The marriage of pop queen Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie is officially over after a district judge granted them a “quickie divorce” this morning.
While the superstar singer has rarely blended in during her 25 years at the top, today her marriage was just another of 16 dissolved by District Judge Reid at the clinical Principal Registry of the Family Division in High Holburn, London.
Neither Madonna, 50, nor Ritchie, 40, were in court to see their seven-and-a-half-year marriage – heard as Ciccone M L v Ritchie G S – swiftly dissolved by decree nisi.
The pair had been expected to embark on a l ong and hard-fought battle for Madonna’s £300 million fortune and custody of their two sons when they announced their separation last month. But yesterday it emerged that they had reached an agreement for Rocco, 8, and David Banda, 3, to divide their time between Ritchie’s London home and Madonna’s native America. Lourdes, 12, the singer’s daughter from a previous relationship, will live with her mother in New York.
Ritchie, who has amassed a fortune estimated at £30m through box office favourites Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, is understood to have walked away from the marriage without seeking any part of Madonna’s wealth.
After being introduced by Sting’s wife Trudie Styler, the couple married at Skibo Castle, in the Highlands, in 2000 and Madonna eagerly embraced British life, taking up hunting and spending time at the pub.
But over recent years they have been dogged by difficulties. Considered a top director when they married, Ritchie’s career has slumped with a string of box-office flops, including the universally-ridiculed Swept Away, starring Madonna.
The couple gained custody of Malawian toddler David Banda in 2006 and brought him to live with them in London. But the pair then faced a 19-month-long battle to legally adopt him. Madonna has described the process as “painful” and a “struggle”.
In July, the wife of baseball’s highest paid star, Alex Rodriguez, filed for divorce, and accused Madonna of contributing to the collapse of her marriage. The singer denied any romantic involvement with Rodriguez.
Madonna is in the midst of a world tour and is due on stage in Atlantic City tomorrow night. Ritchie is in London directing Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes.