The juiciest part of any high-profile split is the money.
So when Bill and Melinda Gates made their surprising divorce announcement, attention quickly turned to their bank account — and how one of the world’s richest couples would divide their enormous wealth.
With an estimated $130 billion in assets, the Microsoft co-founder, 65, and Melinda Gates, 56, will likely be contenders for one of the costliest divorces ever — and joining the company of other billionaire couples, such as Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott or Jocelyn and Alec Wildenstein.
Here’s how the Gateses’ divorce could stack up beside some of the most expensive breakups in history:
Bill and Melinda Gates
Since the famed couple doesn’t have a prenuptial agreement, it’s unclear how they will distribute their $130 billion in assets.
Instead, the couple, who have been married for 27 years, signed a separation contract for dividing their property and possessions, though the terms haven’t been disclosed.
Among their most expensive assets is their 20-room family home in Medina, Wash. — dubbed "Xanadu 2.0." — which cost $60 million to build and initially boasted 20,000 square feet of living space.
Bill Gates also holds more than 100 million shares in the software company Microsoft, or about 1.3 percent of the company he co-founded in 1975.
Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott
The billionaire Amazon founder and his wife of 25 years announced their split in 2019. What followed was a costly divorce that made Scott the third-richest woman in the world.
She left Bezos with 75 percent of their shared stock in the e-tail giant, although she only kept nearly 20 million shares, which were valued at about $35 billion at the time.
With apparently no prenup in place, Scott could have laid claim to even more of their shared 16 percent stake in the company.
But market experts speculated she didn’t attempt to dilute Jeff’s control of the company because it could unnerve investors and reduce the value of Amazon shares.
Bezos also retained all the shares in the Washington Post, which he bought in 2013, and in his space company, Blue Origin.
Jocelyn and Alec Wildenstein
Jocelyn Wildenstein, who is known by her plastic surgery moniker, "Catwoman," had the priciest divorce settlement to date at the time when she split from her billionaire art dealer husband, Alec Wildenstein, in the late 1990s.
The breakup turned ugly after she caught him in bed with another woman, so Jocelyn walked away from the marriage with a cool $2.5 billion settlement.
But she appears to have run through most of her fortune, filing for bankruptcy in 2018.
Elon and Justine Musk
The billionaire Tesla boss was married to his first wife, Justine Musk, for eight years after their courtship began in college.
The couple had six sons together, including their oldest, Nevada, who died from sudden infant death syndrome.
In a blog post for Business Insider, Elon described how they share joint custody of their children and he foots the bill for their nannies’ salaries.
He said he also sends Justine $20,000 per month post-tax for clothing, shoes and other discretionary items.
In addition to giving her their Bel Air home, Elon claimed the split had saddled him with $170,000 average monthly legal bills.
Elon Musk and Talulah Riley
The second-richest man in the world has also divorced twice from the actress Talulah Riley.
After their first marriage ended in 2012, Riley reportedly walked away with $4.2 million.
They reconciled and wed again a year later, only for Elon to file for divorce in 2015.
That time, Musk agreed to pay her $16 million in the split, TMZ reported.
He is currently worth about $166 billion, according to Forbes.
Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone, the former Formula 1 boss, split from Croatian Armani model Slavica Radić after 24 years of marriage in 2009.
Though the couple has been mum on details of their settlement, Ecclestone is believed to have paid out around $1.2 billion to his ex-wife, the Sun reported.
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