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Learning English - Words in the News
11 February, 2008 - Published 12:01 GMT
McCartney divorce
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills

The pop legend Paul McCartney appears in a British court today - to take part in the final act of his messy and very public divorce from his second wife, Heather Mills. This report from Torin Douglas:

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The former Beatle's fortune has been estimated at eight hundred and twenty-five million pounds, so this could be one of the most costly as well as high-profile divorce settlements.

It's been an acrimonious battle, with claim and counter-claim through the world's media. Heather Mills, the former model who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, has now parted company with her UK lawyers and PR advisor.

One newspaper says the two sides are close to a settlement and she's likely to receive a total of fifty-five million pounds; another says they're still deadlocked and she's asking for just ten million. Neither side is commenting and the hearing will take place behind closed doors. Whatever the financial outcome, the court won't make it public.

Torin Douglas, BBC News, London

Listen to the words

the most costly as well as high-profile
the most expensive and the most publicised, the one with the most press and media attention

an acrimonious battle
a disagreement that's full of anger, arguments and bad or negative feelings

claim and counter-claim
one side says that something is true or is a fact, although it is not proven, and the other side says the opposite is true

parted company with
no longer has a (here, working) relationship with

PR advisor
someone whose job is Public Relations (i.e. to positively publicise a person's activities, here, Mills' activities)

close to a settlement
nearly ready to come to an agreement

both sides cannot come to an agreement because neither side is willing to change its demands or accept any of the demands of the other side

Neither side is commenting
Neither Paul McCartney nor Heather Mills is talking in public about the divorce

behind closed doors
not in public, privately, no members of the public will be allowed in the court

Whatever the financial outcome
It doesn't matter how much money she receives

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