Celebrity Divorce 101: How Hollywood Lawyers Manage Messy Breakups

When it comes to the surprising splits of the rich and famous, there is plenty of strategy involved behind the scenes to keep it all under wraps.

As Vanity Fair investigated, the people responsible for managing the divorces of high-profile couples like Johnny Depp and Amber Heard or Britney Spears and Kevin Federline have a few tricks up their sleeves to minimize press and maximize efficiency. To start, some clients settle their divorce privately before it has even formally begun. However, that microscope provided by determined paparazzi can often prove helpful if one party is trying to make allegations against the other.

“We had a case where there was an issue of somebody drinking, and we found a picture in the papers, a tabloid, of that person in New York with a glass. We couldn’t prove whether it was apple juice or scotch inside it, but it was in the evening and the person had a highball glass, like you would drink scotch out of,” attorney Neal Hersh told Vanity Fair. “I didn’t get a home run from that picture, but I got a triple. It was obvious what it was.”