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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 11/24/2008

Comment Box: For Stars, It Pays to Marry

By Liz Kelly

A clue and a standard pre-nup agreement. What Johnny Carson, here dressed as 'Carnac, the Magnificent,' bought with the remains of his fortune after settling $20 million on ex Joanna Holland. (AP)
Comment Box

Bad breakups: Going back a bit, but wasn't Johnny Carson's breakup with his third wife Joanna considered the most expensive divorce at the time? He got his money's worth, though, in comic value. -- Submitted to last week's Celebritology Live discussion

Johnny Carson's 1985 divorce settlement -- three years in the making -- left the longtime "Tonight Show" host's wallet $20 million dollars lighter and was definitely a big payout for the time. In today's dollars that would translate into a hefty $33 million -- and firmly place Carson and Joanna Holland among the top 10 most expensive celebrity divorces.

But the biggest settlement of all was given to Michael Jordan's ex, Juanita Vanoy, who walked away from her 12-year marriage to the Chicago Bulls megastar with a super-sized payout of $168 million. Not a big surprise considering Jordan's high profile in the NBA and his multi-million dollar Nike contracts. Other notable settlements include Stephen Spielberg and Amy Irving ($100 million), Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison ($85 million) and Michael and Diandra Douglas ($45 million). Forbes has conveniently listed the top 10 here.

This, of course, stands in stark contrast to Friday's quickie divorce settlement between Madonna and Guy Ritchie. According to British newspaper reports, Madonna will keep the bulk of her $500 million fortune. With the memory of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills's nasty, protracted divorce still fresh in our minds, word that Ritchie had passed on staking his claim to a portion of Madge's earnings garnered the director high praise last week. But, not so fast -- reports surfacing in tabloids claim Ritchie did in fact receive a settlement of $70 million.

Spontaneous Listage
Last week, Britney Spears's comment that she married Kevin Federline for all the wrong reasons prompted an impromptu list to form in the comments section of Thursday's Morning Mix. I've cleaned it up and compiled it below:

Top 10 Wrong Reasons Brit Married K-Fed
10. His rockin' dance moves.
9. The man wears a fedora. Need I say anything more?
8. He had a pregnant girlfriend when you picked him to be Britney's husband.
7. Attempt to get over that 55-hour-long previous marriage to Jason Alexander (itself a mistake in that she thought he'd played George on Seinfeld).
6. Nobody deserves Lynne Spears as a mother-in-law.
5. Cameo on Taco Bell Commercial deadly accurate.
4. Poor (very poor) substitute for Justin Timberlake.
3. Getting married to or having babies with a backup dancer whose own fame pales next to yours is never a good indicator of a long-term commitment (cf. Judd, Cris; Leon, Carlos).
2. Documenting the courtship and clearly not viewing the tape prior walking the aisle. Also, the sweatshirts with "pimp" embroidered on the back.
1. Because she's Britney, b*tch.

(Bonus points to td in Baltimore for this poser: "Just what are the right reasons for marrying K-Fed?")

Comments of the Week
"Somehow the fact that Eva Longoria wears Spanx makes her seem more human. Not entirely, just more." -- reddragon1

"Gwynnie's insouciant close to latest blog: 'Next week I ask my sages what it means to BE truly grateful on Thanksgiving.' Funny, I was already planning to consult my flat Italian parsley." -- Nosy Parker

By Liz Kelly  | November 24, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Comment Box  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Mix: Amy Winehouse Says She's Headed for Divorce
Next: Morning Mix: Amy Winehouse Back in Hospital


Spy Magazine ran an article a long time ago called "When You Sweat Upon A Star". Seems to be pretty lucrative work if you can get it.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 24, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the K-Fed bonus, Liz! And hey, that Forbes list is interesting.

I can see why Phil Collins sang, "Take a look at me now, where there's just an empty space" -- in his WALLET. Twice!

Poor Melissa Matheson. No mention of her writing the screenplay for "E.T." Forbes has reduced her to being Harrison Ford's ex only.

At least Amy Irving's being set for life financially has saved the world from more film footage of the woman who made us yawn in "Yentl."

(Off-Topic: My local "Christmas radio station" is playing Michael Bolton -- speaking of, this morning -- wailing "The Christmas Song" as though someone recorded him developing a hernia. Just thought I'd share.)

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | November 24, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh that payoff is just for a lucky few. Look at poor Blake Fielder-Civil. All he'll get from his divorce with Amy Winehouse are the needle tracks and a Valtrex prescription.

Posted by: mdreader01 | November 24, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

No wonder Michael Jordan is still doing Hanes commercials. He's gotta make back those millions somehow.

