Celebrity divorces provide for great gossip, but they can also provide us with interesting insights into complex asset division. Whether these high-net-worth individuals are dividing shares in a multi-billion-dollar tech company, music catalogs, pension funds, or even the family dog, these very public affairs help us understand how courts rule on various issues. Three recent cases highlight how complex issues can be resolved.
Musicians are Often Forced to Sell Rights to Music Catalogs
Recent news has shown that some of the most popular musicians are often forced to sell the rights to their music catalogs to pay for hefty divorce settlements. Such was the case with Dr. Dre, who was recently forced to sell part of his catalog for a staggering $200 million. This came directly after he was ordered to pay his ex-wife $100 million as part of a divorce settlement. These kinds of music rights have the potential to pay out continuous royalties for decades into the future – and they could provide income for Dr. Dre’s descendants. The fact that he is selling this catalog suggests that he has no other option, and that he simply does not have the $100 million in cash necessary to pay his ex-wife the required settlement.
This situation is hardly unique. On January 17th, it was reported that MC Lyte was fortunate enough to keep her music catalog after her divorce from John Wyche. These assets were protected thanks to a prenuptial agreement MC Lyte created prior to the marriage. It was a smart move, and while there’s no word on the actual net value of this catalog, it could provide financial stability long into the future.
Scottie Pippen Forced to Hand Over Pension to Ex-Wife
Another recent story highlighted the fact that celebrities may be forced to hand over their pensions in divorces. If you are someone like Scottie Pippen, who is a former NBA champ and reality star, these pension funds can be worth a lot. In truth, this is not altogether surprising – and even middle-class spouses are often forced to divide pension funds during divorces. But it still sent shockwaves through the entertainment world, with many observers not quite believing their eyes when they saw this headline.
Celebs Even Fight Over the Family Dog
But it is not just high-value assets that celebrities fight over. They are just as likely to fight over more sentimental assets, such as the family dog. While a dog might not be worth millions, celebrities have proven that they are willing to pay exorbitant legal fees in order to keep hold of their pooches. Such was the case with Cheryl Burke, who, in January of 2023, was finally granted custody of her dog after a long battle with Matthew Lawrence.
While these two settled virtually every other dispute fairly amicably – including matters related to real estate – ownership of their French Bulldog proved to be a sticking point. Cheryl Burke publicly stated she was willing to go to court over the matter, and Lawrence eventually agreed to hand over ownership without any further legal action.