It's a sad statistic that half of all marriages – at least in the United States – end in divorce. A couple choosing to sever their matrimonial ties has become so commonplace that more often than not, they are completely unremarkable. Sure, from time to time, some divorce gets particularly ugly and makes the local news in some places. But by and large, nobody really bats an eye when it comes to the subject of divorce.
Unless of course, it's somebody particularly wealthy or famous – or both – who are the ones getting divorced. And that's because there is so much money at play – and seemingly more often than not, a salacious story or two to be had – that people are endlessly fascinated by one couple's tale of woe. Of course, in a lot of cases, the couple in question, or at least one half of the couple in question, goes out of their way to put themselves and their divorce in the spotlight. Yeah, we're looking at you Joumana Kidd, Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries, and Siohvaughn Funches.
Celebrities and professional athletes live their lives in a fishbowl. We, the public, are privy to some of their most intimate moments, greatest achievements, and even their worst days and situations. We can't seem to get enough of it, as the thriving paparazzi industry can tell you. Right or wrong, like it or not, the public clamors for the stories and the information that comes from the private lives of public figures. Thanks to the power of the tabloids as well as social media, we know when a celebrity or athlete files for divorce – sometimes even before their partners do.
It's that clamor for knowledge and information that has allowed us to glimpse at some of the financial impact whenever a celebrity couple calls it quits. Maybe some would argue that we don't have a right to know, but the media supplies us with the information anyway.
So with all of that in mind, let's look at some of the more expensive divorces of some professional athletes...
14 Shaquille & Shaunie O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal, aka Superman, aka the Diesel, aka – whatever nickname he drops on himself this week, is one of the greatest centers to ever play the game. By some estimates, over the course of his career, Shaq pocketed a cool $300 million in salary and endorsements. Needless to say, he's not hurting for money. But that savings account got a bit lighter when his wife Shaunie filed for divorce, claiming rampant infidelity. A detailed account of the settlement wasn't released publicly, but it has been reported that Shaq is paying her at least $20,000/month in alimony. And with his fortune being what it is, it's pretty certain that the payout was as hefty as he is.
13 Sugar Ray Leonard & Juanita Wilkinson
Over the course of his brilliant boxing career, Sugar Ray Leonard raked in a ton of cash in purses as well as endorsements. For a while there, boxing, as well as non-boxing fans, knew and loved Sugar Ray. He had that crossover appeal. But in 1990, his former high school sweetheart Juanita filed for divorce citing physical abuse and cocaine use by the boxing champ. He later acknowledged the allegations were true. The actual figure of the settlement was sealed but it was reported that Juanita was asking for up to $50,000/month in alimony. Given the allegations as well as the fortune he amassed, we're certain that Sugar Ray paid out a hefty sum for his divorce.
12 Charlie & Kenya Bell
Charlie Bell went undrafted out of college back in 2001. Since then, he's played for a number of NBA clubs, but has played the bulk of his career overseas. Needless to say, Bell hasn't made a ton of money in his career. But that didn't stop his wife Kenya, from taking him to the cleaners when he filed for divorce back in 2012. Kenya, one of the stars of VH1's Basketball Wives – a reality show about the wives of NBA players – was awarded the marital home in Michigan, the home purchase for her parents, $780,000 of Charlie's savings, half of their $670,000 joint account, and $1,000/month in child support. But Kenya also gets half Charlie's NBA benefits – his 401k plan, pension, welfare plan, and supplemental benefit plan. Out of the divorce, Charlie gets – well – whatever was left. Which wasn't much.
11 Dwyane Wade & Siovaughn Funches
Dwyane Wade's divorce from Siovaughn Funches was a long, drawn out, and thanks to Funches, very public spectacle. It has been reported that because of the nearly $12 million dollars Wade makes in endorsement money each year – money a judge ruled Funches is not entitled to – she has made a public spectacle of herself and Wade, claiming that their divorce has left her homeless and destitute. This despite a $5 million dollar settlement, along with $300,000 in alimony annually. Most of us would give our left arm to be that destitute.
10 Mike Tyson & Robin Givens
From the start, boxer Mike Tyson and actress Robin Givens looked like an odd pairing. To say the least. It was a whirlwind romance that resulted in a brief marriage between the two 11 months later. Not surprisingly, it didn't last. After a marriage of just over a year, Tyson and Givens divorced and she was handed a $10 million dollar payout. The fallout of the divorce – and her subsequent interviews – made her one of the most hated women in America.
