Battling couple already ran up £1m in legal bills - and they're back in court


An ex-beauty queen and her estranged millionaire husband who ran up more than £1 million worth of legal bills in a high-profile cash battle have returned to the High Court after becoming embroiled in another round of litigation.

In June a High Court judge had bemoaned the amount Russian-born Ekaterina Fields, then 42, and American lawyer Richard Fields, then 59, had spent on lawyers after deciding who should get what share of assets totalling around £6 million.

Mr Justice Holman, who had analysed the case at a public trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London, decided that Mr Fields should pay Mrs Fields a £1.2 million lump sum and make alimony payments of £320 000 a year.

The judge said, when all assets had been taken into account, Mrs Fields would be left with a share of about £3.3 million and Mr Fields - who, the judge was told, earned more than £1 million a year - about £2.6 million.

Mr Fields now wants to be allowed to make smaller alimony payments because he says his income has dropped.

Another judge, Mr Justice Moor, analysed preliminary issues in the latest stage of the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Friday.

Little detail of Mr Fields' application - or Mrs Fields' views on it - emerged.

No date has yet been fixed for any final hearing.

Mr Justice Holman had been told that Mr Fields was based in the United States and Mrs Fields lived in London.

They were married for about a decade, had two children, and had lived in New York, he heard.

Mrs Fields, who said she had been a model and was a former World Miss University, was Mr Fields' fifth wife.

She had been married once before.

Both told Mr Justice Holman that they hoped to marry again.

Mr Justice Holman had made several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the pair to settle differences and avoid a public ''boxing match''.

He told them that the money they had spent on lawyers could have been ''better deployed''.

Mrs Fields had wanted sums including £75,000 a year for holidays and more than £60,000 for clothes, plus beauty treatments and hair care.

The judge said to most people such figures were ''eye-watering'' but the amounts had to be seen in the context of the lifestyle they enjoyed when together.

He said they spent £800,000 in their last year together four years ago - and he said Mr Fields' annual expenditure had been more than £500,000.

Mr Justice Holman said Mrs Fields had ''fled'' Russia aged 18 and had soon met her first husband - an American banker.

He heard that she had pocketed more than £1 million in the wake of the breakdown of her first marriage.

Mr Fields said during the trial that Mrs Fields was still with her first husband when they had met in 2001.

He said he had agreed to give her £500,000 ''before she left'' the banker.

And he said she subsequently also received a ''settlement'' of more than £600,000 - a million United States dollars - from her first husband.

Mrs Fields had denied marrying Mr Fields for money.

Mr Justice Holman said Mr Fields had been ''captivated'' when he met Mrs Fields.

Mr Fields had admitted being ''generous'' to women and told the trial of gifts including a diamond ring, Porsche cars and a shopping spree at Saks Fifth Avenue.

But Mr Fields had told Mr Justice Holman: ''I know that money cannot buy you love.''