8 of Sport’s Most Costly Divorces in History

8 of Sport’s Most Costly Divorces in History

The world of sports has seen its fair share of highs and lows, both on and off the field. While athletes often make headlines for their achievements, their personal lives, especially their marital woes, can also grab the spotlight


The influence of sports wives and girlfriends, often referred to as WAGs, has also grown significantly, with many becoming celebrities in their own right. Their presence and influence can sometimes amplify the attention these divorces receive, adding another layer of complexity to the athletes’ public image. Here’s a look at eight of the most financially impactful divorces in the sports arena:

  1. Roman and Irina Abramovich:
  • Settlement Amount: Estimated between £1 billion to £2 billion.
  • Details: Roman Abramovich, the former owner of Chelsea football club, divorced his first wife, Irina, in 2007. The settlement saw Abramovich transferring at least four homes to Irina, including an £18 million estate in West Sussex and two London homes in Eaton Square and Chester Square.
  • Relationship: Roman and Irina Abramovich were known for their strong bond, with Roman being the former owner of Chelsea football club and Irina being by his side during many of his professional milestones. Together, they have five children and were often seen attending high-profile events, showcasing their status in the elite circles.
  1. Michael and Juanita Jordan:
  • Settlement Amount: £134 million (approx. $168 million).
  • Details: NBA legend Michael Jordan and Juanita divorced in 2006 after 17 years of marriage. Juanita had initially filed for divorce in 2002 but withdrew the petition in an attempt to save their marriage.
  • Relationship: Michael Jordan, the NBA legend, and Juanita shared a relationship that spanned over 17 years, with Juanita being a constant pillar of support during Michael’s rise to basketball stardom. Their union was often admired for its longevity, especially given the pressures of Michael’s global fame.
  1. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren:
  • Settlement Amount: £80 million (approx. $100 million).
  • Details: The high-profile divorce followed a series of allegations of infidelity against golf legend Tiger Woods. The scandal began when Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant in 2009.
  • Relationship: Golf champion Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren were once one of the most celebrated couples in the sports world. Their relationship seemed idyllic, with two children and numerous public appearances, until it was marred by scandal.
  1. Greg Norman and Laura Andrassy:
  • Settlement Amount: £83 million (approx. $100 million).
  • Details: Golfer Greg Norman’s divorce from Laura Andrassy, a former flight attendant, in 2007 was one of the costliest in sports history. Norman later married tennis legend Chris Evert in 2008 but separated a year later.
  • Relationship: Greg Norman, the golfer known as “The Shark,” and Laura Andrassy, a former flight attendant, were together for 22 years. Their relationship was often in the limelight due to Norman’s achievements on the golf course and their joint appearances at major golf events.
  1. Alex Rodriguez and Cynthia Scurtis:
  • Settlement Amount: Undisclosed, but believed to be several million dollars.
  • Details: Baseball legend Alex Rodriguez and Cynthia Scurtis divorced in 2008. Cynthia cited reasons like “emotional abandonment” and “extra-marital affairs” for the split.
  • Relationship: Baseball legend Alex Rodriguez and Cynthia Scurtis were known for their passionate relationship, having met in a Miami gym. They had two children together, and their union was often highlighted in the media due to Rodriguez’s baseball achievements and Cynthia’s presence at his games.
  1. Hulk and Linda Hogan:
  • Settlement Amount: Undisclosed, but Linda received 70% of the couple’s liquid assets.
  • Details: WWE legend Hulk Hogan and Linda Claridge divorced in 2009. Linda claimed Hulk cheated on her with their daughter’s friend.
  • Relationship: WWE legend Hulk Hogan and Linda Claridge were one of the most recognized couples in the wrestling world. Married in 1983, they often appeared together on TV shows and events, showcasing their bond and partnership in the wrestling entertainment industry.
  1. Shaq and Shaunie O’Neal:
  • Settlement Amount: £16K per month.
  • Details: The larger-than-life basketball star Shaquille O’Neal reportedly protected his assets by having his wife of nine years, Shaunie, sign a prenuptial agreement. Despite this, in his biography ‘Shaq Uncut: My Story’, he revealed that he and his ex agreed on a costly private settlement. Shaq continues to pay Shaunie £8,000 per month in spousal maintenance, and an additional £8,000 for their four children.
  • Relationship: Shaquille O’Neal, the larger-than-life basketball icon, and Shaunie shared a relationship that was often in the public eye due to Shaq’s NBA stardom. The couple, married for nine years, were frequently spotted at various events, with Shaunie often being recognized as one of the influential sports wives and girlfriends in the basketball world.
  1. Nick and Valerie Faldo:
  • Settlement Amount: £7.5 million.
  • Details: British golf legend Nick Faldo divorced his wife of five years, Valerie, in 2006. This divorce is believed to have cost the three-time Masters champion around £7.5 million1.
  • Relationship: British golf legend Nick Faldo and Valerie were known for their close bond, with Valerie often being seen supporting Nick during his major tournaments. Their relationship, spanning five years of marriage, was often highlighted in the media, especially given Nick’s status as one of the top golfers of his time.

These divorces serve as a reminder that while fame and fortune can bring many luxuries, they also come with their own set of challenges. As these athletes have shown, the cost of a broken marriage can be monumental, both emotionally and financially.