues," Taub said of big settlements. "People may want to avoid the spotlight of the public and are willing to make compromises in order to put the case behind them."

While some high-profile divorces have managed to stay sealed (Texas billionaire David Saperstein is rumored to have paid his ex-wife more than $500 million), here's a look at eight of the most expensive divorces of all time.

Rupert and Anna Murdoch -- $1.7 billion

Hailed as the most expensive divorce in the world, Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, 78, paid $1.7 billion of his assets, with $110 million of it in cash, to ex-wife Anna Murdoch Mann, after a bitter divorce. The ex-couple, who were married for 32 years and had three children, are now both remarried, but have had their fair share of heated debate since then.

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