American oil mogul Harold Hamm is divorcing his wife of 25 years, Sue Ann. And as you might imagine for a man with that kind of wealth, things are set to get a little pricey.
Hamm is the founder and CEO of Continental Resources, America’s most prominent oil company. During last election season, Mitt Romney named him his energy adviser, and he subsequently became a right-hand man during the candidacy.
But times could be tough(er) in the coming years for Hamm, whose pending divorce is just as confusing as it is expensive.
Here are 10 facts you should know about the divorce:
1. Hamm is America’s 32nd Richest Man
According to Forbes, the publication that declared him America’s 32nd richest (and the world’s 78th-richest) man last year, Hamm is worth a cool $11.3 billion.
Hamm’s company, Continental Resources, produces 700,000 barrels of oil per day — 10 percent of the American output.
2. The Couple Didn’t Sign a Prenup
A prenuptial agreement, which is traditionally signed in marriages of couples this wealthy, would have laid a foundation for how Mr. Hamm’s $11 billion fortune would be divided.
Instead, as the couple opted not to sign one upon getting married, the proceedings are far more messy. But still…
3. This Could be the Most Expensive Divorce Ever
Rupert Murdoch’s 1999 divorce to ex-wife Anna currently holds the title for most-expensive separation; the News Corp boss had to pay out $1.7 billion.
But Hamm stands poised to destroy that.
As reported by The Daily Mail, Hamm could very well be forced to pay out $3 billion to Sue Ann in these proceedings, 60 percent more than Murdoch did in ’99.
With $3 billion coming her way, Sue Ann would become more wealthy than Oprah, who is worth an estimated $2.8 billion herself.
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4. Sue Ann Has Been Surveying Harold Since 2007
According to The Daily Mail, court documents show that Sue has been spying on Harold since 2007, monitoring his activities through electronic surveillance.
One of her surveillance bills totaled $9,866.09.
5. The Couple Agreed on a ‘No-Fault’ Divorce
Here’s where the story starts to get curious. The course of the evidence suggests that Hamm had been unfaithful to Sue Ann. That’s ostensibly why she surveyed him and ostensibly why she filed for divorce.
But per The Mail, the couple has agreed on a no-fault divorce, which means that Harold’s adultery can not be argued.
6. Harold’s Lawyers Want Sue to Turn Over the Recordings
And here’s where the story goes from curious to really curious. Instead of denying the allegations of infidelity – that is, wanting to get as far away from Sue Ann’s tapes as possible – Harold and his lawyers appear to be embracing it.
Per The Mail, Harold’s attorneys want Sue Ann to hand over the tapes she acquired. Not to perform due diligence, though, but rather because “the content of the tapes…would show that the Hamms had stopped behaving as a husband and wife.” They say the couple had already been separated.
Sue Ann’s attorneys object in turn, saying: “Surreptitious adultery, even repeated adultery with the same partner, does not terminate a marriage or constitute legal separation.”
7. Hamm’s Company Has Nearly Quintupled Since 2007.
As elucidated above, the decisive point in this suit isn’t if this marriage was ever a sham, but rather how long that’s been the case for.
The Mail cites court filings where Hamm claimed the couple has been separated since 2003. Which means that any wealth Hamm has accrued in the 10 years since then could, theoretically, not be considered part of their collective fortune.
Which is why the fact listed above is so important: Continental’s value has nearly quintupled since 2007, a period of time where he may or may not have still been “together” with his wife.
8. They Initially Tried to Keep Divorce a Secret
Perhaps because they were ashamed, and perhaps because they wanted to avoid showing up on sites like Heavy.com, Harold and Sue Ann tried in earnest to keep their divorce a secret.
Though the proceedings just came to light recently, they have been going on previously, though sealed documents, under the case name “John Doe v. Jane Doe,” reports The Mail.
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9. Hamm Could Lose Controlling Stake of His Company
According to Forbes, Sue Ann could stand to receive half of her husband’s stake in Continental Resources. Since Hamm only possesses 68 percent of his company – enough for controlling interest pre-divorce – this split could see him lose control of his enterprise.
With only 34 percent remaining (potentially) after the proceedings, Hamm would lose the power to make executive decisions at a company he founded and built up from nothing.
10. The Couple Has Two Daughters
This divorce isn’t all about the money (though that, admittedly, makes up a lot of it). There’s also some traditional family issues in play.
Jane and Hillary Hamm, Harold and Sue Ann’s two adult daughters, will both have to endure this very public scandal in the coming who-knows-how long.
Harold, for what it’s worth, has three children from his first marriage too, giving him five in total.