The ‘divorce of the century’: A $9.3 billion fortune, three kids and plenty of murmurings.

Video by Mamamia Women's Network.

Six years on from their $20 million wedding, UK socialites Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt are gearing up for one of the biggest and most expensive divorces of all time, with an estimated shared wealth of $9.3 billion to divide between them.

The pair announced their divorce earlier this week and faced a London court on Friday, during which time Stunt was ordered to leave their $169 million Chelsea home. Petra, who had been living with the couple’s three children in a rented apartment since February, is set to move back into the home within days.

petra ecclestone james stunt divorce
Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt. Source: Getty.

But who exactly are Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt, and how have they come to face what some lawyers are now calling the “biggest settlement in celebrity history"?

Well, alongside her older sister Tamara, 28-year-old Petra is heir to her father Bernie Ecclestone's $4.2 billion fortune, much of which has been made through the Formula One industry. Before marrying, Petra briefly launched and operated two fashion lines that both went bust within a number of months.

Listen: Dr Ginni Mansberg talks about moving through divorce when there are children involved. Post continues... 

As for 35-year-old Stunt, however, the mystery of how he came to be one of the richest men in Britain is, well, just that. It's understood that he operates in gold trading, art and property, but even his father-in-law has publicly questioned where Stunt's money comes from more than once.

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In addition to their Chelsea home, the couple also own a 123-bedroom property in Los Angeles worth $267 million, two London apartments worth $6.7 million, a $25 million wine collection and $1.6 million worth of cars.

Curiously, their sprawling mansion has been linked to Jay-Z and Beyonce, who had a private viewing there earlier this year.

What is known, though, is that their marriage has not been without strain.

petra ecclestone james stunt divorce
Petra, Bernie and Tamara Ecclestone. Source: Getty.

Following their ultra-lavish wedding, which was held in an Italian castle and included performances from the Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta, the couple welcomed their daughter, Lavinia in 2013.

Two years later, the couple welcomed twin boys, James Jr and Andrew.

But throughout these years, which should have been the happiest of their lives, tales of Stunt's erratic behaviour - which included demands that be surrounded by an armed entourage in the UK and US at all times, rumours of multiple overdoses and allegations of violence towards Petra - began to emerge.

Last year, Stunt's older brother Lee was discovered dead at their parent's home, something that is said to have put even further strain on the couple's crumbling marriage.

Outside court on Friday, Bernie told reporters Petra "has suffered an awful lot and I couldn’t bear for her to suffer anymore. I don’t like to see marriages broken up unnecessarily, she tolerated it for quite a long time".

He added, "He [Stunt] has caused enough aggravation”.

petra ecclestone james stunt divorce
Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt. Source: Getty.

Stunt however, has reportedly insisted repeatedly that the marriage is not over and hopes to "work through" the difficulties. Something that no longer seems possible given that both parties have hired some of Britain's top divorce lawyers in a bid to begin dividing up their gigantic estate.

How long it will take and how much dirty laundry will invariably come out in the meantime, though? Only time will tell.

Cut the crap.

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