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Trending that caught Doug's eye... ill-starred couples

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Call us old-fashioned, but some things were just meant to go together.

Take fish and chips, for example. On their own, they're fine, but put them together and, well, it's a marriage made in heaven. It's the same story with peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, bacon and eggs, gin and tonic, Bert and Ernie, and, well, you get the idea.

But of all the things that go together, it's hard to think of two that were a better match than legendary 1970s husband-and-wife pop duo the Captain and Tennille.

We hate to pull the rug out from under your ordered universe, but on Jan. 6, Toni Tennille, 73, filed papers to end her marriage to "Captain" Daryl Dragon, 71.

The split is especially painful because the couple became the icons for everlasting love in 1975 with their worldwide hit Love Will Keep Us Together, wherein they passionately sing: "Love, love will keep us together/Think of me babe whenever/Some sweet-talking girl comes along singing her song/Don't mess around/You gotta be strong."

That brings a tear to our eyes, as opposed to their 1976 hit Muskrat Love -- "Muskrat Susie, Muskrat Sam do the jitterbug out in muskrat land" -- which just burrows into our ear canal and plays on a continuous loop in our brain.

Sadly, love couldn't keep them together, and it didn't do much for the following five ill-starred couples:

 

5) The combatants --Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

Their time together -- Oct. 5, 2004-Aug. 23, 2010

The road to Splitsville -- When it came to playing around, the world's best golfer didn't always keep it on the course. The marriage crashed and burned in the early hours of Dec. 3, 2009, when Tiger slammed his Cadillac Escalade into a tree outside his Florida home. Swedish model Nordegren famously used a golf club to bash in one of the SUV's back windows, telling police she was trying to help her husband escape. The crash came after a tabloid published a story about Tiger's affair with a nightclub promoter. In short order, multiple mistresses came forward. "I was unfaithful, I had affairs and I cheated," Tiger finally confessed.

The settlement -- Nordegren reportedly walked away with something in the range of $100-$110 million after the divorce. Tiger lost his family and tons of sponsorship cash.

 

4) The combatants -- Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

Their time together -- June 11, 2002-March 17, 2008

The road to Splitsville -- Forget the Beatles song, love wasn't all this troubled couple needed. Things started smoothly when Paul and Heather got hitched, with two rainbows reportedly topping the horizon at their lavish $3.2-million wedding in Ireland. Six years later, it was cold and dreary when a London judge ended their marriage. It was a nasty divorce, with both sides flinging accusations ranging from infidelity to gold-digging to phone-tapping to drug abuse. At one point, the model-turned-activist poured a jug of water over the head of one of McCartney's lawyers and reportedly shouted: "You're a b -! You're a traitor to your sex!" "There'll be no more nagging, no more chaos, no more Heather -- bliss. I have peace at last," McCartney was quoted as saying after the divorce was finalized.

The settlement -- Mills was awarded about $48.6 million by a family court judge, far less than the $250 million she sought.

 

3) The combatants -- Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

Their time together -- 1964-74 and 1975-76

The road(s) to Splitsville -- Liz and Dick had it all: beauty, glamour, yachts, jewels and some spectacular fights during a turbulent, scandal-filled love story that saw them marry and divorce twice. It all began when they were filming Cleopatra in 1963 while Taylor was still married to singer Eddie Fisher and Burton was married to actress Sybil Williams. Burton boasted he would bed his co-star "within the first two days," but it reportedly took five. Their first on-screen kiss lasted so long the director had to ask whether he could say "cut." Their first marriage ended when Burton was unfaithful with a young co-star. Sixteen months later, they were back together, but so were the fights. "You can't keep clapping a couple of sticks of dynamite together without expecting them to blow up," Burton said at the time. They divorced again in 1976, but never stopped being friends.

The settlement -- Their 10-year marriage ended "without tears and with a friendly agreement about sharing the family fortunes," the L.A. Times reported in 1974.

 

2) The combatants -- Rupert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv and Wendi Deng

Their time together -- 1967-99 with Torv; 1999-2013 with Deng

The road(s) to Splitsville -- Australian media mogul Murdoch gets bonus points for appearing twice on most lists of famous, expensive divorces. In what was considered the most expensive split at the time, Rupert and Anna ended their marriage of 32 years in 1999. Just 17 days after his divorce, Rupert tied the knot with Wendi Deng, 38 years his junior. Here's a surprise: The aging mogul ended his 14-year marriage to the Chinese-born businesswoman last year.

The settlement -- Murdoch gave $1.7 billion (yes, billion) of his fortune, including $110 million in cash) to Anna, while his settlement with Wendi was not disclosed.

 

1) The combatants -- Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein

Their time together -- 1978-1999

The road to Splitsville -- You've probably never heard of this pair, but their wacky divorce is rated by Wikipedia as the most expensive in history. Things apparently started going wrong when the New York socialite walked in on her French billionaire art-dealer husband and a 19-year-old Russian model in the bedroom of their home, and he threatened her with a gun because, as Alec said in court, he thought he'd caught a burglar. Dubbed "the Bride of Wildenstein," Jocelyn rose to fame when it was revealed she'd spent about $4 million on cosmetic surgery. Now known as "Catwoman," her face was made to resemble an exotic wild cat, because -- try to follow the logic here -- she knew her husband liked big cats and she feared he was going to leave her.

The settlement -- Hold your breath because, the socialite ended up with a $2.5-billion settlement, along with $100 million each year for 13 years after that.

 

The last word -- We really have nothing to say, because we know divorce is painful for everyone, especially the kids. We personally are not going to break the bad news to Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2014 0

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