Businessman Gary Dean was sick of the gossip. He found that following a divorce from his wife of almost 20 years, local rumormongers had branded him a cheapskate.
So he took the unusual step of posting details of his divorce settlement on the Internet, allowing neighbors and strangers alike to learn of the luxury cars, expensive jewelry and 3.7 million pounds (US$7.4 million) in cash awarded to his former wife, Helen.
"Over the course of the last year I have been subject to gossip about my divorce, some of it just silly tittle-tattle, and some of it malicious," Dean, 47, wrote on the site, www.deandivorce.com.
Dean said he had been depicted by some as a "greedy, tight, ruthless" man "who abandoned my wife and children."
"It's simply not true at all and I've decided that instead of allowing the rumor mill to continue churning out nonsense, I'd just set out the actual facts to stop it," Dean wrote.
Divorce hearings in Britain are held in private, and the details of settlements rarely become public. When Paul McCartney and Heather Mills divorced earlier this years, the judge took the unusual step of revealing details of the US$50 million settlement to appease intense press and public hunger for information.
Details of the Deans' divorce, settled at a court in Preston, northwest England, in July 2007, show that Gary Dean agreed to pay his wife a lump sum of 3.7 million pounds, plus 15,000 pounds (US$30,000) a year for each of their four children until they are 17.
His wife also got to keep all her jewelry, diamonds and watches, a Mercedes E500, an Audi convertible and the personalized license plates 7HD and 10HD.
The site also provides a description of the couple's comfortable lifestyle, which included "two or three holidays a year on average in high-class hotels."
"I take no joy in setting this all out here," wrote Dean, a publishing and advertising millionaire who lived with his wife and family in the village of St. Michaels, northwest England.
"I'd rather it be unnecessary, but if it stops the gossip, the sneering looks and the seriously defamatory comments being made about me it will have been worth it."
He told Friday's edition of The Times newspaper that being a millionaire in a small community had made him something of a local celebrity.
"If I lived in a city like London, Manchester or Birmingham, where there are a lot of wealthy people, the type of money I have earned would mean nothing," he said. "When you live in a small area it's almost like living in a goldfish bowl."
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