6 Famous Prenup Screw-Ups

By Brigitte Yuille | February 09, 2010 AAA
6 Famous Prenup Screw-Ups

Celebrities' relationships are known to end as quickly as they begin, which explains why many lawyers have advised an iron-clad prenuptial agreement.

Eyebrows were raised when reality TV star Khloe Kardashian of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and professional basketball player Lamar Odom of the LA Lakers recently rushed to the altar after a month courtship without a prenup.

However, as the couple enjoyed their initial days as man and wife lawyers were at work constructing a deal. The agreement is ultimately alleged to provide Mrs. Odom with: $500,000 for every year they were married, $25,000 in general support, their house, a new luxury vehicle at the end of every lease cycle, $5,000 per month for shopping, $1,000 a month for beauty care, and Lakers tickets for Kardashians friends and family. (It's not just prenups, read Create A Pain-Free Postnuptial Agreement.)


On the other hand, many stars have walked down the aisle certain that their marital bliss would stand the test of time. They've either ignored lawyers' advice to sign the legal document, fired their lawyer for the suggesting an agreement or simply refused to provide their signature.

Here's a look at how six celebrity couples parted without the legal contract to protect their estate and wallets.

  • Mel Gibson and Robyn Denise Moore Gibson
    Oscar-winning actor Mel Gibson and his wife Robyn Denise Moore Gibson divorced due to "irreconcilable differences" after 28 years of marriage. They separated less than a month after his infamous DUI arrest in 2006. Mel Gibson's fortune was estimated at $900 million and under California law marital assets are split evenly. The divorce was finalized last year, however, the former spouses asked the courts to have their divorce settlement kept private.

  • Madonna and Guy Ritchie
    British filmmaker Guy Ritchie didn't intend on a multimillion dollar payout when he married pop-singer Madonna in 2000. Madonna and Ritchie broke up after nearly eight years of marriage as Yankee's slugger's Alex Rodriguez's wife accused Madonna for the collapse of her marriage. Madonna and Ritchie had a "quickie divorce" in the High Court of London resulting in Ritchie receiving between $76 and $92 million in the settlement. (Learn more about the finances of divorce in Marriage, Divorce And The Dotted Line.)

  • Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe
    Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon split with actor Ryan Phillippe of "Flags of Our Fathers" after seven years and reports of infidelity. Witherspoon was earning more than $15 million per film at the time. Phillippe earned within the range of $3 million a film. The couple co-starred in the movie "Cruel Intentions" and married in 1999. Witherspoon requested no spousal support and Phillippe didn't ask for it, but California law entitled Phillippe to half of Witherspoon's fortune.

  • Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson
    Jessica Simpson refused to sign a prenuptial agreement when she married Nick Lachey of the boy band "98 Degrees" in 2002, but as Simpson's star quickly rose she amassed a fortune and gained more earning power. The couple that starred in MTV reality show "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica," ended up separating in the fall of 2005 citing "irreconcilable differences." Simpson was worth more than $35 million at that point. Simpson's father reportedly offered Lachey a $1.5 million settlement, but Lachey refused. He ultimately walked away with more, but considerably less than what was earned during the marriage.

  • Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin
    Actor Alec Baldwin ignored advice from his advisors to get a prenuptial agreement, believing that he and actress Kim Basinger wouldn't part. The couple met on the set of "The Marrying Man" in 1991 and married two years later. The two stars began their bitter split in 2000 with Basinger filing for divorce. It was finalized in 2002 and continued a tumultuous custody battle.

  • Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold
    Comedienne Roseanne Barr fired her attorney for suggesting that she sign a prenuptial agreement with "True Lies" actor Tom Arnold who had also worked as a writer on Barr's sitcom "Roseanne." They married in January of 1990 but split four years later. Arnold is reported to have walked away with a healthy $50 million.

Hollywood relationships are often fleeting. Having an iron-clad prenuptial agreements may help alleviate some of the trauma of a publicized celebrity divorce. (Learn more about divorce in Get Through A Divorce With Your Finances Intact.)


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