Detroit Man Who Won $80 Million Lottery Has to Split It with Ex-Wife

A Detroit man will have to give half of his lottery winnings to his wife after learning she's entitled to the money even if they've been separated for two years at the time he purchased his winning ticket. 

A man lucky enough to win the lottery saw that same luck diminish when he was forced to share his winnings with his estranged wife.



Detroit native Rich Zelasko’s luck quickly shifted upon learning his $80 million lottery win will have to be shared with his ex-wife, Mary Beth Zelasko. 

According to the Michigan appeals court, a marriage isn’t over until the divorce has been finalized.

Rich recently learned that the timing of his win had a lot to do with the fate of his prize money.  He purchased his Mega Millions ticket back in 2013 when he was still married to his wife. Though their divorce was only finalized in 2018, the court ordered him to give half of his winnings which amounted to over $38 million after taxes to Mary Beth who was entitled to it due to the time frame of their marriage. 


According to the Michigan appeals court, a marriage isn’t over until the divorce has been finalized. Even if Rich purchased the ticket two years since his separation from Mary Beth, he’s still obligated to give her $15 million of his winnings. 

Rich’s lawyer who appealed his case reasoned that it was his client’s luck that won him the lottery and not his wife’s. However, court arbitrator John Mills insists the money falls within the boundaries of marital property.

The appeals court upheld the decision last week and found no errors in it.


If only Rich's wife was as unconcerned about receiving a penny from her ex-husband's jackpot win as another ex-wife of a Mega Millions jackpot winner, then he wouldn't be appealing to the court today.

Eileen Murray's ex-husband, Mike Weirsky won $273 million but she had no intentions of taking a cent from that or even getting back with him. Murray said she has morals that are keeping her from chasing after her ex or his money and is contented with the money she owns and worked for. Murray was married to Weirsky for 15 years before their divorce was finalized in October. Weirsky won the lottery the following March. 

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