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The Top 20 Most Famous Divorces of All Time

Iconic splits through history.

The planets might lose their alignment if there weren't celebrity divorces to gossip about on the regular, and just like clockwork, this summer's shocking split is between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire, who announced they were separating (not divorcing) on Aug. 2 after 18 years of marriage. (This follows Kevin Costner's headline-generating divorce this spring.) The Trudeaus' split doesn't seem to be particularly dramatic or salacious, making it a seeming rarity among high-profile couples. Let's look back at how things unfolded during the 20 most famous divorces of all time. 

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt


One of the biggest celebrity divorces in a generation, when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt split up in 2016—just two years after their marriage, but a decade after they became a couple—things got ugly fast. Jolie accused Pitt of child abuse, and the two wrangled over alimony, custody, and ownership of their shared vineyard in France (a conflict that just flared this year).

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston


Hearts broke when the cool, chill couple—he guest-starred on Friends! They both love modern architecture!—announced the end of their five-year marriage in 2005. The reason: Pitt's burgeoning relationship with Angelina Jolie. But the cool couple have remained good friends, referring to each other as "buddies." The vibes were positive right away: "I will love [Brad] for the rest of my life. He's a fantastic man. I don't regret any of it, and I'm not going to beat myself up about it," Aniston said right after their split.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

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The poster children for can't-live-with-'em-can't-life-without-'em Hollywood drama, screen legends Taylor and Burton married and divorced twice: They broke up in 1974, only to remarry each other a year later—for just a year.  

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

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The bombshell split of the heir to the British throne and "the people's princess" kept tabloids in business after they separated in 1992 and officially divorced four years later, after Diana's accusations of Charles's infidelity had become so unseemly that Queen Elizabeth asked the couple to cut their losses.

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman


Married in 1990 (after meeting on the set of Days of Thunder) and divorced in 2001. At the time, Cruise issued a statement saying Kidman knew the reasons they had separated. They reportedly have not spoken to each other since the split. 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard


The end of Depp and Heard's marriage led to one of the ugliest divorces in recent memory. That includes the highly publicized trial in which Depp sued Heard for defamation for writing an op-ed that accused him of domestic abuse.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian


After five years of reported tension in their marriage, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from Kanye West in 2021. "For so long, I did what made other people happy," said Kardashian."And I think in the last two years I decided, I'm going to make myself happy. And that feels really good. And even if that created changes and caused my divorce, I think it's important to be honest with yourself about what really makes you happy. I've chosen myself."

Britney Spears and Jason Alexander

Britney Spears in the press room at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards

Short-lived Hollywood romances have nothing on this one. In 2004, Spears and Alexander got married in a Las Vegas chapel. The marriage lasted 55 hours before it was annulled. Alexander was later arrested for crashing Spears's June 2022 wedding to Sam Asghari.

Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner

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Sinatra and Gardner divorced in 1957, six years after they married following Sinatra's divorce from his childhood sweetheart and mother of his three children. "Frank told me that was a very intense relationship, a very tempestuous one," biographer Tony Oppedisano told Fox News. "She was absolutely drop-dead beautiful. He said, 'She could drink me under the table. As far as language, stuff came out of her mouth that could grow hair on the wall.' He also said, 'I should have known upfront that anything that burned that hot was bound to burn out. But while it was going on, I was having a ball.'"

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin


The end of Paltrow and Martin's decade-long marriage introduced a new phrase to the pop-culture lexicon. Yes, it was they who announced their 2014 divorce by calling it a "conscious uncoupling." The pair remained close friends. "I think Chris and I were meant to be together and have our kids," Paltrow said five years later. "But our relationship is much better like this: friends and co-parents and family."

Madonna and Sean Penn


The Material Girl's 1985 marriage to one of Hollywood's young guns ruled the tabloids—the two were often photographed fighting (when Penn wasn't getting into fisticuffs with photographers). Ditto their 1989 divorce. Although Madonna has said her biggest mistake was "Getting married—both times!" She's also said she's "still in love" with Penn.

Ingrid Bergman and Petter Lindstrom

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In one of Hollywood's first big love scandals, A-list actress Ingrid Bergman was essentially banished from town when she began an affair with director Roberto Rossellini on the set of Stromboli in 1950. Lindstrom refused to grant her a divorce for a year and fought a heated custody battle for their daughter, Pia, while Bergman was denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate. She was ultimately welcomed back to L.A. after she divorced Rossellini in 1957.

Donald Trump and Ivana Trump


When tabloids weren't tracking Madonna in the late '80s, they were following the travails of Ivana Trump, who divorced Donald in 1990 after he had an affair with model Marla Maples. In the divorce settlement, Ivana got a $14 million payout, $650,000 a year in alimony and child support, a Connecticut mansion, and a New York City apartment. In return, she signed a confidentiality agreement and said she wouldn't talk about their relationship without Donald's permission. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver


The 25-year marriage of the action star turned California governor and the TV journalist slash member of the Kennedy clan imploded spectacularly in 2011, after it was revealed that Schwarzenegger had fathered a child with the couple's housekeeper.  

Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher

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In the '50s, the press couldn't get enough of the scandal that erupted when Eddie Fisher divorced "America's sweetheart" Debbie Reynolds after having an affair with her best friend, Elizabeth Taylor. In 2015, Reynolds was philosophical. "My three husbands all left me for another woman and obviously I wasn't a very sexual lady," she told the Express. "My husbands all repeatedly said the same thing—that I was not a very passionate woman." She and Taylor rekindled their friendship later in life. "She had her good side," Reynolds said after Taylor died in 2011. "At least once she got over her sex drive."

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher


Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher seemed to have a harmonious marriage, despite their 15-year age gap; Kutcher, only 25 when they wed, got along well with Moore's two kids, and they all hung out with Moore's ex Bruce Willis. So it was shocking when their divorce was announced in 2013 after six years. In her autobiography, Moore blamed the marriage's end on the bedroom fun they had, which led to infidelity, she said. 

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills


The former Beatle and former model wed in 2002 and divorced in 2008 after a series of dramatic fights that made the tabloids. "I'm so glad it's over," Mills said. McCartney might not have agreed: In the settlement, Mills received $48.7 million in the divorce and $600,000 a year in child support.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes


The end of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's marriage required subterfuge worthy of a spy drama: Holmes reportedly used burner phones, changed her phone numbers and email addresses, and spirited the couple's daughter, Suri, off to a New York apartment before filing for divorce, blindsiding the actor while he was in Iceland filming the ironically titled Oblivion.  

Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner


The current messy divorce du jour is between the Yellowstone star and his wife of 19 years: there have been battles over the prenup, expensive purchases, and the Costners' $145 million compound and what's inside it. Baumgartner is currently living in a separate house on the property while matters get hammered out. This isn't Costner's first time at the rodeo: His first divorce in 1994 from Cindy Silva reportedly cost him $80 million. 

Jesse James and Sandra Bullock


In 2010, the Oscar-winning actress divorced Monster Garage host James, her husband of five years, after multiple women came forward with reports of extramarital affairs. "Yeah, I did cheat on my wife, yeah, I stood up and took accountability for it and apologized. And that's end of story," James said in a 2017 interview with the Daily Mail. "In general, both women and men cheat. It's part of life."

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