Paul McCartney and estranged wife Heather Mills have begun their divorce proceedings behind locked doors at London’s Royal Courts Of Justice, while a media mob waits outside and hopes to pick up snippets of information.
Most of the U.K. papers are saying he has offered a package of £55 million (a £20 million lump sum and £2.5 million per year until daughter Beatrice reaches 18). Some are suggesting that depends on Mills keeping her mouth shut about what has become an ugly and public falling out. She is said to have turned the offer down.
Some columnists are questioning McCartney’s insistence on confidentiality. Given the TV, radio, and newspaper diatribes Mills has launched against him over the last year, they find it hard to imagine what else she could possibly have to say on the matter.
She’s widely reported to be asking for £70 million or £80 million, although guessing the likely settlement is made more difficult by the fact that none of the papers seems to know what the former Beatle is actually worth.
Some are saying it’s anywhere between £600 million and £825 million, but The Guardian says "informed legal sources estimate it at nearer £200 million."
According to The Times, her former lawyers at Mishcon de Reya want £2 million of whatever Mills gets for the legal costs she stacked up before she fell out with them and decided to fight the case herself.
McCartney married Mills in June 2002, four years after his first wife Linda died of breast cancer.
Whatever the outcome, it looks as if the pay-out will equal at least £48 million, the record amount ever awarded by a British court, although larger settlements are believed to have been agreed to in private.
The hearings began February 11 and were expected to last five days, although Mr Justice Bennett’s ruling may be some weeks away.