Dr. Dre and the validity of a prenup

In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of having a prenuptial agreement if you have assets you want to protect prior to entering a committed relationship.

Here’s a little something in regards to prenups, based on current events. Case in point: Dr. Dre.

It has been almost a year now since Nicole Young commenced divorce proceedings against Andre Young, better known by his stage name—Dr. Dre.

Dr. Dre’s divorce appears to be highly contentious, with both sides filing court documents that contain various allegations about the other party’s conduct.

Celebrities get married and divorced all the time, so what makes this one interesting?

Dr. Dre’s estimated net worth exceeds $800 million.

California is a “community property” state, which means that like in Alberta, property acquired during the marriage by either spouse is presumed to be owned by both spouses equally. That means that, without an agreement setting out otherwise, Young could receive half of any property acquired by Dr. Dre during their marriage. Young and Dr. Dre got married in 1996—most of Dr. Dre’s property was acquired during the marriage. 

Dr. Dre and Young signed a prenuptial agreement on the day of their wedding.

Although the contents of the prenup are unknown, it would likely include a clause rejecting any of Young’s claims to Dr. Dre’s property and potentially spousal support. However, Young claims that the prenup was signed under duress and that Young had a metaphorical “gun to her head” when signing it. 

In Alberta, a prenup is enforceable if the agreement was “unimpeachably negotiated” and if the prenup corresponds to the parties’ original intention at the time they entered into the agreement. If one party signs the prenup under duress, as Young alleges, the validity of the prenup will be called into question.

The divorce proceedings made headlines in September when Young requested a spousal support amount of nearly $2 million per month.

Young requested this amount to pay for various expenses which allegedly include:

    • $10,000.00 per month for laundry and cleaning;
    • $20,000.00 per month on telephones, mobile phones, and e-mails;
    • $60,000.00 per month for education (tuition and living expenses);
    • $100,000.00 per month on mortgage payments;
    • $125,000.00 per month for charitable donations
    • $135,000.00 per month for clothes; and a whopping
    • $900,000.00 per month for entertainment.

These expenses are excessive, and it is unclear whether Dr. Dre has made any spousal support payments to date.

Young allegedly commenced divorce proceedings after Dr. Dre cheated on her.

This is likely legally irrelevant. Like Alberta, California is a no-fault divorce jurisdiction, which means that neither spouse needs to prove that the other spouse did something wrong to get divorced.

No matter which way the dice fall, Dr. Dre’s divorce proceedings will have an interesting conclusion. It is likely that the validity or invalidity of the prenup will have the largest effect on the divorce as both parties stand to gain or lose hundreds of millions of dollars.