Fox News reported at the end of June that Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren was to receive a whopping $750 million as a divorce settlement in return for her agreeing to a gag order forbidding her from speaking or writing about their marriage. Since the “cost” of the whopping property settlement — which would be the highest in the history of celebrity divorces if true — is silence, Fox News can be certain that whatever figure it prints, however outlandish, will not be contradicted.
The source for the figure was an unnamed “friend” of Nordegren who praised her attorneys for digging out financial assets that Tiger Woods allegedly tried to hide from his wife. Nordegren had thought that her husband was worth $1 billion, but her attorneys, if the source is to be believed, proved he was worth much more. Thus, the settlement she sought was doubled by Tiger, who did not want the revelations of an angry ex-wife further eroding his popularity and hurting his product endorsements.
Frankly, the Fox News article seems like it was placed by Nordegren’s attorneys to drum up business. In fact, the official statement released by Woods and Nordegren on Monday, August 23rd that revealed their divorce had been finalized by a Florida court was vetted and released through both their attorneys. The statement included information about both firms.
Tiger Woods is only worth $600 million, according to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes Magazine, which more than likely means that the settlement size reported by Fox News is grossly exaggerated.
The $1 billion figure that Fox News used as a baseline actually is the amount of money that Woods has earned via prize money and endorsements since turning professional in 1996, according to Forbes. However, taxes must be paid on that money and, of course, there are attorneys, managers and agents all taking a percentage of his revenues.
Fox News and other sources, including The Sun — a London tabloid newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch (as is Fox News) — printed the $750 million figure and it was picked up by multiple other sources.
Badenhausen wrote that Tiger’s investment income probably has not generated the additional $900 million that would validate the $750 million settlement figure, which would represent half of a $1.5 billion estate. He pointed out that the stock market is at the same average as it was 12 years ago.
But don’t cry for Tiger just yet. Despite the loss of several highly remunerative endorsements due to the revelations of his serial adultery, Forbes — in its rankings of The Celebrity 100 for 2010 — put Woods’ gross revenues for the 12 months from June 2009 to June 2010 at $105 million.
Forbes, The Celebrity 100
Forbes, “Tiger Woods Divorce Settlement: Not $750 Million” by Kurt Badenhausen
Fox News, “Elin Nordegren Gets $750M, Custody of Kids in Exchange for Silence in Tiger Woods Divorce”