Larry King Joins Nastiest Celebrity Divorces

King and Southwick join Gosselins, Charlie Sheen, Madonna and others.

April 15, 2010 — -- Divorce is never a walk in the park, but when fame and fortune play major roles, both parties usually end up battered and broken.

The latest case is Larry King, 76, and seventh wife Shawn Southwick, 50, who filed for divorce Wednesday. Already the split is shaping up to be a nasty one.

Sources told celebrity news Web site TMZ that Southwick believed King had been having an affair -- with her younger sister Shannon Engemann -- for five years. The Web site said Southwick discovered the affair when she checked King's credit card statement and saw a $160,000 car and a diamond necklace from Cartier. Southwick reportedly told a friend, "He never gave me a diamond necklace."

Engemann, 45, told TMZ Wednesday that King had indeed given her gifts for Christmas and her birthday, but she denied that they'd been having an affair.

"This is so ludicrous. She's singling me out, but Larry has been nothing but generous to our entire family, including me," Engemann said. "I'm tired for taking the rap for things. I did not have an affair with Larry. He's been like a father to me."

"I have a date tonight, and I'm not going to worry about it," Engemann added. "I love my sister. What's happening is not my fault."

King's rep did not respond immediately to's request for comment. Asked about the affair on his way into the Palm restaurant in Hollywood last night, King told a TMZ cameraman, "I don't know what you're talking about."

According to reports, there's been discord in the King-Southwick household for some time. Rumors of trouble between King and Southwick swirled in 2008, when she reportedly checked into rehab. At the time, King's spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, denied reports that their marriage was on the rocks.

In February, King joked in front of TMZ cameras that the couple was "hanging by a thread."

Surprisingly, the couple did not sign a prenuptual agreement prior to their wedding. King's attorney confirmed to Access Hollywood on Thursday that although the couple did not have a prenup, there was another agreement in place. He declined to discuss the details of the agreement.

King, who is divorcing for the eighth time, is no stranger marital breakups. And he has plenty of company. Below, check out 10 other noteworthy divorces and the salvos that make them infamous.

1. Jon Gosselin vs. Kate Gosselin

Just when it seemed the couple made famous (then infamous) by TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" couldn't spiral downward any further, Jon accused Kate last week of putting her dancing ambitions before their eight children and said he's going to court to ask for primary physical custody.

His lawyer Anthony F. List called Kate "an absentee mom" and cited "Dancing With the Stars" as evidence that she's not spending "quality time with the eight kids."

Gosselin's lawyer, Mark Momijan, shot back at the pair last Wednesday, directly questioning Jon's motives. "He's never questioned her ability to provide for their children," said Momijan of her ex, according to TMZ. "He's out of the limelight, while 23 million people are watching Kate on 'Dancing with the Stars.'"

2. Charlie Sheen vs. Denise Richards

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards' years-long back-and-forth made their divorce the subject of countless tabloid headlines, but the faux pas that took the cake came in June 2008, when Richards released a three-year-old, expletive-laced voice message from Sheen. The highlight: a curse-filled rant from Sheen calling his ex-wife -- and the mother of their two daughters Sam, 5, and Lola, 4 -- a "f**king c**t" and a "f**king n****r." Sheen, star of "Two and a Half Men," followed up by releasing an apology for what he called his "choice of words."

3. Christie Brinkley vs. Peter Cook

It's bad enough finding out about a husband's affair. Having to hear all the gory details divulged in court -- that can be nauseating, especially in the case of Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook. Their July 2008 divorce proceedings featured a torrent of torrid tales, including Cook's tearful admission that he enjoyed oral sex with his then-18-year-old assistant Diana Bianchi and his fondness for masturbating via webcam. No wonder Brinkley told Ladies' Home Journal "I would never get married again" in July 2009. "With what I know, I don't see why anyone would get married," she added.

After closing the books on their divorce last year, Brinkley and Cook recently decided to re-open that can of worms. Wednesday, they convened in a New York court, slinging charges and counter charges of violating the terms of their settlement and attempting to convince a judge that the other belongs in jail. A new trial is scheduled to start Tuesday.

4. Dina Lohan vs. Michael Lohan

For a while, it seemed the bulk of Dina and Michael Lohan's bickering concerned the fate of their most famous daughter, Lindsay, which might be expected from divorced parents new to Hollywood. But in July 2008 (apparently the summer of '08 slayed celebrity couples), a wild card entered the game: Michael Lohan learned of a love child he never new existed, a teenage half-sister of Lindsay and her three siblings that he fathered while separated from Dina. He even took a DNA test to confirm he was the girl's dad. Dina's response? She told "I feel bad for the little girl."

5. Madonna vs. Guy Ritchie

After trying to cover up their divorce for weeks, once Madonna and Guy Ritchie went public with the news in October 2008, the mud-slinging started in earnest. She took a swipe at him at a sold-out concert in Boston, introducing the song "Miles Away, " which was inspired by her relationship with Ritchie, by quipping, "This song is for the emotionally retarded. Maybe you know some people who fall into that category. God knows I do." In November's Esquire, Ritchie fought back, calling Madonna "retarded" while admitting he still loves her.

6. Heather Mills vs. Paul McCartney

To vent after his volatile divorce from Heather Mills, which ended with him writing her a check for $48.7 million, Paul McCartney took to the medium he knows best. In November 2008, he released the scathing song "Nothing Too Much, Just Out of Sight," featuring the rants, "The last thing you do was to try and betray me/ In new morning light/ I'll never forget it/ And that's just outta sight," and "And you have money/ And no manners." Ouch.

7. Britney Spears vs. Kevin Federline

Though their divorce proceedings went (relatively) smoothly, Britney Spears' custody battle with Kevin Federline over the custody of their sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, was a train wreck. The breakdown heard 'round the world happened in January 2008, when she refused to turn the boys over to Federline at the scheduled pick up time and hid with them in her home for more than four hours, until police forcibly removed her and checked her into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

8. Kim Basinger vs. Alec Baldwin

Like Spears and Federline, Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin's divorce drama paled in comparison to the fireworks set off during the custody battle over their daughter, Ireland. In the sixth year of the drawn-out fight, Baldwin called the then 11-year-old Ireland for a court-approved chat, but got her voicemail. He wasn't happy. "You are a rude, thoughtless little pig," Baldwin said in the message leaked on in April 2007. "You have humiliated me for the last time." Baldwin apologized in statement but alleged that Basinger leaked the tape. She refuted his claim, and Baldwin temporarily lost visitation rights.

9. Whitney Houston vs. Bobby Brown

Only recently did Whitney Houston divulge the disturbing details about her divorce from Bobby Brown. "He spit on me," Houston told Oprah Winfrey in September, recounting one of her worst fights with Brown. "He spit on me. He actually spit on me. And my daughter was coming down the stairs and she saw that." Houston's response? "I took the phone and I hit him over the head with it," she told Winfrey.

10. Tricia Walsh (aka the YouTube wife) vs. Paul Smith

Her name may not be as well known as the others on this list, but her salvo is the stuff of Web 2.0 legend. British actress Tricia Walsh eviscerated her ex-husband, theater mogul Paul Smith, in a 2008 YouTube video that listed her long list of grievances. Among them -- that Smith blamed high blood pressure for his refusal to have sex, even though he kept a stash of Viagra and pornography in their home.

The video initially landed Walsh in hot water -- a New York divorce judge ruled she carried out a campaign of harassment against Smith by releasing the video while their divorce proceedings were ongoing, ordered her to leave the couple's tony apartment and cut the value of her settlement. But Walsh bounced back in 2009 with another viral video, "Arm Candy," which she plans to develop into a musical.