Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev set a new record for the “most expensive divorce in history” this week, with a $4.5 billion settlement to his ex-wife. As we read about their Central Park penthouses and Greek islands, we found ourselves wondering about the most infamous divorce cases in Colorado’s own history. What did we discover? The name “John” really doesn’t bode well for a happily-ever-after in the Centennial State.
Without further ado, here are seven Colorado divorces that once caused a worldwide media frenzy:
1. Horace and Augusta Tabor
Augusta Tabor might not be a household name in Colorado, but her successor, “Baby Doe” Tabor, certainly is. Once Horace set his own doe eyes on Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt Doe, he secured a secret divorce from Augusta in Durango and””secretly, of course–married Baby Doe in St. Louis. It turns out the divorce paperwork wasn’t legal (which Horace might have already known), and Augusta spent years battling for her rightful share to her husband’s fortune””which, some say, she had grossly miscalculated. This tragic tale ends with Horace and Baby Doe dying penniless in Leadville, and Augusta apparently succumbing to a broken heart in California.
2. John Denver and Annie Martell
Eight years after penning the hit “Annie’s Song” on a ski lift, Denver had quite the change of heart and filed for divorce from the “Annie” in question””but not before creating another “artistic masterpiece” about her. He allegedly became so enraged over the property settlement of his beloved Aspen home, he used a chainsaw to cut the marital bed in half. Yikes.
3. John Denver and Cassandra Delaney
Denver presumably bought a new bed for his second marriage, but that one didn’t furnish him with a fairytale ending either. He would later say of Delaney, “before our short-lived marriage ended in divorce, she managed to make a fool of me from one end of the valley to the other.”
4. Hunter S. Thompson and Sandra Dawn Conklin (now Sondi Wright)
The Thompsons had already established a base in Woody Creek, Colorado when their 18-year marriage began to deteriorate. As legend has it, Hunter went “ballistic” the moment Sandy told him she wanted a divorce, destroying her possessions and burning her manuscripts. When the sheriff came over to break up the dispute, he asked whether there were any firearms in the house– to which he received the reply, “Yes, 22 of them, and every one is loaded.”
5. Donald and Ivana Trump
The Trumps obviously weren’t native Coloradoans, but it was Aspen that hosted the infamous showdown between Ivana and Marla Maples, the beauty queen Donald was having an affair with and would later marry, one snowy New Year’s Eve. Ivana’s parting shot, “Don’t get mad, get everything!,” is still one of the most quoted phrases of all time.
6. John and Janet Elway
“I can’t play football forever, but I’m going to be with Janet for another 40 years,” Elway said when he retired in 1999. Alas, that wasn’t to be and watching the star quarterback split from the prom queen (or championship swimmer in this case) was as heartbreaking as it would have been in high school.
7. John Hickenlooper and Helen Thorpe
We like to end things on a positive note– apparently just like Governor Hickenlooper and his former wife. When the couple announced their separation in 2012, the media dubbed it the “nicest divorce statement ever;” that’s probably because it included the adorable line, “Please feel free to include both of us in social gatherings as we will not find it awkward.” How thoughtful!
Divorce Matters is well-versed in the intricacies of a high-profile divorce; please contact us at 720.542.6142 to learn more about our strategies for keeping your case out of the spotlight.