9 Hulk & Linda Hogan
For a little while, Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, was one of the most recognizable celebrities in America. Perhaps even around the world. Amid allegations of cheating, Hogan's wife Linda filed for divorce. In the settlement, it was reported that she pulled in 70% of the couple's liquid assets – $7.44 million of their $10.41 million. She also received 40% ownership in his various companies, as well as a $3 million property settlement. The only thing she apparently didn't get was alimony.
8 Deion & Pilar Sanders
Neon Deion could light up a football field like few others. Unfortunately, for him, he didn't have the same sort of electricity when it came to keeping a marriage intact. They'd had a drama-filled 14 year union, that was finally dissolved in 2013 – much to Deion's delight. The problem for Pilar though, is that in the prenup, all she was entitled to was a home that was half as much as the one they lived in – which would still amount to a $10-12 million dollar house, which is what she posted on Twitter that she was in the market for.
7 Nick & Valerie Faldo
Apparently, the third time is not the charm for Nick Faldo, who filed for divorce from his third wife, Valerie – the woman he proclaimed to be “The One.” Though infidelity had broken up Faldo's first two marriages, it's been reported that Valerie's “high maintenance” attitude and unwillingness to play second fiddle to her husband, is the reason for the split – which sort of sounds “chauvinistic” to many of us. Whatever the real reason for the breakdown, it cost Nick the healthy sum of $11.8 million dollars to free him up to find the “Next One.”
6 Alex Rodriguez & Cynthia Scurtis
Before he became the posterchild for performance enhancing drugs and cheating, Alex Rodriguez used to be a pretty good ballplayer. Good enough to land himself two different contracts worth a quarter of a billion dollars each. But A-Rod doesn't just cheat on the baseball field, he apparently cheats in his relationships as well. His philandering ways – which included stints with various strippers and even Madonna – didn't set well with his wife at the time, Cynthia Scurtis. Though details of the settlement have been kept out of the public, Scurtis did walk away with the couple's $12 million dollar Coral Gables mansion, as well as an “equitable split” of assets acquired over their 5 year marriage. Given that A-Rod made more than $20 million a season, that “equitable” split is sure to be quite an eye-popping number.
5 Lance & Kristin Armstrong
Without a doubt, Lance Armstrong was one of the most popular and inspirational athletes in the world. With seven consecutive Tour de France wins under his belt, Armstrong was internationally celebrated. Yeah, except for that whole PED thing. Anyway, Armstrong's home life got just as rocky when he dumped his wife, Kristin in favor of singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. Apparently, all he wanted to do was have some fun and in the end, according to Armstrong's biographer, it cost him $14 million dollars to do it.
4 Michael Strahan & Jean Muggli
Sure, he's one of America's most beloved daytime talk show hosts now, and has carved out a niche for himself in the media, but it wasn't always that way. Back in 2006, Strahan was embroiled in a bitterly nasty divorce that included allegations of spousal abuse, infidelity, and child neglect. In the end, it cost Strahan nearly $15 million dollars and an additional $18,000/month in child support to finalize his split. Good thing he has a day job.
3 Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren
This story couldn't have gone any worse for Tiger. The story of Tiger's rampant infidelity was front page news on the tabloids for weeks. Conversely though, the story about an enraged Elin battering him with his own golf clubs faded out for a couple of days. Which proves that sex sells! The divorce from the Swedish model cost Tiger a cool $100 million dollars from his vast fortune. But more than that, in the wake of the scandal that surrounded him, Tiger lost endorsement deals with several very prominent companies which cost him tens of millions of dollars a year in additional money. It's no wonder that he's played so poorly since then, as he's obviously been distracted by the sight of so much money going down the drain!
2 Greg Norman & Laura Andrassy
The Shark was once one of the greatest golfers on the PGA tour. Unfortunately for him, he'll be remembered best for an epic meltdown one weekend in 1996 at the Masters where he blew a 6-stroke lead and lost by 5. But what lands him on this list is his divorce from his wife Laura Andrassy – after 25 years of marriage. The dissolution of their vows cost him a very tidy sum of $104 million in settlement money. That has to hurt more than nearly getting your hand cut off by a chainsaw.
1 Michael & Juanita Jordan
When you're an international superstar like Michael Jordan, with a brand that reaches around the world, you have access to – well – just about anything you could ever want. Including women. Which is something that has gotten him into trouble more than once. Amid allegations of infidelity, MJ's wife Juanita filed for divorce. And in one of the most expensive divorces an athlete has ever had, Juanita slam dunked MJ for a $168 million settlement. Good thing he's got those underwear commercials going for him.