The Rolling Stone who gathered no money
Ronnie Wood divorced by wife Jo – but where's the fortune?
Thursday 12 November 2009
After 24 years, which have included repeated stints in rehab to battle alcoholism (Ronnie), lines of heroin and cocaine (Ronnie), a replacement plastic septum for his cocaine-ravaged nose (Ronnie), multiple music tours of the world and even a joint arrest for cocaine possession in the Caribbean, one of rock's most enduring marriages ended yesterday at the High Court in London.
Ronnie and Jo Wood, who met at the height of the Rolling Stones' fame and whose union endured decades of the guitarist's notoriously excessive lifestyle, were granted a decree nisi after he admitted adultery.
Details of the financial settlement were not made public but it was reported that Mrs Wood, 54, will receive £6.5m from her husband's fortune, which was valued at £35m earlier this year – half what it was.
The couple split after the 62-year-old grandfather-of-six embarked on an affair with a 20-year-old Russian cocktail waitress, Ekaterina Ivanova, during a vodka drinking spree in Ireland last year. Ms Ivanova was not mentioned in the court documents released – one of 23 "quickie" cases heard by a judge yesterday – but the star admitted adultery to his wife shortly before they separated.
Mrs Wood, who describes herself as a rock chick turned eco-warrior and now markets her own range of organic beauty products, stated that the relationship had broken down and she found it intolerable to live with her former husband.
Although there had been considerable speculation surrounding the size of the payout following Sir Paul McCartney's £24.3m settlement with Heather Mills, legal experts said it was a misconception that spouses could expect half their former partner's fortune.
Mr Wood's money ran out at least twice during their marriage. In a recent interview he admitted: "I'm a terrible businessman ... but I do try." His failed ventures include the nightclub Woody's, and he has been known to spend up to £1,000 a week on flowers, more on drugs and at one point £170,000 a year on chauffeured cars. His son Jamie conceded: "Ronnie's absolutely hopeless with money. He doesn't have a clue. First, because he never spends any. And then every so often he'll go off on a spree and be really guilty because he'll spend £10,000."
The guitarist officially joined the Rolling Stones in December 1976 when their biggest hits were largely behind them. He only became a full partner in the business in 1990 and enjoys none of the lucrative songwriting royalties shared by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
However he has toured with the band since 1975 and has a number of solo albums to his name. He wasalso a key member of The Faces when Rod Stewart was lead singer.
Wood has bought a new home close to Sandown Park racecourse complete with an octagonal tower and sweeping views over the Thames Valley. He has been as well known in recent years for his painting as his music – he once sold a canvas to an American collector for over £1m.
Mrs Wood has continued to live at the couple's £10m mansion at Kingston upon Thames in Surrey since the separation. It is understood that Mr Wood's estate in Co Kildare, Ireland, valued at £3m, has been on the market for much of this year.
She was a director of Wood's music company Rockyarch and company secretary of the painting business Scream Art. She also acted as Mr Wood's personal assistant during Rolling Stones tours, picking his clothes and cooking organic food for him on a travelling oven in their hotel rooms.
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