Michelle Kwan Is Headed for a Messy Divorce

Abby West
Senior Editor
Michelle Kwan and Clay Pell in happier times. (Photo: Demis Maryannakis/Splash News)

Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan has filed for divorce from her husband of four years, Clay Pell, who made the first move with his petition for divorce. The trouble is that she filed in Rhode Island and he filed in California. You know, which is a community property state.

According to the Providence Journal News, Kwan “learned of Pell’s filing without warning via a tweet that was soon followed by an online article in the New York Daily News.

The two-time Olympic medalist, 36, says that they last lived together in November, they had tried to resolve this amicably until he blindsided her by filing in March, and she tried to serve him divorce papers 10 times in April. She eventually had to post the documents on the front door.

The couple have no children, but among their assets is the $1.5 million estate they bought in 2014. The four-bedroom home on 1.9 acres hasn’t exactly been moved into yet — it’s waiting for a certificate of occupancy — though Pell, 35, has “placed an air mattress at the residence and suitcases clearly marked ‘Pell.’”

Residency will be a key issue, as Kwan, a California native, claims that she lived in Rhode Island for the year prior to her filing, having stayed at a motel in Newport since they stopped cohabitating, and is a registered voter there. They did lease an apartment in Brooklyn together while she worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but she says she spent a good portion of that time with Pell at their Providence pad and that she considers their Newport and California homes “vacation” properties.

Pell, a lawyer and former White House staffer for Barack Obama’s administration who unsuccessfully ran for Rhode Island governor in 2014, wants the matter to be heard in California, according to reports.

At the time of his filing, Pell issued a statement saying, “It is with deep regret that I share that Michelle and my marriage is coming to an end. This is a sad and difficult turn of events for our family. I love Michelle, and wish her the very best as her life takes her in a new direction.”

There’s been no statement from Kwan, but the retired skater hasn’t appeared to be drowning in her sorrows, at least per her social media accounts. There has been the occasional look back at her many wonderful performances as she revels in the “good memories,” like this clip from her lovely 1999 World Figure Skating performance skating to Jewel’s “Hands.”


And as she recently showed off in this impressive twist dive into the pool, the Olympian’s got some serious moves!


And for all we know, this lighthearted yoga pose she posted a few weeks ago could have been a nod to fans that not only was she “hanging in there,” but she’d be all right.



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