Hip-Hop

Everything You Need to Know About Dr. Dre's Divorce

Dr. Dre and Nicole Young
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Dr. Dre and Nicole Young arrive at the premiere of 'The Defiant Ones' at Paramount Theatre on June 22, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.

The divorce of Dr. Dre and his wife of 24 years, Nicole Young, has grown increasingly contentious over the past few months. Both sides appear to be digging in for a battle over the producer and Beats Electronics co-founder's significant assets in the midst of an unexpected health scare that landed Dre (born Andre Romelle Young) in the hospital during the first week of January with a reported brain aneurysm.

The back-and-forth began in June 2020 when Nicole Young, 50, filed for divorce from the mogul in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences and seeking spousal support. The couple, who married in 1996, have two children together: 23-year-old son Truice and 19-year-old daughter Truly.

Dre's attorneys filed a copy of what they said was a prenup signed by the couple in late December, which notes that all the property that they've acquired since their wedding is kept separately, but also that Nicole did not waive her right to spousal support. The latter has become the centerpiece of the dispute, with the sides so far unable to reach an agreement on an amount; attorneys for both parties did not return requests for comment at press time.

One of the main points of contention in the dispute is Dre's claim that the prenup they signed is still enforceable; Nicole Young's team claims the rapper/producer ripped the document up, thus invalidating it. In the meantime, legal wrangling has continued on the topics of attorney's fees and spousal support.

According to a memorandum attached to a request for a hearing to test the validity and enforceability of the prenup filed in August 2020 by Nicole Young's attorney, Dre's estimated net worth of $1 billion was "largely earned and amassed during the parties' approximate 24-year marriage." It notes that before they got married, Dre "demanded" that Nicole sign a prenup using "undue pressure," leaving her "no choice but to do so." It says she reluctantly signed it before their May 25, 1996, wedding.

Then, two or three years after their marriage, it claims Dre "tore up" the agreements in Nicole's presence while acknowledging that he knew his wife had signed them "as a result of duress, coercion and undue influence and knew the terms of the agreement were patently unconscionable," adding, "Andre also destroyed the agreements as a grand gesture of his love for Nicole and his desire to have a marriage free of any financial restrictions governing their respective rights and responsibilities." According to the memo, Nicole never received a copy of the original prenup and, at that point, still did not have a copy.

In September, according to People magazine, Nicole Young's team filed a lawsuit claiming that the rapper "secretly" transferred "valuable trademarks" that they jointly owned, including his rap moniker ("Dr. Dre") as well as the title of his smash 1992 solo album, The Chronic, after he allegedly kicked her out of their house in April. The lawsuit alleges that Dre registered a new holding company and began transferring "highly valuable trademarks" in which he was listed as the sole owner shortly after Nicole Young was "forced" to leave their home. Her lawyers claimed that they've demanded a return of the trademarks, but at that point Dre's team had "failed and refused to do so."

A Dec. 29, 2020, filing from Nicole's lawyers requesting attorney fees and spousal support in response to an earlier filing from Dre -- in which the producer's attorneys asked the court to deny her request for an immediate release of $1.5 million for attorney's fees in light of the producer claiming that he continued to pay for all of Nicole's living expenses -- began, "Andre has the unmitigated gall of requesting that this Court ignore the unambiguous statutory and case law applicable to the issuance of temporary orders for spousal support pursuant to Family Code, Section 3600."

The code states that during a divorce proceeding the court may order "either spouse to pay any amount that is necessary for the support of the other spouse," with Nicole's attorneys claiming that, "In a transparent effort to confuse the issues and avoid his straightforward obligations, Andre inundates this Court with a mishmash of irrelevant legal and factual assertions that are applicable only to permanent spousal support, not temporary spousal support."

The filing claims that Dre is advocating for a "wrong legal standard" that would "greatly reduce" the support amount to a proposed $81,000 a month, "which is literally 7.8% of the $645,000 per month" the couple spent on entertainment. ET reported that court documents revealed that Nicole Young was seeking $1,936,399 in monthly spousal support and attorney's fees that added up to $5 million. According to a TMZ report, in the midst of his hospitalization, Dre. agreed to pay Nicole Young a one-time payment of $2 million in temporary spousal support, though not the reported additional $5 million to cover attorney's fees; the next hearing in their divorce is slated for April. Dre has reportedly been paying nearly $300,000 a month in temporary support to Nicole.

In one of the more pointed statements in the December filing from Nicole Young's lawyers, they write, "In a desperate effort to woefully underpay his wife, he may be inadvertently revealing one of his biggest secrets: he really isn't a billionaire and that he has deliberately overstated his wealth to his fans and his friends to stroke his own ego." One of the central arguments laid out in the filing is a claim that Nicole Young is entitled to "Pendente Lite" spousal support, which calls for maintaining "the parties' standards of living in as close as possible to the pre-separation status quo, pending trial."

However, according to Nicole's lawyers, "Andre can afford to litigate Nicole into the ground, while continuing to enjoy his status quo lifestyle in the lap of luxury... Nicole has not had the same luxury since separation. Andre has starved her of funds, has forced her to choose between this litigation and the maintenance of her status quo lifestyle, and she has found it impossible to keep up in either respect." They also claim that there is "undisputed, reliable evidence" that both sides' status quo expenses are more than $2 million a month.

"Andre's convoluted and contrived odyssey of his income and marital standard of living should be completely disregarded," they continue. "To do otherwise would be to ignore the law in California." In another section, Nicole's lawyers claim that Dre's analysis of his income "intentionally yields artificially depressed numbers... designed to allow Andre to skirt his obligations to pay the appropriate amount of spousal support." As evidence it says that Dre operates a number of "closely-held businesses for which he can easily artificially reduce his income 'on paper'" while also allegedly excluding millions of dollars in investment income from his team's financial analysis.

A Jan. 6, 2021, spousal support proceeding noted that a "stipulation has been reached between the parties," which will be submitted to the court, signifying that they'd reached what appears to be a temporary, confidential settlement covering spousal support and attorney's fees; the matter was continued until an April 14 court date.

After his hospitalization, Dre rested up at home, and photos popped up of the producer back in the studio.

According to a TMZ report published Thursday (March 11), Nicole was just denied a restraining order against her estranged husband. According to the report, Nicole requested an emergency domestic violence restraining order due to lyrics in an unreleased song in which Dre allegedly calls his ex a "greedy bi---" and accuses her of perjury.

The next hearing on the court docket is set for April 14.