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Dough-Re-Mi: Music’s Most Expensive Divorces

Stop The Presses!

Well, now we really know why Madonna's been working it so hard on her latest tour: the Material Girl's got bills to pay!

Last year the Associated Press reported that Madonna will shell out somewhere between $76 and $92 million to settle her divorce from Guy Ritchie, her husband of eight years. The Lordly (as opposed to merely Princely) sum includes a country home in Ritchie's native England as well as a London pub, where the movie director will no doubt have plenty of willing drinking buddies to help wash away the pain of both his failed marriage and, perhaps more pertinently, his gone-South filmmaking career.

They say major events often happen in threes, and it is significant to note that, just as 2008 wound down, the Madonna moolahthon snuck under the wire as the year's third huge music-accented divorce settlement. Last March, you'll recall, a British court awarded Heather Mills $50 million in her nasty divorce from Paul McCartney. Then in August '08, there was Phil Collins' less nasty but just as costly $50 million settlement from Orianne Cevey--as opposed to Collins' previous marriage, which he famously ended in 1994 via a kiss-off fax to Jill Tavelman, and which cost him another cool $34 million. No "Invisible Touch" there.

Of course, Madonna's not the first diva to seriously divest in a divorce. In 2002, following the dissolution of a 13-year relationship that included a "secret" nine-year marriage, Janet Jackson gave dancer/collaborator Rene Elizondo an estimated $15 million in a settlement that included a $120,000 Mercedes and their $8 million beachfront home in Malibu. (Hhmmm...Maybe her infamous 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction happened because she'd left all her better-fitting clothing in the closet there.)

Speaking of malfunctions, serially distressed Nicole Richie's dad Lionel Richie is another music celeb whose divorce went the messy and expensive route. In 2004, the former Commodores vocalist and solo star forked over a decidedly un-"Easy" $20 million to his second wife, the former Randy Alexander, whom he married in 1993 after his long-running affair with her was discovered by first wife Brenda Harvey. Randy's alimony petition claimed a "necessary" expense of $20,000 a year for cosmetic surgery; probably not what Richie envisioned when he wrote "Three Times A Lady."

Ex-Beatle McCartney's friendly old competitor Mick Jagger went through his own money jungle divorce in 1999 in his split from second wife Jeri Hall. They'd finally married in 1990, long after the Rolling Stones frontman's affair with her was discovered by his first wife, the former Bianca De Macias (notice a theme here?). Ever the shrewd businessman, Jagger successfully challenged the entire legality of his marriage to Hall, since they'd tied the knot in a traditional Hindi ceremony in Indonesia. Mick got an annulment and Hall, the mother of four of Jagger's seven children, wound up with somewhere between $15 and $25 million; no chump change to be sure, but considering Jagger's then-estimated net worth of $325 million, not exactly financial "Satisfaction," either.

Still, the mother of all music-related divorces has to be the oldie-but-goodie settlement between Neil Diamond and second wife Marcia Murphey, a TV production assistant whom the singer-songwriter wed just as his career was about to take off for the stratosphere in the late 1960s. After 25 years together, Murphey sued for divorce in 1994, and came away with half of Diamond's fortune--to the sweet (Caroline) tune of $150,000,000. Lesser men might have walked away gurgling "Love On The Rocks," but not the ever-cheerful Mr. Diamond. As he said later, she was "worth every penny."

Holly holy, indeed.

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