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John Cleese Facing Monumental Alimony Payments

Maryland fans of John Cleese, well known for his “Monty Python” successes as well as many other roles, may be surprised to learn that the comedian is required to pay his most recent ex-wife between $23 and $24 million as a result of their divorce decree. Cleese launched a one-man show called “The Alimony Tour” a few years ago in a tongue-in-cheek reference to his nearly $1 million per year alimony payments, and continues to perform.

Cleese and his third wife of sixteen years divorced in 2008. As part of the 2009 divorce settlement, he was required to make a lump sum payment of $13 million in cash and property plus spousal support payments of almost $1 million annually until 2016. Cleese says that in order to meet the terms of his settlement he has had to sell four of his five properties and needs to work to pay the annual alimony amount. Cleese wed his fourth wife in August 2012.

In an interview, the comedian said that the public has a perception that entertainment figures of his stature have it financially easy. He went on to state that such is not the case with him as a result of his most-recent divorce.

Spousal support is often awarded to account for a disparity in income and earning power of the former spouses after a divorce. Mr. Cleese’s former wife is a psychotherapist, but it is not known whether she actively practiced her profession during the couple’s marriage. The couple had no children, and it is assumed that the two did not enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to their getting married.

Source: The Huffington Post, “John Cleese’s Alimony Payments Are No Laughing Matter“, January 31, 2014

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