“She didn’t shoot any hoops, win a single game or do anything worth having half of that man’s fortune,” one of my good guy friends exclaimed to me over brunch regarding the much talked about divorce of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant. I shook my head at his ignorance and quickly reminded him that she had in fact done everything and more than most women could handle. Vanessa Bryant married at an early age giving up the freedom of her twenties, faced a great deal of humiliation in her marriage when a rape scandal made headlines across the world, dealt with a reported ten years of infidelity and raises his children. I’d say she’s done more than enough to deserve half of what’d he’s earned in ten years, wouldn’t you?
“How would you feel if we were married, you stepped out on me and the court ruled that you had to give me half of the fortune you’d worked so hard to earn,” my guy friend asked me. I’d never really thought about it like that until I heard about the recent news of comedian Russell Brand and pop star Katy Perry’s marriage ending. Reportedly the couple didn’t have a prenuptial agreement, which means disaster for Perry. The California divorcing law states: California is a community property state. Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.
Perry is obviously the bigger star among the two with Grammy nominations, hit songs and a sold out tour in 2011 alone. She’s made far more money than her estranged husband, which means half of what she’s earned during the marriage will now go to him and possible spousal support. I cringed at the thought of Brand receiving what Perry had worked so hard to earn. He hadn’t written a single song, performed for thousands of people or got nominated for any awards.
Wait a minute; I’m starting to sound like my ignorant guy friend.
Perhaps it’s because rarely do you hear of a woman’s property and fortune being taken during a divorce. In fact it is more than likely us who receives custody of the children, ownership of the house, child support and spousal support. Generally, we seem to get it all.
It occurred to me after my friend’s statement that yes, women can be extremely biased when it comes to discussing who gets what during a divorce. We cheered on Juanita Jordan when she received $168 million dollars in her divorce settlement, stood to our feet when Angela Bassett proudly burned her husband’s car and clothes in Waiting to Exhale and cleaned him out in court. We adore Ivanka Trump and shouted halleluiah when Shelia Johnson received $400 million dollars in her divorce settlement (She earned it, though. She helped create BET).
However, we get upset when we hear about stories like Perry and cursed when we heard Madonna had to pay her ex-husband Guy Ritchie reportedly $90 million dollars in their divorce settlement. “It’s just not fair,” many of us shouted. But isn’t it?
Why should men work a lifetime to build their empire and give half to us, yet we get mad if we have to do the same? It seems unfair on both ends and it is. Marriage is tough and divorce is even tougher. Be smart before you say I do, it sometimes comes with an unexpected price.
I don’t know about you, but as for me in the great words of Yeezy, “we want pre-nup!”