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This silly prenup mistake cost Steven Spielberg $100m in divorce settlement


This silly prenup mistake cost Steven Spielberg $100m in divorce settlement


Hollywood is no stranger to stories about staggering sums of money being spent and earned, especially when it comes to high-profile couples parting ways.

Few celebrity divorces, however, can rival that of renowned director Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg was married to actress Amy Irving from 1985 to 1989, and due to one costly error, ended up losing $100 million in the divorce. Read on to learn more about their relationship and how it resulted in such a hefty price tag for Spielberg.

Spielberg and Irving first met and began dating in 1975.

They were introduced to each other through Brian DePalma, who, alongside George Lucas, had seen Irving audition for the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars.

DePalma suggested Irving audition for Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the actor and director quickly connected, sharing a home and a dog named Elmer.


Irving, the daughter of famous stage director Jules Irving, struggled with being known solely as Spielberg’s girlfriend, and this tension ultimately led to their breakup in 1980.

Their separation resulted in Irving losing the role of Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was given to Karen Allen.

The couple reunited in 1985 and decided to marry after becoming pregnant with their son Max.

Before their wedding, they reportedly drafted a prenuptial agreement without any lawyers present, written on the back of a cocktail napkin.

Throughout their marriage, Irving made a conscious effort to maintain her professional independence from her husband, though their relationship suffered under the demands of Spielberg’s career.

In early 1989, rumors circulated about Spielberg’s involvement with actress Kate Capshaw, whom he would later marry.

Irving and Spielberg announced their decision to divorce on April 24, 1989, as reported by the United Press.

In court, Irving claimed that the napkin prenuptial agreement was invalid, as she did not have legal representation when it was created.

The court ruled in Irving’s favor, awarding her half of Spielberg’s earnings during their marriage, which amounted to a substantial $100 million.

While this was the most expensive Hollywood divorce at the time, later divorces like Mel Gibson’s ($425 million) have since surpassed it.

Spielberg’s divorce also impacted custody arrangements for their son Max, who would alternate living with each parent under a joint custody agreement.

Today, Spielberg remains married to Capshaw, with whom he has had an additional six children, and has an estimated net worth of $4 billion.

Even considering inflation, the $219 million paid to Irving represents a mere 5.475 percent of his current net worth—roughly the same as he spent in 2015 to build his mega-yacht.

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