Johnny Depp is set to hand over former lover Vanessa Paradis up to 100 million pounds, in one of the biggest pay-offs involving an unmarried couple.
Depp, 49, who is worth more than 200 million pounds, and French singer and actress Paradis, 39, announced they were splitting on Tuesday after months of denials.
They have been together for 14 years but never tied the knot.
“If the couple had been married, Mr Depp’s wife would be able to simply claim 50 per cent, child support payments and alimony,” top Hollywood lawyer Robert Nachshin told the Sun.
“However, because they are not married this does not apply. The partner would have to file a civil suit and go to court,” he said.
Depp is expected to hand over the huge sum anyway in an attempt to keep the split amicable.
“Litigation is expensive, and could run into extremely high figures. This won’t be a monthly payment plan — he will make a lump sum payment as a settlement,” Nachshin added.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star, who pulled in around 50 million pounds in 2010 alone, has property around the world.
The couple and their children Jack, ten, and Lily-Rose, 13, had been living in a mansion in Los Angeles. He also has a flat there.
Depp owns a house in the Paris suburbs and an island in The Bahamas. He splashed out on another property in Venice, Italy, this year and is also said to be the secret buyer of a house in the village of Burnham Market, Norfolk.
The family first moved into a home in Plan-de-la-Tour in southern France and Paradis is expected to keep that.
It was leaving France for Hollywood after Depp became one of the world’s most bankable movie stars that is believed to have put strain on the relationship.
She longed for France, and Depp recently admitted to a French magazine he yearned for the country too, saying it gave him “a marvellous family and also an equilibrium which I missed enormously”.
The couple met in 1998 when Depp saw Paradis sitting at the bar of the Costes Hotel in Paris and invited her to join him at his table.
She had shot to fame as a 14-year-old with the worldwide success of her single Joe le taxi.
Since then she has released five studio albums — the latest following a seven-year break.
Depp is desperate to stay friends but Paradis, who believes she had to put her own career on hold, is said to be feeling more angry about how their relationship ended.
Depp had been a renowned womaniser, who had flings with beauties including supermodel Kate Moss and actress Winona Ryder.
Vanessa is said to have insisted that he clean up his act before they started a family — and he immediately cut down on his drinking and smoking.
But last year he was reported to have fallen asleep in hotel toilets after gambling at The Ritz casino in London and later turned up at a New York nightclub with several women in tow.
He has now been linked to bisexual actress Amber Heard, 26, who starred with him in The Rum Diary.