Demi Moore was once a massive movie star, so the news that she's seeking spousal support from Ashton Kutcher in their divorce was surprising.
But it shouldn't be. The 50-year-old actress, who starred in '90s blockbusters like "Ghost," "A Few Good Men," and "Indecent Proposal," now earns a lot less than her ex.
Dorothy Pomerantz, who keeps tabs on the richest and most influential celebrities for Forbes magazine, tells omg! Moore makes only a fraction of what Kutcher makes, thanks to residuals from his past TV and movie work, investments in tech companies and other ventures, and, of course, his hit CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men." In fact, she gave Kutcher the top spot in her list of the highest-paid TV actors last October, estimating that the 35-year-old brought in $24 million between May 2011 and May 2012.
For Moore, whose recent projects include playing Miley Cyrus' mom in the straight-to-DVD "LOL," the annual paycheck is still in the millions, but definitely in the single digits.
[Related: Demi Moore Seeks Spousal Support]
"Most of her money is still coming from residuals [from earlier movie and TV work]," Pomerantz says. "So I think she's lucky if she's bringing in $3 million to $5 million a year." She adds that some of that money comes from endorsement deals, such as Moore's recent one with Ann Taylor, and almost certainly, her 2000 divorce settlement with Bruce Willis, where she reportedly walked away with $90 million. (Moore and Willis share three daughters, although she and Kutcher do not have children.)
Even when Moore and the 15 years-younger Kutcher tied the knot in 2005, Moore had a lower earning potential. Already past what Hollywood considers a woman's prime age for moviemaking, Moore appeared in fewer and smaller movies in smaller roles.
Her intentions to seek support were revealed when she filed a document in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday in response to Kutcher's filing for divorce in December. However, she was the one who announced in November 2011 that the once Twitter-obsessed couple would be calling it quits, not longer after rumors began to swirl that he had strayed. Whether or not Kutcher cheated, though, won't matter when it comes to California law, where divorcing spouses are entitled to half of the wealth that the other person accumulates during the marriage. (Unless of course, there's a prenuptial agreement, which would trump everything.)
[Related: Read Demi Moore's Court Documents]
Attorney Fred Silberberg, a certified family law specialist with an office in Beverly Hills, California, says details of a divorce settlement will be hard to come by unless one of the sides wants them known.
"In a case like this, I wouldn't expect that we would ever really know what they've agreed upon because what most people do in these high-profile cases — myself included — is to do two separate documents," Silberberg said. "One a very rudimentary document that gets filed with the court because that's what's accessible to the public and then a more detailed document between the two of them that only comes into play in court if somebody breaches one of the terms of it. And that way they'll keep whatever the terms of the settlement are [private]."
However, New York trial lawyer Barry Slotnick, who's worked on celebrity divorce cases such as that of Oscar winning-actor Anthony Quinn, predicts that the details of this celebrity divorce will be very public.
"There will be no secrets kept by the time this is over," Slotnick says. "She will get a good amount of money for her spousal support."
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