Broken heart at the end of a divorce

The 3 Messiest Celebrity Divorces

When married celebrity couples split up, it's headline news. These divorces are even more newsworthy when they get messy, whether stars are fighting over child custody or dividing up their fortunes. Below is the dirt on the three messiest celebrity divorces and a word of advice on choosing a divorce lawyer who can help you avoid these kinds of meltdowns.

  1. Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger

    When this Hollywood power couple dissolved in January 2001, insiders were surprised; the couple had just spent Christmas together with their 5-year-old daughter, Ireland. That happy family portrait quickly came to an end, however, as the pair embarked on a very public, nasty custody battle. Basinger publicly claimed that Baldwin had been emotionally and physically abusive, while Baldwin spoke openly about his ex-wife's mental issues, including bouts of agoraphobia.

    The nastiness came to a head in 2007, when Basinger allegedly refused to send 11-year-old Ireland on a scheduled visit. A leaked voicemail in which Baldwin referred to his daughter as a "rude, thoughtless little pig" surfaced soon after. Since then, however, the pair's disagreements have dissipated (or at least stayed out of the spotlight).

  2. Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards

    It's no secret that Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen has his share of issues. These quirks became very public in 2006, when Richards filed for divorce while seven months pregnant. Her court paperwork detailed Sheen's abuse, gambling, substance use, and sex addiction, including solicitation of prostitutes and questionable pornography.

    For a time, the pair patched things up, with Richards even taking temporary custody of Sheen's sons with Brooke Mueller in 2012. Tempers flared up again in March 2014 when Sheen told TMZ that he was cutting Richards off from child support unless she grants more access to their two daughters.

  3. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

    When the legendary golfer split from his wife in 2009 amid allegations of more than 20 affairs with porn stars, waitresses, and reality stars, Nordegren was awarded $750 million in one of the largest divorce settlements of all time.

    In exchange for the record payout, Nordegren must stay silent about Woods' affairs. The caveat for Woods? He is legally barred from introducing his and Nordegren's two children to any woman unless he marries her. While the financial details of this divorce were messy, custody has been fairly agreeable, with Nordegren holding physical custody and the pair sharing legal custody of the children.

While non-celebrity divorce details won't be splashed in the tabloids, it's critical to obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer if you're filing for divorce. He or she can help negotiate the fairest settlement possible when mediating issues such as custody, division of assets, housing, alimony, and child support payments. An attorney can insure that you're protected during a divorce and that you are able to maintain financial and physical stability.