Paul McCartney, Heather Mills

Gary Calton/

The long and winding road to divorce is almost over for Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.

A London judge today granted a decree nisi, the first step to the finalized divorce under British law. High Court Justice Hugh Bennett approved the petition, citing the fact that the couple have been living apart now for two years.

"On the petition for divorce presented by Miss Heather Mills, I pronounce the decree nisi of divorce on the grounds of two years' separate," the judge said. "Sir Paul McCartney has consented to the decree being granted on these grounds."

Neither McCartney nor Mills attended the proceeding, and their attorneys declined to comment.

The ruling means that, barring some hugely unlikely reconciliation, the terms of the split announced in March will be final in six weeks and a day. Bennett awarded Mills $48.6 million, $34,000 for each day she and the former Fab were hitched, but far less than the $250 million she originally sought after McCartney petitioned to end their four-year union in May 2006.

The judge blasted Mills for making "exaggerated claims" in testimony to the court, noting that she was "her own worst enemy" and had an "explosive and volatile character."

The onetime Dancing With the Stars contestant and the legendary singer-songwriter have a four-year-old daughter, Beatrice.
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