BRAND NEW ON E!
Maybe Paul McCartney's money can't buy him love, but it can apparently buy his way out of an unhappy marriage.
According to published reports, the former Beatle has successfully brokered a settlement in his bitter divorce battle with Heather Mills, who has reportedly accepted his offer of an estimated $56 million in cash and property as well as joint custody of their three-year-old daughter, Beatrice.
As of Monday, there was no confirmation of the report from the respective camps of either McCartney or Mills.
Word of the purported settlement was first reported by Britain's News of the World—the same outlet that claimed Mills had accepted a $63 million settlement back in January, a report her legal team quickly denied.
Though proceedings in the Mills-McCartney divorce battle have been conducted behind closed doors, leaks from the courtroom have included reports that Mills, 39, was seeking $6.6 million a year—or about $20,000 a day—from her estranged husband, as well as sole custody of Beatrice.
Under the terms of the couple's alleged agreement, Mills will reportedly drop those demands and will in turn receive $48 million in cash, plus a Georgian mansion worth $8 million.
Because Mills and McCartney had no prenuptial agreement before they married in 2002, Mills could potentially have walked away from the split with one-quarter of the 64-year-old musician's fortune, valued at about $1.6 billion.
However, Mills, who has been raked over the coals by the British press since the couple announced their separation, has bristled at the suggestion that she entered the marriage with designs on McCartney's money.
"I fell in love for the right reason. I fell in love unconditionally," she said in an interview with Extra in November. "If I was a gold digger, I would have a lot of money in my bank account...I'd be worth millions and millions."
If the $56 million shoe fits…
Though neither Mills nor McCartney had commented on reports of a settlement, Mills took to her official Website Monday to defend herself against a report in London's Daily Mirror that outed her as having once worn a mink coat to a wedding, despite her ardent antifur stance.
"She really loved that coat. When I see her antifur campaigns now, I always chuckle," Mills' former sister-in-law, Dianna Karmal, told the paper.
In a message on her official Website, Mills said the photo of her in the fur was taken in 1989, before she was "aware of the issues surrounding the fur trade."
"The coat belonged to my mother, who had sadly died just a few days earlier, and I wore it because it made me feel close to her," Mills wrote. "I am not ashamed I wore it. At the time, I was not a vegetarian and was not an antifur campaigner."
Meanwhile, with her debut on Dancing with the Stars just a week away, Mills has expressed confidence that her artificial leg will not fly off during the reality competition's high-stepping routines, telling Extra that such an event is "very unlikely."
Nonetheless, offshore gambling Website bodog.com has started accepting wagers on the possibility of the prosthetic limb coming unattached unexpectedly, with a maximum bet of $50 on the outcome. The site is specifying that the limb "must fall off, not be purposely taken off," in order for bets to be honored.
Mills acquired her artificial limb after her left leg was amputated below the knee following a 1993 motorcycle accident.
"I'm hoping to show people that even with a prosthetic leg, you can dance," she told Extra last month.