An English divorce court awarded Heather Mills McCartney, the ex-wife of British pop music behemoth Sir Paul McCartney, £24.3 million (nearly US$50 million*) in the wake of a six day trial held in February 2008. During the trial, which was closely watched by the legal community in Britain due to the new precedents it was bound to set in the area of divorce settlements in short marriages, the former glamor model and prostitute who had recast herself as an anti-land mines & animal rights activist, defended herself after dismissing her attorneys.
Heather Mills McCartney, who has been seeking £125 million, has vowed to appeal the verdict.
Paul McCartney, the former Beatle and the richest pop musician in history, with a personal fortune estimated at £825 million, had offered his ex-wife £15.8 million. That would have represented nearly £4 million per year for each year of their four-year-long marriage. The couple, who married in 2002 after living together for two years, separated in 2006. They have one child, a daughter, Beatrice, who is four years old.
Custody of the child is to be shared by both parents.
The court ruled that the personal activities of either party were irrelevant to rendering a decision, and that the financial needs of the female spouse were paramount. Accordingly, based on a four-year marriage, the court awarded Heather Mills McCartney a lump sum payment of £16.5 million, which included £14 million in future support ( £600,000 per year) and £2.5 million so that Mills McCartney could buy a home in London. Child support was set at £35,000 per year for their child. Paul McCartney had agreed to pay for a nanny and the child’s education.
Heather Mills McCartney was allowed to keep her personal assets worth £7.8 million that she had accumulated, which gave her total assets of £24.3 million, including £500,000 in overspending she incurred during her separation from Sir Paul.
The court ruled that there was no evidence that Paul McCartney was worth in excess of £400 million, and was not worth the £800 million alleged by Heather Mills McCartney in justifying her claim of £125 million.
For No One
The 65-year-old Paul McCartney’s second marriage floundered around the time that it was revealed that his wife, the former Heather Mills, now 40, had been a £10,000 per night call girl servicing Arab sheiks and Mid-east oil millionaires, and that she had been a nude model in the 1980s. While most of Mills’ work as a nude model was of the “soft porn” variety, there exist other pics of a more “hard-core” nature, of the “open beaver” genre.
Sir Paul McCartney, the inevitably aging Peter Pan of rock n’ roll who was wedded publicly to a universe that is all sweetness and light, reportedly was devastated by the outing of his second wife as a tart. (Other, more cynical observers believe that he or his allies might have been behind the press play, as a means of extricating himself from an unhappy marriage to a “designing woman.”) The revelations, and her subsequent behavior when she went into attack mode against Sir Paul, solidified the public image of Heather Mills as a gold-digger. Since Paul McCartney is so beloved at home and abroad, she became the Scarlet Lady in the British tabloids that are the bane of any British celebrity’s existence.
Health Mills McCartney fought back, in both the press and the courts, attempting to tarnish her husband’s image as a goody-two shoes. In her court filings, she portrayed him as distant and cold, and a sexist brute not above using domestic violence to control her, a charge that Sir Paul vehemently denies. In one revelation to the press, Mills McCartney claimed that the former Beatle forbade her to nurse their child on the grounds that her breasts belonged to him and he and alone.
The press campaign seemingly backfired, as it took away Heather Mills McCartney’s best gambit: To not go to court, and thus not reveal the McCartney family secrets, if he paid up. Sir Paul called his second wife’s bluff, and she dished the dirt. He thus had little to fear in terms of revelations that could come out at the divorce trial, thus eliminating her ability to blackmail him for more loot.
That said, the divorce court records containing allegations of marital and personal misconduct by both parties to the divorce remain sealed.
Tomorrow Never Knows
There was speculation in the British Press that Sir Paul would offer Heather Mills £55 million on the condition that she no longer speak to the press, but that did not come to pass. However, the threat of Mills McCartney’s appeal and a further financial loss might encourage the aging pop star to shake a few more millions from the money tree to appease his snake of a second wife, who apparently is shameless.
In a press conference after the announcement of the judgment, Heather Mills McCartney vowed to appeal while telling the press she was “so happy” with the judgment, as “It was an incredible result to secure mine and my daughter’s future.”
She refused to directly insult her former husband, though she repeatedly took pot shots at him in a passive-aggressive manner, for instance, saying that she was going to stay in the U.K. so that her daughter Beatrice would be near her father while immediately adding that her ex-husband would “slap an injunction on me in a second” if she did not stay in England.
She decried Paul McCartney’s willingness to fight her in court rather than to acquiesce to her demands, saying that his decision “to put me and Beatrice… through this [is] incredibly sad.”
Heather Mills McCartney also denounced the British legal system as being skewed towards the privileged. She explained that her decision to terminate her legal team was a financial one, as the £600,000 that it would have cost her “could easily go to charity,” though she declined to say whether it did.
* The British pound sterling was worth a fraction over US$2.00 on the day the decision was announced.
The Telegraph (London), “Summary of Sir Paul McCartney divorce settlement with Heather Mills”, “Heather Mills vows to appeal after £24.3m Sir Paul McCartney divorce payout”