or most of us, tying the knot is a coin-toss, what with 50 percent of all marriages ending in divorce.
  But in Hollywood, the land where prenuptial agreements typically begin with the words "When we go our separate ways...," it is, at best, a lottery.
  The most common scenario is as old as A Star is Born. One partner becomes fabulously famous and rich while the best the other can do is be cast opposite Joanna Kerns or Urkel in TV movies-of-the-week.
  The next most-common scenario is that you become famous and people are throwing themselves at you, while your spouse retains the same nobody-status you both had when you met. (See: Jim Carrey and Melissa Womer, and Neve Campbell and her hometown-Toronto husband, actor Jeffrey Colt).
  Both scenarios, and a whole slew of others, including adultery and just plain boredom, fall under the neat catch-all of "irreconcilable differences" - a category that provided the legal punctuation for the unions of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Rachel Hunter and Rod Stewart, Tom Arnold and Julie Champnella (although some suspect the real reason was she never gave him a TV show like his last wife), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek's beautiful Borg Seven of Nine) and Jack Ryan, Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson (co-creator of The Nanny), James

Woods and Sarah Marie Owen, Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones and Dudley Moore and wife Nicole (who claimed he "terrorized" her).
  There are other grounds of course. "Incompatibility" was the category chosen by Andre Agassi when he ran off to Las Vegas and reportedly obtained his divorce from Brooke Shields unilaterally.  And Tommy Lee Jones and his wife of 14 years, Kimberlea Gayle Cloughey, were granted a divorce two years ago on grounds of "a personality conflict."
  A court granted Ralph Fiennes and his wife, ER actress Alex Kingston, a divorce in 1997 on the quite reasonable grounds that they hadn't been living together for two years. He had taken up with an older woman, actress Francesca Annis.
  But for my money, the worst reason ever given for ending a marriage goes to Charlie Sheen, who explained that he was divorcing his model wife Donna Peele because he had become a born again Christian.  He could later be found talking religion with various prostitutes and with the staff at a famous Hollywood addiction treatment center.
  After the fact, of course, the warring parties are liable to elaborate on exactly what 

"irreconcilable" differences" means. Mimi Rogers was quoted as saying her marriage to Tom Cruise ended because he didn't like sex. She could have commiserated with Carol Channing who, in her divorce petition from the recently deceased Charles Lowe, said they'd only had sex twice in 41 years. Pietra Thornton, the wife of Billy Bob Thornton, filed for divorce on grounds of "brutalization." Tellingly, the judge slapped restraining orders against both of them.
  Not putting too fine a point on it, Linda Hamilton explained that in the case of her divorce from Titanic director James Cameron, irreconcilable differences means "we have nothing in common except our daughter. He's an absolutely miserable, miserable, unhappy man." Well, the crown of King of the World does not rest easily on one's head.
  And Michael Jackson was quoted as saying that he divorced Lisa Marie Presley because she was "invading my space".  Well, there was that and all the girl germs.
  Of course, when it comes to commenting on your ex, silence can be golden. The likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Roseanne are adamant about "no blab" clauses in their divorce settlements.  Roseanne's first husband, Bill Pentland (the only one with whom she didn't have a prenup) found out the hard way how binding such clauses are. He lost $7 million of his hefty settlement from her after he bad-mouthed her in an internet chat room.
  Given the hassle that comes with ending a lengthy Hollywood marriage, our hats are off to those who wake up the morning after the "I dos" and say, "What have I done?" and then do something about it fairly soon. Shannen Doherty and Ashley 
Hamilton called it quits before their first anniversary. Ditto Martin Lawrence, who paid more than $2 million for the wedding reception that included guests such as Eddie Murphy and Will Smith, but whose marriage to Patricia Southall, the mother of their young daughter, lasted mere months.

  Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman made it to five months (a rather long time considering he was already claiming days after the ceremony that he'd been drunk, making the marriage illegal), Drew Barrymore gave the best month of her life to her only husband, Jeremy Thomas.
  Catherine Oxenberg spent a memorable 19 days married to legendary film producer Robert Evans last year. She
then married Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) and, fingers crossed, they'll be celebrating their first anniversary this fall.
  But it's one of the old lions who shows young Hollywood how it's done. Among his five marriages, Dennis Hopper counted eight days of wedded bliss with Mamas and the Papas babe Michelle Phillips. Truly this was a man who knew how to cut and run.
  Then there are the couples who protest too much. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have threatened to sue any media outlets that maintain theirs isn't a real marriage. And Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson sicked their lawyers on the London Daily Telegraph for saying their marriage was in trouble.
  But it's worth remembering that the most successful of such litigious couples was Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, who in 1997 won $5 million from the tabloid Star over a story that said their marriage was on the rocks. A year later, they split up. They weren't required to give back the money.
  Ironically, California - home to Hollywood and a never-ending game of celebrity musical spouses - has one of the toughest palimony and property division laws in the world. Unless you have a prenup, it's 50-50, even if you simply live together.
  Which is why Kirstie Alley, in her divorce proceedings from husband Parker Stevenson, has been maintaining that their real place of residence is Maine. Conversely in Britain, where the marriage license means everything, Mick Jagger attempted to mount a legal defence that his Bali marriage to Jerry Hall wasn't legal. Thus in Mick's view, despite their many years and children together, he and Jerry were basically a couple of strangers passing in the night.
  But when you see the kind of money that changes hands with a Hollywood divorce, you can see why people fight in court like cats. Michael Douglas was philosophical about shelling out $45 million to ex-wife Diandra, but then she'd demanded $150 million and the gloves came off in court. And current recordholder Steven Spielberg, who paid out $100 million to ex-wife Amy Irving, could lose his spot soon. The exes of Luciano Pavarotti, James Cameron and media mogul Rupert Murdoch are seeking settlements in the hundreds of millions. Let the battles begin.
- Jim Slotek

Love Hurts:
Some of Hollywood's
largest divorce settlements:

$100 million* Amy Irving's
settlement from Steven Spielberg after their 34-month marriage ended. Still the gold standard for showbiz divorce.

$60 million Kenny Rogers to fourth wife Marianne

$45 million Michael Douglas to wife Diandra

$40 million Kevin Costner to Cindy, his wife of 16 years

$30 million Ted Danson to wife Casey. He left her for Whoopi Goldberg

$25 million Clint Eastwood to Maggie, his wife of 31 years

$20 million Bruce Springsteen to Julianne Phillips

$20 million Johnny Carson to third wife Joanna

$12 million Sylvester Stallone to wife Sasha

$6 million Sylvester Stallone to Brigitte Nielsen

$3.5 million Jim Carrey to first wife Melissa Womer

$2 million Burt Reynolds to Loni Anderson

* all figures in U.S. dollars