When your husband is a multimillionaire, life can be something of a fairy tale – there will be Ferraris and Bentleys in the driveway, a yacht in Monaco and summers in St Tropez. But when it all comes crashingdown, it seems the bigger the money, the bigger the fight. This programme steps inside the world of high-profile divorce cases where millions of pounds are at stake – and London is the battleground.
Here women are said to get the very best deal because, as divorce lawyer Jeremy Levison explains, a change in the law means the starting point is a 50-50 split. But for the men who have spent a lifetime building their fortunes, ‘it can be a bitter pill to swallow,’ says divorce lawyer Julian Lipson. The film follows two ex-wives who went into battle with their exes, spending millions of pounds and years of their lives in the process. Are these women out to fleece their men for every penny they can get, as the press often suggests? Or are they simply pursuing what they are entitled to?
Michelle Young has clocked up 65 court hearings and 13 sets of lawyers in her battle with her ex-husband. And 11 years on, she still hasn’t given up. Michelle, aged 53, spent 18 years with Scot Young, a property tycoon who made his first millions in the 80s – but whose real fortune came from being a fixer to oligarchs and Britain’s super rich. The couple had two daughters together. Both Scot and Michelle had humble beginnings – Scot grew up in a Dundee tenement block. The couple went on to have a lavish lifestyle together – country mansions, designer clothes, a different car for every day of the week. But the end came in a shocking phone call, when it was claimed that Scot had not only lost his entire fortune overnight in a big Russian property deal, but also had a breakdown – and was having an affair.
Lisa, aged 52, was married for nine years to multimillionaire Vivian Imerman. He made his first fortune from his Del Monte fruit juice business before he married her. But Vivian then went on to make a second fortune of £250 million during the course of their marriage. When it came to the divorce, Lisa wanted a 50-50 split, and asked for £120m. But Vivian’s first offer was for £2 million. So Lisa decided to fight. Lisa says it wasn’t simply about the money though.
View the programme on BBC TWO.