$460 Million – Craig and Wendy McCaw
Craig McCaw and Wendy Petrak met and fell in love in the 70’s while they were students at Stanford University. Craig’s father died in 1969 and Craig began looking after some of the business assets he had left behind. A decade later McCaw Cellular became the USA’s largest wireless phone carrier. In the mid 90’s AT&T acquired the company for $11.5 billion. Craig took compensation of about 13 million shares of AT&T stock as part of the deal. At the time of their divorce that stock was worth about $435.5 million.
The legal army and costly battle over this divorce became epic. Craig insisted that this fortune was primarily his and his wife was not entitled to 50%. The lawyers litigated for years. There was a lot to be analyzed and disclosed. The couple had over 30 personal bank accounts (not business accounts), a multitude of properties and 90 different tax returns. Wendy had 5 lawyers and 8 accountants working on her behalf around the clock. Eventually the settlement was announced and Wendy received $460 Million dollars.