most of us, tying the knot is a coin-toss, what with 50 percent of all marriages
ending in divorce.
Woods and Sarah Marie
Owen, Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones and Dudley Moore and wife Nicole
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.
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
million* Amy Irving's
$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
Burt Reynolds to Loni Anderson