Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant Divorce: The Most Costly Athlete Breakups Ever

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Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant Divorce: The Most Costly Athlete Breakups Ever
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

When Kanye West sang "if you ain't no punk, holla we want pre-nup!" on his hit song "Gold Digger," there can be no doubt he was speaking to, among others, athletes: fabulously rich and famous athletes who will eventually pay (both literally and figuratively) for failing to recognize that their relationship may not have a fairy-tale ending.

With the news that Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa filed for divorce, and that the couple never signed a prenuptial agreement, it's clear that the Black Mamba will be forking over a large sum of cash to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Good for Vanessa. Truly idiotic for Kobe.

Since the couple married in 2001 (when Vanessa was only 19), Kobe has earned $173 million in salary, and that doesn't take into consideration his considerable endorsement deals. According to Forbes, Kobe raked in $25 million in endorsements in 2010 alone.

Under California's community property laws, his earnings are just as much Vanessa's property as they are Kobe's. When the divorce is finalized, she will take half of whatever Kobe earned during their marriage.

Kobe apparently thought his marriage was the exception to the rule: that he could do as he pleased, and that Vanessa would fall in line and just enjoy life as a superstar's wife and the millions of dollars that goes along with it.

But, Kobe and Vanessa weren't the exception to the rule. More precisely, Kobe wasn't the exception to the rule, as Vanessa alleges that he was repeatedly unfaithful (I knowtruly surprising stuff). And Vanessa is certainly enjoying her millions now...millions that Kobe will never have any control over because he failed to see the error of his ways.

It appears Kobe should have listened to his parents, who apparently didn't want their son to marry so young.

But, if the Bryants' divorce settlement is going to break any records, they have some stiff competition. Here are 10 more outrageously costly athlete divorces, from the most high profile (paging Tiger Woods) to the most expensive (Michael Jordan, Kobe's predecessor as the face of the NBA).

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