Even if Ritchie did get a settlement, both he and Madonna get kudos for settling this quickly. Also, other than the beginning drama, they managed to do so without ripping each other to shreds in the press. Someone decided to be an adult and remember the kids. Unlike:

1. McCartney/Mills
2. Sheen/Richard
3. Baldwin/Basinger

Posted by: epjd | November 24, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

*sigh*. I miss Johnny Carson on my tv.

Posted by: jelo | November 24, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

For Stars, It Pays to Marry: Shouldn't there be a category for pro-rating in proportion to the length of the marriage?

"Gwynnie's insouciant close to latest blog: 'Next week I ask my sages what it means to BE truly grateful on Thanksgiving.' Funny, I was already planning to consult my flat Italian parsley."

Thanks for the nod, Liz. After posting the above, I recalled that Prince Charles is said to converse frequently with plants in his garden, so perhaps Gwyneth picked up the idea whilst sojourning insouciantly in England.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | November 24, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Aww, Liz, you did the Valentine's Day column early.

Posted by: 44west | November 24, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

KARNAK THE MAGNIFICENT [tears open an envelope and reads]: Johnny Carson, Michael Jordan, Stephen Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Paul McCartney and Guy Ritchie.

ED MCMAHON: Johnny Carson, Michael Jordan, Stephen Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Paul McCartney and Guy Ritchie.

KARNAK THE MAGNIFICENT [stares at ED]: Name seven guys whose ex-wives you could have hooked up with and you might still have your house.


Posted by: byoolin1 | November 24, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Are we sure Ed McMahon still HAS a house?
I wonder if Prince Charles was able to convince the plants in his garden that Her Majesty should abdicate so he could be king?

Oh, and even with her $500M, Madge is still on my Arguments for Celibacy list!

Posted by: reddragon1 | November 24, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

ED MCMAHON: I hold in my hand the last envelope.

[Audience Cheers]

KARNAK THE MAGNIFICENT: May Amy Winehouse be the stripper at your next bachelor party.

[Audience gasps]

KARNAK THE MAGNIFICENT [holds envelope to head and announces] : Ed McMahon.

ED MCMAHON [lookiing surprised]: Me?

KARNAK THE MAGNIFICENT: Yes, you, Alpo Breath.

KARNAK THE MAGNIFICENT [tears open an envelope and reads]: Name a guy who can't afford a 2-seat outhouse.

ED MCMAHON: Hey! That's not nice.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | November 24, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

What was it that Guy Richie so gallantly commented . . . some thing like how being with Madge was like cuddling with gristle?

Of course I totally understand, Guy, it probably was.

Take the money and run, Galahad.



Posted by: bmschumacher | November 24, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Karnak did have a way with the zingers.

Even if he only did substitute "Amy Winehouse" for "the Where's The Beef lady" in that last one...

Posted by: byoolin1 | November 24, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hold on . . . did Guy Richie make that comment about cuddling the gristle or was it one of our own Lizards?

I forget . . .



Posted by: bmschumacher | November 24, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I liked Amy Irving in 'Crossing Delancy'.

Posted by: pras40 | November 24, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Amy Irving's recent hairstyle is the answer the question "Whatever became of Jason's Golden Fleece?"


Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | November 24, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Psst, sorcerers_cat!

The Post's weekly online Flight Crew travel chat is on from now till just after the top of the hour, if you want to post a question re your upcoming Paris trip.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | November 24, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

pras40, I only kid about Amy; she was good in "Crossing Delancy." I also liked her in "The Competition" (even though after watching her and Richard Dreyfuss chew up the scenery as dueling concert pianists there were only a few stray keys and part of a bench left to mop up after the movie ended).

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | November 24, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you were correct. Guy said it first. I saw them talk about it on Extra or one of those shows.

Posted by: hodie | November 24, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Mildly related to Amy Irving, here is my tribute to movies set in the Pickle District:

Posted by: yellojkt | November 24, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey yellojkt, I liked the when movie collide tribute! You're a Yellow Jacket--now I get the name. I'm living in a house full of Bulldogs and sometimes the dumb rubs off. (I'm just husband and children are all very smart.)

Posted by: pras40 | November 24, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Why buy the milk when you can get the cow for free?

Posted by: possum_pouch | November 24, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

With the exception of Heather Mills, I think most of these marriages resulting in huge settlements were of relatively long duration, and the wife was there supporting him during his prime earning years. E.g., I think Juanita Jordan earned that cash, in her own way. And he's got lots left over.

Posted by: msame | November 25, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

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