It didn’t take them long to get into the groove.
American pop superstar Madonna and British film director Guy Ritchie have received a preliminary decree of divorce. Court papers have revealed that the high-profile couple received a decree nisi on November 21; this means that their “quickie” divorce — officially on the grounds of Ritchie’s “unreasonable behavior” — becomes official after about six weeks.
Neither spouse was present at the brief court proceedings.
District Judge Caroline Reid, of London’s High Court (Family Division), reportedly accepted a divorce settlement that the couple had reached earlier in the week. According to London newspaper The Evening Standard, Ritchie, 40, declined the opportunity to take any of the singer’s fortune, estimated to be between $400-500 million, although British law had entitled him to as much as half of it. The couple’s eight-year-old son Rocco, as well as their three-year-old adopted Malawian son David Banda, will split their time between the ex-spouses‘ homes in the U.K. and the United States.
After the agreement became public, British paper The Times quoted an anonymous friend of the couple as saying, “[Ritchie] could have hugely boosted his bank balance and set himself up for life, but he already feels he has enough money. He also didn’t want the whole thing dragging on in the public gaze for months and months, and in any case, his priority was the children‘s future.” Ritchie is estimated to be worth about £30 million, or roughly the equivalent of $44 million U.S.
However, another source close to the couple told People: “He’s going to get a huge windfall, contrary to what’s being reported. He’s getting a lot of money from the settlement. He’s not the gentleman he’s portraying himself as.”
But on the day the divorce became final, Ritchie himself told the Daily Mirror: “It was never about the money — never about her bloody art collection. I just wanted to settle it and move on.” He added that he “didn’t raise any objections at any stage until she insisted the children lived permanently in New York.”
According to a document released by the court after the decree nisi, Madonna and Ritchie have been living apart for about six months. The couple owns many properties in England and the U.S., including a Beverly Hills mansion, several New York City apartments, a London townhouse overlooking Regent’s Park, a stake in a London pub, and an 18th-century country estate in Wiltshire.
Madonna, 50, is in the middle of her Sweet & Sticky worldwide tour promoting her latest album, Hard Candy. Guy Ritchie, best known as the director of the 1998 crime flick Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, recently released the film RocknRolla to mixed reviews; he is currently shooting a new Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.
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