Celebrity Prenups: McCartney's Skipping It Again; Demi and Ashton Shouldn't Have

If you're a celeb getting married without a prenup, you should be dreading the wedding.

First, we had word that Paul McCartney isn't signing a prenuptial agreement with third-wife-to-be Nancy Shevell. Now, we've heard speculation over Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher's marital arrangement after Kutcher's alleged cheating. A divorce fight there could put a combined $290 million on the table to be argued over if there isn't a prenup in place.

The Moore-Kutcher mess is all wild guessing at this point, but McCartney's shelving of a premarital contract has been widely reported since the Daily Mail wrote about it back in May. Steven W. Goldfeder, a matrimonial lawyer at Blank Rome LLP, which has represented Donald Trump and Howard Stern in their divorces, can only scratch his head. McCartney's second wife, Heather Mills, rode his ticket to a $50 million divorce settlement in 2008.

"To leave hundreds of millions of dollars vulnerable does not seem like a wise choice," said Goldfeder, who does not represent McCartney.

Still, the attorney said he admired the ex-Beatle for still believing, as the Fab Four's song lyrics declared, that "all you need is love." And Goldfeder acknowledged that getting your intended to sign on the dotted line can be awkward, even if you're one of the most famous people on the planet.

McCartney will be financially sound no matter what he pays out in the event the marriage ends. Still, from a lawyer's standpoint, "It's not a choice I would advise a client to make," he said.

Trump and investor Ron Perelman are examples of mega-rich types who have protected themselves with prenups, Goldfeder said (although Perelman has surrendered an estimated $158 million to four exes, according to New York Magazine).

The Price of Fame would like to walk you down the aisle of those who didn't sign prenups and coughed up mountains of moolah: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch paid $1.7 billion to part ways with his wife of 32 years, Anna Murdoch. Granted, nobody was really considering prenups in the 1970s. But among recent cases where the parties should have known better: Tiger Woods shelled out a reported $110 million to Elin Nordegren; Michael Jordan lost $168 million to Juanita Jordan, Neil Diamond dropped $150 million to Marcia Murphey (and he's marrying again without a prenup!), and Madonna ponied up as much as $92 million to Guy Ritchie. In the latter case, Ritchie had $45 million of his own, but he was still entitled to a chunk of the Material Girl's material wealth.

Protection for Those With Much to Protect

That's one of the troubling aspects of the 68-year-old McCartney's commitment. Shevell, a 51-year-old trucking heiress and board member of a major transportation service, has her own fortune, but it's certainly not a Beatles-level fortune. She could lay claim to a third of McCartney's assets if they take up residence in New York state, unless a contract specifically eliminates the possibility, Goldfeder said.

This is usually the point where The Price of Fame ties in advice for our readers, but McCartney's not a regular person and prenups aren't for everybody. Even if you're making $70,000 a year and own a house, Goldfeder generally doesn't recommend a prenup. They're mainly for the affluent at any age, and the young and affluent who are trying to protect family money, the lawyer explained. They're also for entrepreneurs who believe a business they're building will be worth a lot of loot someday.

If you fit into any of those categories, you and your beloved should hammer out a prenup with lawyers representing you separately, Goldfeder advised. You don't want the so-called "non-monied" spouse crying that he or she hadn't read the contract or was coerced into signing. Or even worse, you could handle it like Steven Spielberg, who thought that penning a prenup on a cocktail napkin with Amy Irving would do the trick. It took a $100 million settlement -- an extraterrestrial sum in 1989 -- to prove him wrong.

McCartney's only protection, published sources have said, is a piece of paper that ensures the trusts of his children stay intact. But we have to wonder if Sir Paul is including other clauses without the media's knowledge. Celebrities of his monumental status should have confidentiality guarantees that prevent an ex from blabbing, Goldfeder explained.

In the case of Moore and Kutcher, the hand-wringing has begun over how California's split-it-down-the-middle divorce law would affect their fortunes. But whatever was done legally before they got hitched six years ago is done. There's no undoing it.

Sir Paul can still protect himself. A valid prenup doesn't necessarily kill the romance between two mature adults with previous marital experience. Often an agreement with a sliding scale does the trick, Goldfeder said. It works like this: A pact could read that if a couple is married for five years or less, the non-monied spouse would get, say, a million for each year
hitched. (In McCartney's case it would be a lot more.) "That way, if and when a divorce comes, you know the check you have to write and there's nothing left to fight about," Goldfeder said.

Perhaps a prenup is what McCartney and fiancee truly need to be "all together now."

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Geoffrey

This Goldfeder guy seems smart

October 06 2011 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dabrownman

Our prenup is coming due with teh Democrats especially Obama. They and he will owe us big time for his; lies, unconstitutional rights denying laws like Obama Care, assassination of American citizens overseas without them having constitutionally guaranteed due process regardless of crime committed, stealing GM from the senior bond holders and giving it to the unions, giving tax payer money directly to unions to prop up their health care plans, giving ta payer money to political donors like Solyndra and Solar Reserve, enacting the dream act as an end around congress saying no to the law, enacting cap and tax as an end around congress saying no to the law by having the EPA regulate the US energy industry into extinction, not enforcing immigration laws just because he doesn't agree with them, Getting us into wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen without consulting congress or getting their approval., bailing out wall street, the banks, GM, AIG and Chrysler by nationalizing them, bailing out foreign banks by having AIG pay out 100% of face value of credit default swaps to these banks when they were virtually worthless costing the US tax payer billions of dollars, running up the US debt by $4 trillion in less than 3 years and setting all time records of $1.5 trillion in deficit spending for 3 years in a row, enacting Dodd Frank and FinReg which has over regulated and destroyed the US financial system in the USA and made it uncompetitive in the world markets while crashing the stock market for the 2nd time in 3 years.

This is just the short list that these left wing whack jobs owe us for this time. Last time they did this under Jimmy Carter they were thrown out of office and political power for 35 years. This time they owe us much more - at least 50 years but we are asking for 100 in case we get a liberal judge when we start packing these criminals from Chicago off to jail.

October 02 2011 at 2:19 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

Who cares? He has to pay for youth and beauty.

October 02 2011 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob

Tiger Woods had a prenup, but once there are children, it essentially goes out the window. The children, along with their costodial mother, are entitled to live in a style in line with the husband's wealth.

October 02 2011 at 2:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
savemycountry911

A prenup makes it look like you expect the marriage to fail.

October 01 2011 at 9:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dabrownman

Which we had one with Obama.

October 01 2011 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
mclkarim

Paul is such a romantic! But, lack of a prenup is not a good idea for him. Looks like he doesn't learn from his mistakes. Good luck to him. I hope the third time is the charm.

October 01 2011 at 1:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
capenv

For a man, prenups are a must not just for the obvious reasons. Most men are fearful of the finacial hardship a divorce will bring them. A properly prepared prenup lessens the financial anvil your your wife holds over your head.
Having one lessen's her leverage in the marriage and could effect the way she handles herself.
That's one heck of a motsaball she won't be able to threaten you with.

October 01 2011 at 1:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply