Prenups for Athletes

Whether you're a professional athlete or a regular fan, a prenup can provide essential peace of mind and ensure that both parties are protected in the event of a tough game-time decision.


When you think about prenuptial agreements, the image that may come to mind is of wealthy celebrities or business moguls protecting their assets. But did you know that athletes can benefit just as much from having a prenup in place? Whether you're a professional athlete yourself, a rising star, or simply someone who loves sports, understanding the importance of a prenup in the world of athletics is interesting. In fact, it can be game-changing.

First off, let's break down what a prenup is and why it matters. A prenuptial agreement, or prenup for short, is a legal document that outlines how assets and liabilities will be divided in the event of a divorce. For athletes, whose careers often come with lucrative contracts, sponsorships and endorsement deals, and other financial opportunities, a prenup can provide essential protection for their hard-earned wealth.

One of the key reasons why athletes should consider a prenup is the unique nature of their career. Unlike many professions, where income is steady and predictable, athletes often experience fluctuations in earnings. From signing bonuses to endorsement deals to performance-based incentives, an athlete's income can vary greatly from year to year. A prenup can help ensure that these earnings are protected and fairly divided in the event of a divorce.

But it's not just about money. Athletes also face unique challenges when it comes to their personal lives. The demands of training and competition can put a strain on relationships, leading to a higher risk of divorce. In fact, studies have shown that the divorce rate among athletes is higher than the general population. With so much at stake, having a prenup in place can provide peace of mind and help athletes focus on their game without worrying about their financial future, or the negative press that can come from revealing a couple’s personal details during a divorce.

One of the most famous cases of a prenup in the world of sports involves former NBA star Michael Jordan. In 2006, Jordan's prenup with his then-wife Juanita Vanoy became the subject of much speculation during their high-profile divorce. Despite being married for 17 years, the couple had a prenup in place that reportedly limited Vanoy's settlement to $168 million, a fraction of Jordan's estimated net worth at the time. While the details of their prenup were never disclosed, the case highlighted the importance of having clear financial agreements in place, even for couples with substantial wealth.

Another notable example is golfer Tiger Woods, whose prenuptial agreement with ex-wife Elin Nordegren came under scrutiny following their highly publicized divorce in 2010. Reports suggest that Nordegren received a settlement of around $100 million, far less than she could have been entitled to without a prenup. Despite the infidelity scandal that rocked their marriage, the presence of a prenup helped streamline the divorce process and protect Woods' considerable assets.

In the world of football, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bündchen are often cited as a prime example of a successful celebrity couple with what has been called an “ironclad prenup”. This allowed their 2022 divorce to be settled swiftly. Married in 2009, the couple reportedly had a prenup in place to protect Brady's NFL earnings estimated at $250M and Bündchen's modeling fortune estimated at more than $400M.

These real-life sports stories serve as a reminder that prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous, but for anyone looking to protect their assets and plan for the future. Whether you're a professional athlete or a regular fan, a prenup can provide essential peace of mind and ensure that both parties are protected in the event of a tough game-time decision.


“Love Hurts: 13 Famous Prenups”

"The World’s Most Expensive Divorce Settlements”

Amato, Paul R., and Denise Previti. "People's reasons for divorcing: Gender, social class, the life course, and adjustment." Journal of Family Issues 25.4 (2004): 501-527.

Morgan Fraser Mouchette and Kristina Royce. “Lessons From Tom Brady And Gisele Bündchen - How To Tackle Your Divorce Outside Of The Courtroom”