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Celebs Who Battled for Custody of Their Pets After Splitting Up

Celebs Who Battled for Custody of Their Pets After Splitting Up

Custody battles in Hollywood’s most publicized divorces can sometimes take an ugly turn, but the fight for guardianship isn’t always centered around an estranged couple’s children. In some cases, deciding over the ownership of pets can prove to be just as difficult.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, for example, have become infamous for having one of Tinseltown’s messiest splits to date. The former couple, who were 22 years apart in age, first met in 2009 while working on the set of The Rum Diary and tied the knot in Los Angeles in 2015. The exes’ split was announced in May 2016, and Heard filed for divorce. At the time, a source told Us Weekly that the actors “had a horrible relationship.”

Depp and Heard’s separation was finalized in January 2017. Though much of the attention was focused on the former pair’s abuse allegations, Depp’s settlement with Heard and their subsequent lawsuits, the A-listers also had to decide who would get custody over their two adopted pups.

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, one of country music lovers’ favorite former couples, broke hearts in 2015 when they announced their intent to divorce. Though they each found love again with Brendan McLoughlin and Gwen Stefani, respectively, details of their settlement also involved their pets — which they shared several of.

In 2014, Rolling Stone reported on noted the large number of animals in the then couple’s possession. “They’ve got chickens, donkeys, pigs, goats, Black Angus cattle. They have six dogs — all strays Lambert has picked up or adopted from shelters — between the house and the farm, and five barn cats. (‘You gotta have barn cats.’),” the magazine noted at the time. “Lambert also has three horses: an American Paint, a Welsh cob, and a Gypsy Vanner that Shelton gave her for her birthday.”

To this day, reality TV darlings Jon and Kate Gosselin still share a very messy post-divorce relationship. The ex-couple became a household name through their former TLC series, Jon & Kate Plus 8, a series that documented how the pair balanced their relationship along with being parents to eight children: twins Cara and Madelyn and sextuplets Collin, Hannah, Joel, Alexis, Leah and Aaden.

In May 2009, Us broke the news that Jon cheated on Kate with third-grade school teacher Deanna Hummel. He later denied such allegations, despite admitting to having “poor judgment.” Kate filed for divorce soon after, but the news of their separation first surfaced on an episode of their former reality series.

Jon won sole custody of Hannah and Collin, while the twins and four remaining sextuplets are under Kate’s care. However, in addition to fighting over their children, the pair also butted heads over who would take on guardianship over two dogs.

Scroll down to learn more about Hollywood’s biggest couples who fought for custody of their beloved pets.


Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

The Rum Diary costars encountered several obstacles in their highly-publicized split, including Depp’s $50 million-lawsuit against Heard over her Washington Post op-ed about her being an alleged victim of domestic abuse. Though the former couple never had children, they did share two adopted dogs, Pistol and Boo. Before finalizing their divorce in 2017, Heard was awarded custody of the pups. She was also allowed to keep their horse, Arrow.

Rich Fury/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston

Aniston and Theroux tied the knot in August 2015 after four years of dating, but the Wanderlust costars announced their separation in February 2018. In a statement to Us, the exes said that their split “was mutual and lovingly made at the end of” 2017. Though the acting pair never had children, they did share a couple of dogs: Dolly, Sophie, Clyde. (The Leftovers actor later adopted a pit bull, Kuma, after the split news broke.)

Theroux and Aniston reportedly agreed to shared custody of their pets. However, they mourned the death of Dolly in July 2019. In November 2019, a source told Us that Theroux “makes it a priority to stay in touch” with the Friends alum despite their split.

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Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton

In this former couple’s 2015 divorce settlement, an insider told Us that Lambert would be permitted to care for the dogs that belonged to her. The “Tin Man” singer was also allowed to keep the horse Shelton bought for her, and the Voice coach held on to his own horse. However, the source said that they were still “working” on figuring out how to deal with the pet custody portion of their agreement.

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Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus

Over the course of Cyrus and Hemsworth’s 10-year off and on romance, the Last Song costars adopted 15 pets: seven dogs, three cats, two horses, two mini horses and one pig. The duo announced their separation in August 2019, confirming to Us in a joint statement that they “still remain dedicated parents to all of their animals they share while lovingly taking this time apart.” Later that month, TMZ reported that Cyrus would be keeping all of their pets.

