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Marriage breakdowns Bill Gates and Melinda divorce: The world's most expensive big money splits revealed

While Bill Gates is worth over €100bn, it's thought he and his wife won't battle it out in court

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Bill Gates with his wife Melinda Gates (Chris Radburn/PA)

Bill Gates with his wife Melinda Gates (Chris Radburn/PA)

Bill Gates with his wife Melinda Gates (Chris Radburn/PA)

Microsoft chief Bill Gates has taken to Twitter to confirm he and his wife Melinda are filing for divorce.

The fourth richest man in the world, reported to be worth over €100bn, released a statement speaking of his pride of having raised three "incredible children" and having built a foundation that "works all over the world to enable people to lead healthy, productive lives”.

However, he said he and his wife could no longer "grow together".

He further added: "We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

Meanwhile, it is understood Melinda, when filing for the divorce, said "this marriage is irretrievably broken".

She also revealed that the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement.

It is unlikely the pair will go into court to battle it out over their vast wealth, having signed what’s known as a separation contract instead of a prenup.

Gates and Melinda married 27 years ago in Hawaii and the couple famously lived in an eco-friendly high-tech mansion in Washington State, USA.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the legacy of the couple's relationship - a philanthropic organisation which helps to reduce poverty around the world.

SundayWorld.com takes a look at some of the biggest divorce settlements in recent history.

Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos

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Mackenzie Bezos divorced her Amazon boss husband to the tune of  €32bn

Mackenzie Bezos divorced her Amazon boss husband to the tune of €32bn

Mackenzie Bezos divorced her Amazon boss husband to the tune of €32bn

SETTLEMENT: €32 BILLION

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world, estimated to be worth over €122 billion.

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The Bezos’ home state is Washington, which happens to be one of nine states where residents are entitled to a 50/50 split of marital assets.

It’s unclear whether or not the couple ever signed a pre-nuptial or postnuptial agreement. They divorced last year but the two said they will remain friends and a family with their four children.

Mackenzie reportedly walked away with €32 billion, making her one of the richest women in the world.

Rupert and Torv Murdoch

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Rupert Murdoch and wife Torv were divorced on 2011, with Torv walking away with €1.4bn in assets

Rupert Murdoch and wife Torv were divorced on 2011, with Torv walking away with €1.4bn in assets

Rupert Murdoch and wife Torv were divorced on 2011, with Torv walking away with €1.4bn in assets

SETTLEMENT: €1.5 BILLION

After 32 years of marriage, the Murdochs called it quits in 1999. Of the €1.5billion in assets Rupert gave to Torv, €97 million was in cash.

After the split, Rupert was married just 17 days later to 30-year-old Wendi Deng, who he met while married to Torv.

Murdoch filed for divorce from Deng in June 2013. “I think that Rupert’s affair with Wendi Deng — it’s not an original plot — was the end of the marriage,” Torv said in 2001. “I thought we had a wonderful, happy marriage. Obviously, we didn’t.”

“[He] was extremely hard, ruthless and determined that he was going to go through with this, no matter what I wanted or what I was trying to do to save the marriage. He had no interest in that whatsoever,” she added of a possible reconciliation.

Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore

SETTLEMENT: ESTIMATED €378M

Gibson revealed that the pair separated in 2006 the day after he was arrested in Malibu for an investigation of driving under the influence, which infamously led to Gibson’s expletive-ridden anti-Semitic tirade.

Moore filed for divorce in April 2009, citing irreconcilable differences. A month earlier, Gibson was spotted with singer-songwriter Oksana Grigorieva, who he had a child with in October of that year.

The couple’s prenup reportedly entitled Moore to half of everything Gibson earned from their marriage starting in 1980. It’s estimated Moore received about €378 million. The pair, who were married for nearly 30 years, have seven children together.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and ex-wife Maria Shriver

Arnold Schwarzenegger and ex-wife Maria Shriver

Arnold Schwarzenegger and ex-wife Maria Shriver

ESTIMATED SETTLEMENT €222M

Former Mr Universe and Governor of the state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to have it all, including a dream marriage with TV anchor Maria Shriver.

The two ended their marriage in2011 after 25 years together and it’s estimated that Maria received at least €222 million.

Michael & Juanita Jordan

SETTLEMENT: ESTIMATED €150M

Basketball player Michael married Juanita Vanoy during his second season with the Chicago Bulls in 1989 in a small Las Vegas wedding.

Vanoy filed for divorce in 2002, but the couple decided to try and work things out instead. At the end of 2006, the Jordans decided to split for good after 17 years together.

The couple’s lawyers released a statement saying the two “mutually and amicably” ended their marriage.

Neil Diamond and Marcia Murphey

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Garth Brooks was part of one of the biggest divorces in the country music scene

Garth Brooks was part of one of the biggest divorces in the country music scene

Garth Brooks was part of one of the biggest divorces in the country music scene


SETTLEMENT: REPORTED €133M

Singer Neil Diamond and Murphy divorced in March 1995 after 25 years of marriage. Diamond’s €267 million estate was divided up, with Murphy receiving half.

In 1996, Diamond said he blamed himself for much of the relationship going wrong.

“I assume a lot of responsibility for what went wrong, but I was taken aback by how many friends dropped me,” he said.

Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl

ESTIMATED SETTLEMENT €111M

Like a few other celebrity couples, Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl met in college. The two were married in 1986, and divorced to the tune of €111 million in 2001. Theirs is among the most expensive divorces in the country music scene.

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

SETTLEMENT: REPORTED €97M

Golfer Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren announced their divorce in 2010 after being married for six years.

After Woods crashed his Escalainto the tree outside his Florida home in 2009, he admitted to multiple affairs.

Nordegren received a reported €97 million in the settlement.

Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving

SETTLEMENT: ESTIMATED €89M

A California judge refused to recognise the couple’s prenuptial agreement scrawled on a napkin and awarded Irving $100 million (€89m) after her four years of marriage in 1989.

“During my marriage to Steven, I felt like a politician’s wife,” said Irving. “There were certain things expected of me that definitely weren’t me. One of my problems is that I’m very honest and direct. You pay a price for that. But then I behaved myself and I paid a price too.”

Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison

SETTLEMENT: BETWEEN €85M & €105M

Harrison Ford and screenwriter Melissa Mathison were together for 17 years.

They first met on the set of Apocalypse Now in 1979. The pair separated in 2000 amid reports he was seeing a younger woman. They divorced in 2003. Mathison died in 2015.

Madonna and Guy Richie

SETTLEMENT: €67M TO €81M

The director and singer called it quits in 2008 after being married for just under eight years.

In 2011, Ritchie opened up about the divorce, saying he felt like he stepped into a soap opera but that he didn’t regret his time with the singer. Madonna later said the spark went out in their relationship.

“It’s not as romantic as it used to be. You think, ‘This isn’t what I thought it was going to be,’ and ‘How much am I willing to sacrifice?’” Madonna said.

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

ESTIMATED SETTLEMENT: €44M

The former Beatle’s split from Mills in 2008 hit the headlines. McCartney — who married Mills at Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan in 2002 — later said his marriage to Mills was his biggest regret of the decade.

Donald and Ivana Trump

ESTIMATED SETTLEMENT: €22M

Donald Trump cheated on Ivana with his eventual second wife, Marla Maples, in a scandal that claimed many a headline.

Ivana reportedly told Maples: “You bitch, leave my husband alone.”

The divorce cost him an estimated €22m.


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