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Giuliani, Wife Reach Divorce Settlement

July 11, 2002|MAGGIE FARLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK — Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and his estranged wife, Donna Hanover, narrowly averted an ugly, public battle in divorce court Wednesday, ending their 16-year marriage with a last-minute, out-of-court settlement worth $6.8 million for Hanover.

"This is both a very sad day and a day in which I feel a great sense of relief," Giuliani said after four hours of negotiations behind closed doors at the courthouse to conclude the settlement. "For the sake of the children and really all of us, I'm relieved we were able to reach an agreement on all the different terms and spare everyone any further embarrassment."

Giuliani admitted to cruel and inhuman treatment of Hanover based on his open relationship with his girlfriend, Judith Nathan, said Hanover's lawyer Helene Brezinsky.

He will pay her $6.8 million in addition to legal expenses and ongoing child support.

The details of the settlement are secret, but court documents released last month show that Giuliani was ordered to pay about $22,000 a month to support Hanover and their two children. Hanover, an actress and television personality, earns about $200,000 a year. After the former mayor revealed he would earn about $8 million this year in speaking fees on top of a $2.7-million book contract, Hanover had asked for $1 million a year, including $1,140 a month for their golden retriever, Goalie. (The former seeing-eye dog is going blind and needs an operation.)

"This is a spectacular win for Donna and her children," Brezinsky said.

The divorce process ended the same way it began: in front of the media. Two years ago, Giuliani told a news conference that he wanted to end their marriage--before he told Hanover. A year later, he described how Hanover left him to struggle with his prostate cancer alone, forcing him to clean up after himself when he spent the whole night awake and vomiting after chemotherapy treatments. Giuliani, 58, claimed that his companion, Nathan, was nothing more than a "good friend," because the testosterone-suppressing cancer drugs had left him impotent for more than a year.

Hanover, 52, had complained of "open and notorious adultery" after Giuliani began appearing with Nathan on his arm at public functions. She accused him of having an earlier affair with his former press secretary, Cristyne Lategano--a relationship Lategano has denied.

A trial would have aired even more secrets. Giuliani, a tenacious former prosecutor who hated to lose a case, said there were at least a few details he wanted to keep private.

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