Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone has filed for divorce from his wife of five-plus years, Paula Redstone.
“We realized that my business commitments and my considerable travel on behalf of my companies were inconsistent with Paula’s plans,” Redstone told Daily Variety on Tuesday. “Accordingly, we have reluctantly decided to divorce.”
The divorce paperwork was filed late Friday afternoon in Los Angeles. Rumors of a split have been circulating for weeks, with questions arising on any possible impact on Redstone’s empire.
Redstone, however, said the breakup will have no effect on his business holdings.
“While I had a prenuptial agreement, I intend to be very generous with Paula,” he said. “I want her to live a comfortable life for the rest of her life.” Therefore, I will go well beyond the prenup. Naturally, the funds required will be own personal funds.”
Redstone married the former New York City schoolteacher, Paula Fortunato, in April 2003.
“We intend to be extremely supportive friends in the future,” Redstone said. “After the divorce action was filed, Paula and I had dinner with Brad Grey. The following day, Paula and I had dinner with Sherry Lansing. And the following day Paula and I had dinner with Susan and John Dolgen, thus indicating that Paula and I intend to continue our personal and friendly relationship. Paula is in New York right now visiting family. When she returns, we will be having dinner with friends here in Los Angeles Sunday night. Thus, as I’ve indicated, while we have reluctantly decided on a divorce, still having affection for each other we intend to continue our relationship of friendship and our social life.”
News of the divorce comes on the heels of a tough couple of weeks for the mogul, whose National Amusements sold $233 million of its stock in Viacom and CBS to make a debt payment on a loan that the company is now in talks with its lenders to restructure. Earlier this month, Viacom and CBS were forced to lower their third-quarter earnings forecast given the upheavals in global markets.