Texas residents might remember some expensive celebrity divorces, but many of th most expensive ones have occurred among lesser-known couples. The wife of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev was originally awarded $4.5 billion, but it was reduced to $604 million. When the marriage of Saudi Arabian businessman Adnan Khashoggi to his wife Soraya ended in 1982, she was awarded the equivalent of $874 million.
Oil and gas executive Harold Hamm spent about $1 billion in total in his divorce from his wife Sue Ann, and about $974.8 million of that went to her. Steve and Elaine Wynn were married and divorced twice. It is estimated that she received around $1 billion. Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone were, respectively, a Formula One tycoon and a model. While Slavia was awarded about $1.2 billion, Bernie got about $500 million from a trust fund of Slavia's based on an arrangement made more than ten years before their divorce.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch paid his second wife $1.7 billion while he signed a prenuptial agreement with his third wife that resulted in a lesser settlement for her that still included luxury homes. Jocelyn Wildenstein received $2.5 billion when she and her husband Alec split up in 1999, and Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Potanin may pay his ex-wife Natalia $7 billion.
Even when fortunes are not in the billions, a high-asset divorce can be complex. Texas is a community property state, and this means that most property acquired after marriage will be split equally by the court unless the couple can otherwise agree. Even if a couple has signed a prenuptial agreement, one person might challenge it, and it could be set aside for a number of reasons including the finding that one of the parties was forced to sign it under duress.