The film follows two ex-wives who went into battle with their exes, spending millions of pounds and years of their lives in the process. Are these women out to fleece their men for every penny they can get? Or are they simply pursuing what they’re entitled to?
Michelle Young has clocked up 65 court hearings and 13 sets of lawyers in her battle with her ex-husband. 11 years on, she still hasn’t given up.
Michelle spent 18 years with Scot Young, a property tycoon who made his first millions in the 80s – but whose real fortune came from being a fixer to oligarchs and Britain’s super rich.
The end came in a shocking phone call: it was claimed that Scot had not only lost his entire fortune in a big Russian property deal, but had had a breakdown…. and was having an affair.
For the next seven years, Michelle fought her husband. She didn’t believe that he was a penniless bankrupt and was convinced he had hundreds of millions of pounds hidden in offshore accounts. But Scot stuck to his story – refusing to disclose the detail of his finances to the court, and was given a six-month jail sentence for contempt of court.
The judge at the final hearing branded Scot a liar and said he believed Scot had hidden assets.
But the judge was unable to identify the hundreds of millions Michelle maintained existed, instead he pinpointed about £40million. So Michelle was awarded half, plus her costs, totaling £26million.
To this day she has never received a penny. She’s now bankrupt with £17m of debts from high interest litigation loans and legal fees and lives in a rented flat. Scot tragically, is dead.
By contrast, step into Lisa Tchenguiz’s world at her Mayfair home and it is obvious her lifestyle remains luxurious post-divorce. But then Lisa was fortunate enough to be born into a wealthy Iranian family, and it was her independent wealth that helped fund her divorce.
Lisa was married for nine years to multi-millionaire Vivian Imerman. He made his first fortune from his Del Monte fruit juice business before he married her. But Vivian then went on to make a second fortune of £250 million during the course of their marriage.
When it came to the divorce, Lisa wanted a 50-50 split, and asked for £120m. Vivian’s first offer was for £2 million. So Lisa decided to fight.
Eventually after four years of litigation, Lisa decided she’d had enough and settled for £15million.
African Cat footage courtesy of Super Sail Yachts.
A Century Films Production for BBC Two
1 x 60 minutesComposerWayne RobertsPhotographySteve RobinsonBen YatesEditorChris SwayneExecutive ProducerKatie BailiffFilmed, Produced and Directed byLynn Alleway
"Braving a world of chihuahuas, garish furnishings and impossibly high heels, director Lynn Alleway has assembled an absorbing film on the subject of the divorce battles of the super-rich...."Observer