Why rich guys can't stop marrying

They have the cash for divorce settlements, so why not?

Published January 30, 2006 1:00PM (EST)

On the heels of the announcement that cosmetics magnate Ronald O. Perelman plans to divorce his fourth wife, sexy-as-all-hell actress Ellen Barkin, the New York Times asks this pressing question: Why do ultrarich men marry, and remarry, and remarry when they have to pay out hefty sums each time they bust up their unions?

1) For gazillionaires like Perelman, marriage is more socially acceptable than serial dating. (Plus, having someone as smokin' as Barkin on your arm makes you look good.) 2) Because if you're superrich, a few multimillion-dollar divorce payments won't really set you back. And 3) Some of these guys genuinely have hope.

"They love the institution, they want to do it again," Janis Spindel, a matchmaker in New York who charges $100,000 to find spouses for her "power elite clients," told the Times. "They think three times is the charm."

Or, as Harriet Newman Cohen, a New York divorce lawyer, charmingly put it: "They see [marriage] like a hedge fund. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't."

By Lori Leibovich

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

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