Madonna and Guy are heading for a hefty divorce settlement

The Ritchies' Riches

16 Oct 2008

Madge vs Guy to be the biggest divorce in showbiz history

MADONNA's divorce from GUY RITCHIE is set to be the most expensive in showbiz history - dwarfing those of SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY and PHIL COLLINS.

The Material Girl and her filmmaker husband have an estimated combined fortune of US$525 million, the bulk of which belongs to the singer.

The couple also owns properties in New York, Los Angeles, London, and the English county of Wiltshire.

And, although Madonna earned the majority of her wealth before she married Ritchie in 2000, experts speculate she faces a costly settlement with the RocknRolla director.

Madonna and Ritchie are rumoured not to have signed a pre-nuptial agreement before they wed and it is believed the eventual figure could smash the US$46 million singer-songwriter Collins paid to third wife Orianne Cevey in August, and Beatles legend McCartney's US$45 million payment to Heather Mills.

Leading British divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag, of London-based Ayesha Vardag Solicitors, says: "While clearly Madonna has been the bigger hitter, arguably Guy Ritchie has had to take a back seat in his own career in order to back her up and support the family emotionally during her demanding work.

"The law doesn't discriminate between breadwinner and home maker - it doesn't in most circumstances matter who earned the money if they were married and therefore a team. One way or another, this divorce should result in a huge payout for Guy Ritchie if properly handled.

"While a lot of Madonna's wealth will have been acquired before the marriage, a sizeable amount of wealth will have been built up during the marriage as part of their partnership, which will mean this is not just a case of meeting financial needs.

"There will be a huge amount of forensic accounting work relating to what was acquired when and how, and a lot of legal argument about how and indeed how much to differentiate between marital property, which is up for sharing, and non-marital property, which can to some extent be shut out, as the law on that has become somewhat woolly lately."