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Opinion: The seven messiest celebrity divorces of all time – New Zealand Herald

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Heartbreak season is particularly frosty over in Tinseltown. Here are its worst splits. Photos / Getty Images
OPINION
When it comes to marriage break-ups and throwing your beloved Hawaii circa 2008 nuptials down the loo, things can get pretty ugly – especially when the dollar bills start racking up.
However, no one does a messy, money-grabbing, headline-topping divorce quite like the stars of Tinseltown.
Celebrity divorces give us that rare peek into high-profile celebrity relationships, revealing just how far from perfect they really are under all the glitz and glamour and reminding us that they, too, are just human beings trying to navigate that silly little thing called love.
From cheating scandals and bed defecations to ‘he said, she said’ tattle-tales, here are some of the juiciest splits that were thrown into the spotlight, devoured in the tabloids and immortalised through dinner table trivia.
Hold onto your prenups – you’re in for one hell of a trip down memory lane.
“‘Til death do us part” are rarely words taken to the grave, but this couple managed to quash the saying in a mere eight months – and it only went downhill from there.
While Liam Hemsworth filed for divorce from Miley Cyrus in August 2019 citing “irreconcilable differences”, the popstar hinted at a saucier story in the best way she knows how – via song.
Cyrus released break-up song Flowers on her ex-husband’s birthday, boasting some seriously spicy lyrics and Easter-egg details.
With lyrics such as: I can love me better than you can/I can love me better, baby, not much was left to the imagination about her feelings for her ex-beau.
What’s more, some unconfirmed fan theories floating around the Twittersphere claim Hemsworth once dedicated Bruno Mars’ When I Was Your Man – the song which the Flowers chorus is based on – to Cyrus after the couple broke off their first engagement back in late 2013.
Messy? We think yes.
Nothing is messier than a divorce that fills the front pages – and boy, oh boy, did this split fill our newspapers, TikTok feeds and minds for months on end.
Unless you were living under a rock in 2022, you no doubt were engulfed in the media frenzy surrounding the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial.
Once Hollywood lovebirds-turned-sour divorcees, the trial generated some 10 out of 10 “he said, she said” content – and some bizarre lover’s quarrel stories.
From Depp discovering human faeces on his side of the bed – presumably belonging to Heard, who denied it – and Heard being accused of withholding divorce settlement money that she promised to charity, to the Pirates of the Caribbean actor having his finger severed in an alleged altercation with his ex and texting some slightly (if not extremely) violent texts to his friends about his beau at the time, there was no shortage of audible gasps from around the world at the sheer drama that unfolded in the courtroom.
All we can say is this: being a finger short with some seriously spoiled sheets is the epitome of messy.
Over the last year, this divorce has seemingly got messier – and stranger – by the second.
From diss tracks and Twitter rants to tying the knot less than a month after the divorce, Kanye West has become a prime example of what exactly not to do when your wife divorces you.
The rapper, who suffers from bipolar disorder, wrote a song dissing Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend at the time, Pete Davidson, which he accompanied with a claymation music video that showed him tying up and burying the SNL actor.
What’s more, the Heartless singer publicly accused Kardashian’s mum Kris Jenner of trying to “lock him up” and, problematically, made various anti-Semitic statements on Twitter, which his now-ex-wife later condemned.
After a year of ups and downs and public scrutiny, the divorce was finalised on November 29, 2022, and only a few weeks later, West married Australian architect Bianca Censori.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall of this celebrity split.
The rise and fall of Brangelina was probably one of the more pivotal moments in modern break-up culture, but perhaps what no one saw coming was their relationship ending in abuse allegations, property wars and the involvement of a “Russian oligarch”.
What started as a flight to Los Angeles ended in a split – with many fans scratching their heads as to what went down on the doomed transatlantic flight.
Jolie claims that a fight ensued between her and her husband, which quickly turned physical. In response, her children jumped in to defend her, which allegedly resulted in Pitt choking one of the kids and striking another in the face, says Jolie.
Pitt denies the allegations made against him.
Then, when their custody battle turned sour, things got even messier when Pitt claimed his ex “secretly” schemed to sell her half of their shared French estate, Chateau Miraval – to a “Russian oligarch”, of all people.
He says his “vindictive” ex-wife “collaborated in secret” with Yuri Shefler to make sure that he would be “kept in the dark”.
The Mr and Mrs Smith level of drama means we have no choice but to add this split to the messy list.
Salad dressing, an Apple Watch and even Harry Styles were thrown into this messy divorce – and it was the talk of the town circa 2022.
Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis have since been pretty quiet in the public sphere, but things got ugly fast when the couple’s former nanny spilled the beans on the split – revealing some pretty odd details about the pair’s marriage fallout.
It was claimed that Wilde left Sudeikis for none other than the leading man in her film Don’t Worry Darling – AKA the iconic Harry Styles.
The nanny claimed that Sudeikis found out about Wilde’s new romance on an old Apple Watch, adding that the actor once lay under her car so she couldn’t leave. All very shocking stuff – but the most dramatic revelation of all?
When Wilde left her hubby, she left in tow with a salad, made with her special salad dressing recipe (and love) for her Watermelon Sugar beau. Scandal!
Anyone would be devastated if their wife left them for Harry Styles – especially if a juicy salad was in the mix – but Sudeikis got even-Stevens with Wilde when she was served custody papers while on stage at CinemaCon a few months later.
Her expression said it all – this divorce had turned into a big old tit-for-tat mess.
The most famous divorce of all time is no doubt the dissolution of the marriage between the late Princess Diana and the now-King of England Charles III.
Between various high-profile affairs by both parties, tampon-gate and the dreaded Panorama interview, the once-deemed “fairytale” love story descended into the stuff of nightmares.
While it is widely contested who broke their marriage vows first, both weren’t exactly discreet about their extramarital affairs, particularly Charles, whose steamy phone call with now-wife Queen Camilla Parker-Bowles was leaked to the press.
In the raunchy chat, Charles could be heard saying that he would like to live in her trousers, more specifically, as a reincarnated tampon. And people say love is dead…
Of course, the only valid response to your husband talking dirty to another woman is by cheating on him and s***-talking him on global television – which is exactly what our girl Diana did.
This is what we call… a royal mess.
While we might still be in the thick of this messy celebrity divorce, it’s shaping up to be one for the history books – or, at the very least, a six-part Netflix docuseries.
The once-deemed cream of the conjugal crop, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner were hot, hilarious and witty to no end – providing us with bucket-loads of pop culture moments to refuel our hope in love.
However, their time as the “couple goals” poster children fell apart faster than Jonas’ 27-second break-up phone call with Taylor Swift in 2008.
Jonas filed for divorce from his Game of Thrones actress wife on September 1 – which Turner alleges she found out about through the media.
Shots were fired at both parties, with rumours floating around that Turner partied too much and Jonas was “less than supportive” as a husband and father. Throw in abduction claims and a transatlantic custody battle – and Turner’s cheeky lunch with Jonas’ hit-making, perhaps-still-bitter ex – and you’ve got yourself one hell of a messy divorce.
For those looking for a light at the end of what might seem like a gloomy tunnel for the couple, there is no doubt some seriously good break-up music looming ahead – and let’s just say that the Jonas Brothers aren’t the only ones with tea to spill; a certain popstar with a huge cult following and a bone to pick might have a few things to say too.
Megan Watts is a Lifestyle and Entertainment digital producer for the New Zealand Herald whose passions include honest journalism, saucy celebrity splits and doing things for the plot.
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