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Jurassic for creator, millions for wife

Los Angeles, April 18: The best-selling novelist Michael Crichton has agreed to pay his wife £20 million in cash and give her their home as part of their divorce settlement.

The Jurassic Park author, who also created the hit television series ER, retains most of the rights to his books and films, but has agreed to the amicable division of most of their properties and possessions.

As part of the agreement, the couple has promised not to insult each other.

As well as the cash, Anne-Marie will receive their 19-room home on 63 acres in New York state. The 6 feet, 9 inches author had the door frames and sinks raised so he would not have to stoop.

His wife will also receive the couple’s fine art collection, including a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein and a painting by Rene Magritte.

The author is, however, taking some of his favourite possessions from the estate. Along with personal property, clothing and furnishings, he has also selected “two rugs from the main house”.

He will keep their Hawaiian estate while Anne Marie retains their 20 horses.

The detailed settlement, set out in papers filed with Los Angeles Superior Court, also states he will keep rights to his “celebrity status” and various vehicles, including two ageing Ford trucks.

The couple, who have been married for 15 years and currently live in separate homes in Santa Monica, California, will share joint custody of their 14-year-old daughter, Taylor.

Crichton, 59, wrote his first best-seller, The Andromeda Strain, while he was at Harvard Medical School in 1969. It was filmed in 1971 and since then more than a dozen of his novels have been filmed, including the Jurassic Park series, Disclosure and Westworld, making him one of the world’s wealthiest authors.

He recently received £3.5 million for the film rights to his latest book, Prey, a tale of biotechnology and genetic engineering.

The settlement, drawn up in 2001, reads: “Anne-Marie and Michael shall live separate and apart from the other and free from the marital control and authority of the other.

“The sum of $31,000,000 shall be paid by Michael to Anne-Marie by certified cheque or wire transfer to her banking account. They shall have joint legal and physical custody of Taylor to maintain and foster a positive, enduring and loving relationship. On an annual basis, one half of Taylor’s time will be spent with each.”

A large section of the agreement deals with Crichton’s rights to films, book and television programmes, and states: “Any and all creative assets would remain the sole and exclusive property of Michael.” The only exception is the film Twister, which they co-authored.

Crichton also retains all rights arising from a £30 million, two-book contract with Harper Collins. The 36-page document ends with the couple agreeing not to write or talk in public about their marriage or “in any public manner or forum make disparaging remarks about the personal, private or family life of the other party (including the other’s family, companions, dates, acquaintances or future spouses)”.

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