'Gal-imony': Celeb Women Who Pay in the Divorce

Kate Walsh is hoping to avoid joining the ranks of other well-heeled celebrity women who've had to pay their ex-husbands after their divorces were final.

According to E! online, the star of the ABC show "Private Practice" has taken the pre-emptive measure of filing legal papers in an attempt to stop the court from awarding alimony to her estranged husband, film producer Alex Young, in their ongoing divorce battle.

Walsh and Young were married in September 2007. By last December, a short 15 months later, their marriage was over. Young filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Walsh counter-sued two weeks later, claiming the relationship actually ended five days before Young said.

Perhaps Walsh has seen what's happened in recent years to other successful celebrity women, like Madonna, Britney Spears and Anne Heche, when they filed for divorce. In all three cases, the women not only earned more money than their former spouses but they ended up supporting their ex's after they split.

Kate Walsh and estranged husband Alex Young.

"Why should it be any different for women than it should be for men?" L.A.-based divorce attorney William Glucksman told ABCNews.com.

With women, in both the celebrity and business worlds, earning more and an evolution in matrimonial law to create more parity, Glucksman says women who pay spousal support are becoming more common.

Similarly, there's been an increase in women paying child support. More than half of divorce lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers last year cited an increase in the number of mothers assigned to make child support payments over the past five years.

"It's an outgrowth of many years of elimination of gender bias in matrimonial law," Glucksman said about the increased liability of women in divorces today. Slower to change has been the public's attitude about women paying in a divorce. "It's taken longer for people's philosophies and expectations to change," Glucksman said.

That includes men. "Many husbands whose philosophies or emotions are rooted in the more traditional or old world thinking don't want to ask for alimony," he said. "But I think it's incumbent upon attorneys or counsel to level the playing field. They have just as much right as a woman does. They shouldn't feel bad."

They are in good company. ABCNews.com takes a look at several high-profile divorces where the woman ended up paying alimony or "gal-imony."

Madonna

Madonna and ex-husband Guy Ritchie.

The Material Girl's reported $76-$96 million settlement with ex Guy Ritchie was considered a record payout, let alone one by a woman.

Even her publicist Liz Rosenberg acknowledged its significance. "I'd assume it's one of the largest payouts ever in a divorce settlement," Rosenberg told the AP. Not long after, Madonna and Ritchie issued their own statement refuting the settlement amount.

"We have tried to maintain a dignified silence regarding the details of our divorce for the last few months whilst accepting the obvious media interest. A misleading and inaccurate statement, specifically in relation to the sums of money involved, was wrongly issued ... this week," their statement read. "The financial details of the settlement will remain private, save to say that both of us are happy with our agreement."

It's probably safe to add that Ritchie was likely happier with his end of the deal, since Madonna was the one paying.

Kirstie Alley

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