It all started last year when celebrity chef power couple Pat and Gina Neely ofDown Home with the Neelys, announced the end of their 20 year marriage. The Neelys, who first appeared on Food Network in 2006, had built a culinary empire as married chefs. As the Neelys, they had two television shows, numerous cookbooks, and a famed BBQ restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. With their divorce, the couple has had to separate their intertwined professional brand. This included disabling their joint website, GinaAndPat.com.
The next public divorce announcement came from celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, posting on her website that she and her husband were divorcing after 10 years of marriage. One of the top personalities at Food Network, Giada has hosted multiple shows for the network since 2005. One of the most popular celebrity chefs in the world, her brand includes multiple cookbooks, restaurants, and merchandise lines. Her divorce announcement immediately started rumors spreading of a relationship between Giada and her married co-star, celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
As 2015 started, the surprising news came out that celebrity chef Alton Brown and his wife had divorced. A huge star in front of and behind the camera, the very personal Brown had kept all news of the couple’s separation out of the media. The story only broke once the divorce was final. Brown, Giada, and Bobby Flay host the massive hit show, Next Food Network Star. It was then of great interest to fans when chef Bobby Flay joined his co-stars in announcing his own divorce.
While most of the other Food Network divorces have been quiet affairs, the end of the 10 year marriage between Bobby Flay and actress Stephanie March has exploded in the media. As one of the top celebrity chefs in the world, Flay has a culinary brand worth at least 20 million. His wife, well know for her starring role in Law and Order: SVU, has not been as financially successful. As part of the divorce proceedings, she is challenging a prenuptial agreement she signed. Currently that agreement limits her to only 1 million dollars of the couple’s community property. Her lawyers are arguing that all of Flay’s current assets were acquired during the marriage and that she is entitled to 10 million of the estate.
The divorce hasn’t stayed in the court room. Media was quick to report March’s charges of infidelity against Flay. She claims he has carried on a long term affair with his assistant as well as relationships with actress January Jones and his co-host Giada De Laurentiis. These allegations become a public spectacle when during a ceremony to honor Flay with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a plane flew by with a banner reading “Cheater.” While less vocal, Flay has fired back with some of his own allegations. Answering a claim that March is unable to work because of chronic medical issues, Flay’s attorney revealed that the cause of her medical condition was a botched breast enhancement surgery.
While the scandalous details make for great media headlines, the issue of prenuptial agreements is an important question in any divorce case. One of March’s claims is that her advice and consultation enabled Flay to grow his business, including making the right decisions regarding menu choices and restaurant decor. It will be interesting to see how the judge rules as this very public divorce continues. In the meantime, the soap opera continues at Food Network.