McCartneys face off in London courtroom


LONDON - Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and his estranged wife Heather faced off in court on Thursday in what has become one of show business's most publicized divorces.

Journalists swarmed to the High Court in London after it was learned the two were meeting for a second day at a hearing. The names of the parties were not listed on the courtroom door in an attempt to keep the media away.

At stake is a share of McCartney's fortune, estimated at up to $1.62 billion, and custody of their daughter Beatrice.

McCartney gave a two fingered "victory" salute as he was driven away in a black 4x4 with tinted windows. Former model Mills McCartney also appeared briefly outside the courtroom.

Neither spoke to reporters and the details of the hearing were not made public. Lawyers for both released a statement asking for the media to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.

Their divorce battle has become increasingly bitter and played out in Britain's scandal-hungry tabloids.

Some newspapers accuse Mills of trying to get her hands on McCartney's fortune and printed the contents of leaked court documents, apparently prepared by Mills's lawyers, accusing him of mistreating her.

The couple, more than 25 years apart in age, have hired the same law firms that represented Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana in their divorce in the 1990s.