Celebs' Prenups May Be as Important as 'I Do's

ByABC News via via logo

Nov. 11, 2006 — -- As more and more celebrities untie the knot, some find out that signing the dotted line of a prenuptial agreement can be just as important as saying "I do."

"Everybody gets married for love; nobody gets married with the idea of getting divorced," said New York celebrity divorce lawyer Raoul Felder. "Today if you don't have a prenup and you're getting married, you ought to see a psychiatrist and not a lawyer."

When Britney Spears popped the question to her then boyfriend Kevin Federline two years ago, she originally refused to sign a prenuptial agreement.

"Donald Trump … was very vocal about the fact that Britney Spears did not want to have a prenup when she was first marrying KFed," Dawn Yanek, editor-at-large at Life & Style Weekly, told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition." "Reportedly, Madonna also had a word or two with Britney about that. Thank goodness she listened to ... them and ... her legal advisers and family."

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban reportedly signed a prenup. As Kidman's first husband Tom Cruise prepares to walk down the aisle next weekend, people abuzz over whether TomKat will do the same.

"What we heard at Life & Style weekly is that Kate could get up to $33 million if those two divorce," Yanek said.

For unlucky couples like Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, or Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe, splitting up without a prenup can cost them dearly.

"Often when they first get married, they don't have any assets," Yanek said. "But suddenly one of you can make millions of dollars -- and under California state law, your spouse is legally entitled to half of that."

A prenup doesn't just protect a celebrity's money, it can also protect a reputation.

"Look at a couple like Heather Mills and Paul McCartney," Yanek said. "She's bringing up all of this dirty laundry, and it's getting really messy. With an ironclad prenup you would never be in this situation. … The thing is, all's fair in love and war."

Today Hollywood stars are getting smart, and money is not the only thing covered in a prenup, according to Yanek and Raoul.

"Celebrities are often known to stray from their significant others, and this has spawned the infidelity clause in lots of prenuptial agreements," Yanek said. "Basically, if one partner cheats, they owe the other partner a certain amount of money -- and that divorce settlement is going to be that much different.

"Now there are some celebrities who are rumored to have these infidelity clauses in their prenups," Yanek added, "and those include Michael Douglas and [Catherine Zeta Jones], and also Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen."

Some prenups even cover household chores or sexual habits.

"Some of the craziest things that I've ever had in a prenup agreement are deciding who takes out the laundry, who walks [the] dog or about sex practices, whether it's gonna be more than three times a week, less than once a year," Raoul said. "You can put all of that stuff in there, and people feel better when you put it in."

Unfortunately, the one clause that can't go in a prenup is "'till death do us part."

"Lawyers duke it out over the terms of these celebrities' prenups," Yanek said. "But the thing is, if that prenup comes to fruition, you're getting a divorce, and things are not ending so happily ever after."

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