Who stands to win in the Seal-Heidi Klum divorce?
—Evans, via the inbox
I shall first give the standard toadying answer, which is that no one wins in a divorce, for it is all so sad.
Good. That's over with. I've weighed in with the experts, and they tell me that if these two do divorce, the money will likely go in quite the unusual direction...
First the facts.
The sexy Euro couple (and parents to four kids) have announced they are going to amicably separate. Such an announcement usually leads to a divorce, and if that happens, it will be the second such legal split for Klum, who divorced stylist Ric Pipino in 2002.
There's no official word about whether a prenuptial agreement was ever signed, but it's highly likely there was one.
"Heidi comes from Germany, and prenups are really common there," says Steve Mindel, managing partner at Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt and Klein. "Seal is a British citizen. Until recently, that country disfavored prenups, but given the statures of these two people, you have got to believe that their business managers were telling them they have got to have a prenup."
Most likely, this prenup keeps any individual business ventures as separate income. Otherwise, things might get very messy. Say, for example, that Seal wrote a song during his marriage. Under California law—and that's where these two have their main home—proceeds from that song would be communal property. Then, if a filmmaker wanted permission to use that song, it would require a "yes" from both Heidi and Seal and...you get the idea. A prenup would be a very wise move.
Now, as far as money is concerned: If any spousal support is granted, it's likely to go from Klum to Seal, because Klum is richer than Seal. Last year she made a reported $20 million alone.
"Heidi Klum has been making tens of millions of dollars a year for quite a few years now," Forbes staff writer Zack Greenburg tells my colleagues at E! News. "She is diversified and has a bunch of different six-figure revenue streams that are going to ensure that she continues to make millions a year for the foreseeable future."
(Meanwhile, in his entire career, Seal has sold 20 million albums worldwide. That's a nice income. But it's not a Project Runway supermodel income.)
That said, don't look for Seal to get his flippers on a ton of Klum's cash.
"The prenup likely controls that tightly," Mindel tells me. "There's probably some kind of cap, say, $200,000 a year, $300,000 a year, something in that range."
If Seal does end up getting a bigger sum from Klum, it'll be through child support, not spousal support. As I said before, the pair have four children, including Leni, a daughter that Klum had with Formula One don Flavio Briatore.
—Additional reporting by Baker Machado