Why Did the Judge Order That Prince’s Divorce Records Be Unsealed?

Grammy winning artist Prince died at age 57 from a drug overdose on April 21 2016 – ten years after his divorce from second wife Manuela Testolini. In August, the judge ruled that the parties’ 2006 SEALED divorce file would be made available for public consumption. According to the Star Tribune, in explaining his decision to unseal the documents the judge wrote in part:

“While most parties to a divorce would prefer that the details be kept private, the divorce process is a public one, requiring public courts and resources to manage the proceeding and either determine or approve the result,” Fraser wrote.

“The public has an interest in monitoring courts and their enforcement of divorce decrees.”

Nothing earth shattering was learned from the files. It seems the couple led a “lavish” lifestyle befitting a multi-millionaire music mogul. Ms Testolini apparently testified that: “We had accounts at boutiques including Gucci, Versace and Valentino. We had accounts at Saks. There was never any restriction on (Prince’s) or my spending.”

In retrospect, I guess my big questions are the following: 1) notwithstanding the public’s need to delve into other people’s business that frankly does not concern them, why did the judge see the need to unseal this case in the first instance? Was there a dispute about the value of the estate that unsealing these documents would settle? I just can’t grasp the rationale for the unsealing. 2) This notion of the couple having “lavish” parties to the tune of $50,000. In my world, that is a lot of cash, of course. But for people like that, why is this being touted as “lavish”? Fifty grand is not lavish for rich people like that. I think it is a very modest sum, quite frankly and I am totally confused about why this is even a story. To wit, I am talking about it several months after the fact.

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Ya know?