For many couples their pets are nothing less than furry family members – and they can spark nasty custody battles if it all ends in divorce.
That’s certainly the case in Ant McPartlin’s messy split with Lisa Armstrong, where beloved dog Hurley is the main bone of contention.
Ant, 42, credited the five-year-old labrador with helping him tackle his drink and drug addictions. He has now reportedly brought in infamous lawyer Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole, to ensure he gets custody of the pooch as the former couple’s assets are split between them.
It’s not the first time celebs have become locked in a legal fight over who gets the dogs. Here are some of the others…
Britney Spears V Kevin Federline
During their 2007 divorce following almost three tumultuous years of marriage, the Toxic singer lost custody of the couple’s two children, Sean Preston and Jayden James.
Animal rights group PETA then wrote an open letter to Kevin urging him to file for custody of their pets too, which he did. The group said they feared the couple’s dogs “may be in danger” and were particularly concerned about her Yorkshire terror puppy London, which she takes to nightclubs and shopping malls.
WINNER: The decision on the dogs was never made public, but Kevin continues to have custody of the kids.
Cheryl Cole V Ashley Cole
Girls Aloud singer Cheryl and Chelsea footballer Ashley married in 2016 and were together for four years until rumours of his cheating ways hit the headlines. With both believed to be worth around £10,000, the couple decided to split everything 50-50, including their £6million Surrey mansion which was sold and the proceeds shared.
However the only thing they couldn’t agree on was their two dogs, boxers Buster and Coco – and a judge was asked to decide with whom they should stay.
WINNER: Cheryl was granted custody of the dogs, and Ashley was left in the doghouse.
Tiger Woods V Elin Nordegren
After the golf ace’s infidelity was exposed to the world following his car accident in November 2009, Elin took possession of the couple’s three dogs. She continued to look after the pooches as the sportsman was engulfed in the cheating scandal and eventually checked into rehab for sex addiction.
During their divorce proceedings, in which Elin walked away with £80million of Tiger’s fortune, each fought for sole custody of the dogs, including a Border Collie called Tai and a Labradoodle called Yogi.
WINNER: Unknown, although Tiger has been seen walking the dogs. They were awarded joint custody of the children.
Drew Barrymore V Tom Green
Hollywood star Drew and comedian Tom, who met on the set of Charlie’s Angels, divorced in 2001 after being married for just five months.
But while everything else was straight forward, a custody battle broke out over who would keep yellow labrador Flossie. The seven-year-old dog saved their lives in 1998 by waking them during a house fire, when he barked and clawed at their bedroom door.
WINNER: Drew, Flossie’s original owner, won the case. After Flossie died in 2010 aged 16, she spread his ashes on the Ganges river.
Liam Gallagher V Nicole Appleton
Following his split with Nicole in 2013, Oasis frontman Liam told how he severely missed his two sausage dogs Brigitte Bardot and Ruby Tuesday, who had moved in with Nicole. He was even seeing visiting pet shops in Primrose Hill to get his doggy fix.
Liam, who has a son, Gene, with the former All Saints singer, was even hatching a plan to steal them back from his estranged wife, according to reports – but eventually came to his senses and applied for joint custody of the dogs.
WINNER: Nicole kept the sausage dogs, and Liam later found love again with a labrador retriever called Spinee.
Rory McIlroy v Holly Sweeney
After Northern Irish golfer Rory called off their six-year romance in 2011 to start seeing world tennis No1 Caroline Wozniacki, Holly was devastated – because he took their two beloved dogs, labradoodle Theo and cocker spaniel Gus with him.
Holly, who had to move out of the Co Down mansion she shared with Rory, was so desperate to see them again she applied to a judge for custody.
WINNER: Rory and Holly were avoided joint custody of the dogs, who split their time between the homes of both ‘parents’.
Mariah Carey v Nick Cannon
After the singer and her record company exec husband split in 2014 after six years of marriage it all seemed to be very amicable – until it came to who was going to be keeping their eight dogs.
Mariah and Nick had a pre-nup, which saved them fighting over their estimated £325 million fortune, but it didn’t include the dogs.
It meant Jackie Lambchops, JJ, Speak E Beans, The Good Reverend Pow Jackson, Mutley P Gore Jackson The Third, Jill E Beans, Pipitty Jackson and Cha got stuck in the middle of a messy canine custody battle.
WINNER: The verdict was never made public, but Mariah regular posts photos and videos of the dogs on Instagram.
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