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Britney Spears and Kevin Federline

The “Toxic” singer’s rocky marriage to Federline dominated headlines in the early 2000s. The pair wed in 2004 and finalized their separation in 2007. Before putting the romance to bed for good, the pair agreed to joint custody of their sons, Sean and Jayden. However, Spears lost physical custody of her children to her former spouse months later. At the time, the exes also faced a battle of guardianship for their pets. The issue became so problematic, that PETA stepped in and wrote a letter to Federline, urging him to remove the pups from the “Womanizer” artist’s care.

“For the sake of your children and the animals who are at risk while in Ms. Spears’ custody, we hope that you will do the right and best thing for all involved and pursue a custody order for the animals so that your sons can continue to have the company of the animals they’ve grown to adore,” the organization wrote.

As of September 2019, Us reported that Federline has 70 percent custody of the pair’s sons. It remains unknown who obtained sole ownership of their pets.

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Jon and Kate Gosselin

The reality TV stars not only battled for custody of their children, but they also went head-to-head over who would be granted ownership of their two German Shepherds, Shoka and Nala. However, Jon settled the issue by returning the pups to their breeder in September 2009.

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Drew Barrymore and Tom Green

Barrymore and Green tied the knot in July 2001, but the Tom Green Show alum filed for divorce that December after less than six months of marriage. They both fought for ownership over their yellow Labrador Retriever, Flossie — the pup who saved the couple’s lives in 1998 when a fire occurred in their Los Angeles home. The Never Been Kissed actress won custody of the pet.

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Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris

Harris began a relationship with the late Playboy founder in 2009 after ending things with Holly Madison. The duo were engaged the following year, but Harris called off their engagement in June 2011. After the breakup, the exes found themselves in a custody issue over their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Charlie. Harris initially granted Hefner ownership of the pup, but she had a change of heart in December of that year. The exes later reconciled and tied the knot in Decemebr 2012. They were married until his death in 2017.

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Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

The golf pro’s marriage to the Swedish model came to an end in 2010 after reports surfaced the year before about him having extramarital affairs. The former pair agreed on joint custody of their daughter, Sam, and son, Charlie, but they also had to come to an agreement on who would care for their pets. Nordegren ultimately got custody of their dogs.

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Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams

After nearly six years of marriage, Moore and Adams announced their separation in January 2015. The This Is Us star’s rep told Us that the split was “a respectful, amicable parting of ways” for the exes, even though Moore later called out her former spouse in 2019 for allegedly being emotionally abusive. In finalizing their divorce, Moore and Adams — who didn’t have children — went through a custody battle over their eight pets: six cats and two dogs. The furry pals were under Moore’s care when they split, and she ultimately sought financial support from Adams for the animals. When their divorce was finalized in 2016, neither party was set to receive any spousal support.

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Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas

Griffith and Banderas were married from 1996 to 2015. By the time their nearly 20-year marriage concluded, fighting for custody of their daughter, Stella, became a non-issue since she was 18 when they were finalizing their split. However, the exes faced a roadblock when deciding who would care for their three dogs. TMZ claimed that the Working Girl actress wanted to have full ownership of all three pups, but updates on this matter have not been reported on.

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Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart

The Twilight costars’ romance was a subject of interest among fans and the press alike. The duo began dating in 2009, not long after Stewart split with her Speak co-star Michael Angarano. However, the young heartthrobs’ romance encountered a major bump in the road when Stewart was caught cheating on Pattinson with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, in July 2012.

They split after the scandal broke, but reconciled later that year. They officially called it quits in 2013. When they initially split in 2012, Stewart moved out of their shared home. However, RadarOnline also reported that the pair ran into an issue when deciding who should take their dogs, Bear and Bernie. In 2013, Pattinson reportedly became the sole caretaker of the pups.

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Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal

Though the acting pair never married, Dunst and Gyllenhaal — who dated from 2002 to 2004 — shared a $1.7 million home in Los Angeles during their short-lived romance. The exes were also parents to a German Shepherd mix puppy named Atticus, who they adopted together.

When they split, the Donnie Darko star obtained custody of the pup and the former Spider-Man actress earned visitation rights. Atticus died in 2015.

Speaking with Allure in 2018, Dunst admitted that she is “not good friends” with Gyllenhaal, but said it “would be nice to see him.”

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Source : Dory Jackson Link

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