Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt agree £5.5bn divorce

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Petra Ecclestone, the billionaire daughter for Formula 1 boss Bernie, has been granted a divorce after coming to a deal with husband James Stunt.

With a two-day hearing due to start yesterday at the Central Family Court, the pair announced that they had reached an agreement.

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They were believed to be clashing over their rumoured £5.5 billion fortune, including multi-million-pound homes in Los Angeles and London.

Details of the settlement haven't been released.

"It is announced, with regret, that James Stunt and Petra Ecclestone have agreed to divorce and that decree nisi, uncontested, was granted by HHJ Tolson this morning," reads a press statement issued on behalf of the couple.

"James is committed to remaining firm friends with Petra and is concerned that the misleading media coverage of their divorce has not accurately reflected the issues which were in dispute."

While 35-year-old Stunt isn't exactly a self-made man - he grew up in decidedly swish Virginia Water - since the age of 21, he has built up a fortune in the shipping sector, gold mining, private finance, property and gambling.

And he has expensive tastes, owning artworks by Monet and Picasso and more than 200 cars, including a £315,000 Lamborghini, as well as a wine collection worth millions of pounds.

He married Petra, now 28, in 2011 at Odescalchi Castle near Rome - also the venue for Tom Cruise's marriage to Katie Holmes. The wedding is said to have cost £12 million, with Petra wearing an £80,000 Vera Wang dress.

The couple have three children: four-year-old daughter Lavinia, and twin sons James Jr and Andrew, aged two.

The couple had signed a prenuptial agreement worth £16 million.

But until now the divorce has been a tricky process, with Petra claiming that her husband was violent and abusive. At an earlier hearing, a judge ordered Stunt to leave the couple's 14-bedroom home in Chelsea, and there have been strong words between him and Petra's father, Bernie.

Now that a settlement has been reached, the couple can apply for a decree absolute in six weeks' time. The judge praised the pair for avoiding a lengthy and expensive court battle.

The most expensive weddings that ended in divorce
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The most expensive weddings that ended in divorce

The reality star and the basketball star are the most extreme example on our list. They married in style in August 2011 - with a perfume launch designed to coincide with the day. The total cost was said to be $10 million, with much of the cost covered by a magazine deal and individual arrangements with suppliers - including a $20,000 Vera Wang dress and a $6,000 cake. Their marriage lasted 72 days before she filed for divorce because of irreconcilable differences.
The Big Brother fake and the boy band member met on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 and were married the same year. They had an extravagant ceremony for 45 people at Dartmouth House in Mayfair, with a dress designed by Elizabeth Emanual - who designed Princess Diana's dress. The ceremony was thought to have been paid for out of the £300,000 magazine deal for the photographs. They split after ten months of marriage.
The most expensive wedding on the list is the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana with an estimated cost of £50 million in real terms, including a five foot high cake. They were divorced ten years later.
The couple were married in New York in 2002 at a cost of $3.5 million. The best man was Michael Jackson, and the maid of honour Elizabeth Taylor. Among the entertainment that evening was a performance by Stevie Wonder. Sadly the couple split the following year, and divorced five years later.
The couple married in 1991 at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, in a ceremony said to have cost $2 million. Michael Jackson even stood in as father of the bride. The couple split five years later.
The couple are said to have spent $2 million on their 2006 wedding in an Italian castle, featuring entertainment from Andrea Boccelli. They divorced after five years of marriage.
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills spent around $3 million on their wedding in June 2002 - renting Castle Leslie in Monaghan, Ireland, laying on a firework display thought to have cost £100,000 and a wedding dress said to have set them back more than £20,000. They divorced in 2007.

The couple were fairly restrained in terms of this list, spending $500,000 on their Manhattan wedding in 1993, featuring a Vera Wang dress with a 27-foot-train. However, they also succumbed to the five year rule, and divorced in 1998.
The darlings of Hollywood married in 2000 at a cost of $1 million. The LA ceremony was decorated with 50,000 flowers, and finished with a 13 minute fireworks display. They divorced five years later. 
The British director and the America superstar were married in Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands at an estimated cost of $1.5 million. Guests included Gwyneth Paltrow, Sting and Trudy Styler. Madonna wore a diamond tiara once owned by Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. The couple survived the five year point that floored so many others, but divorced after eight years of marriage.

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