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Film star Crowe stages divorce auction

Actor Russell Crowe has announced an auction of personal possessions and film memorabilia entitled The Art of Divorce.

The New Zealand-born film star recently completed his divorce from Australian singer Danielle Spencer, with whom he has two sons. The just announced auction, to be held by Sotheby’s Australia in Sydney on April 7, will include no less than 223 items, including armour, a sword and a replica Roman chariot from his biggest hit, the 2000 film Gladiator.

The 53 year-old describes the auction as a collaboration with his now ex-wife. “Just as we collaborate on the upbringing of our kids, it’s easy for us to work together on something like this.”

Amongst the items for sale is a diamond ring he bought for Spencer, which the auctioneers estimate could raise as much as £43,000. Crowe now admits the “unbelievably expensive” gift was not very practical as his wife had always been afraid to wear the ring for fear of losing or damaging it. Also for sale are various guitars, a custom-made motorcycle, a collection of Australian art, and a black Mercedes which was used at the couple’s wedding in 2003. The motorcycle is worth roughly ten times as much as the diamond ring.

Crowe told the Sydney Daily Telegraph:

“I think [Danielle] feels the same way I do in regards to just moving on things that help create space for the future.”

The actor and occasional musician added:

“Divorce has its way of making you really examine the things that are essential in life — and the things that are not. Through the process, I had a look around and realised I had a lot of stuff. Career stuff, stuff I’ve collected and stuff in general. Boxes and boxes of stuff . . . so in the spirit of moving forward into fresh air, here’s a portion of that collection of stuff… this collection probably equates to three rooms full of things I’ll no longer have to care for, document, clean, tune and insure.”

Sotheby’s Australia chairman Geoffrey Smith said he expected the auction to bring in between £1.5 million and £2 million.

Sarah Barr-Young is Managing Partner of Stowe Family Law’s Ilkley office. She said:

“The divorce auction is not a new phenomenon – though normally it is one party seeking to raise funds to pay a settlement or realise assets to aid their own financial recovery post-divorce. Generally though they are conducted more discretely. In this case it looks as though Mr Crowe is hoping to take advantage of his public profile to attract more buyers. What’s really interesting here is that the auction is a collaboration between the parties which shows good will post-divorce. However, we’re unlikely to ever know whether the financial settlement Danielle receives is affected in any way by what sum is raised from this sale or whether the sale is required to raise funds for a settlement”.

She added:

“That aside, Crowe’s comments are refreshing in reminding divorcing parties to really focus on what matters in a divorce and that the items in the auctions are chattels [possessions], albeit ones collected over many years and vastly different in substance from what the rest of us have at home. Divorce lawyers are extremely mindful of the harm that a row over chattels can do in destabilising a hard negotiated financial settlement. Clearly they see divesting themselves of these possessions as a way to let go of their past and move on with their lives, and that is a very commendable attitude.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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