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‘Dog Whisperer’ host finalizes divorce, must pay ex-wife $23,000 a month

Wendy Carpenter
The Upshot
April 21, 2012

"Dog Whisperer" host Cesar Millan might need some consolation from man's best friend after his divorce was finalized.

TMZ is reporting that the self-taught expert dog trainer must pay his ex-wife, Ilusión, a one-time amount of $400,000, a monthly spousal payment of $23,000, and another $10,000 for monthly child support.

That may seem like a huge sum for a basic cable reality TV personality, but Millan can afford it.

The recently filed divorce documents, which were obtained by TMZ, show that Millan makes $170,000 a month — which is over $2 million a year.  Though he is best known for hosting the National Geographic Channel's "Dog Whisperer" for eight seasons — it has millions of viewers and is broadcast to over 80 countries — the 42-year-old has also authored several best-selling books and runs a Dog Psychology Center. The latter, according to the New York Times, is a 43-acre mecca he calls "Disneyland for dogs."

And then there is Cesar Millan Inc., which accounts for all of Millan's ventures outside of his TV show. According to the New York Times, that includes "speaking engagements; executive leadership seminars; a line of organic dog food, fortified water, shampoos and toys ... and the charitable foundation financed by an undisclosed percentage of the company's revenue."

Ilusion, a Mexican-American who married Millan when she was 18 and he was 24, was very involved in her husband's career. She helped him run Cesar Millan Inc. and designed the Illusion Collar, which helps control difficult dogs.

The couple, who filed for divorce in June 2010, had been married for 16 years and have two boys together.

The New York Times says the pair separated after the birth of their first son but reconciled. It quotes Ilusión as saying "We're what I call Mr. Talent and Mrs. Brains. You can't have one without the other."

To which Cesar said: "My wife rehabilitated me."

Related: Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan

It is unclear what role Ilusión has had in the various business ventures since the divorce filing, though the charitable Cesar and Ilusión Millan Foundation has been since renamed the Millan Foundation.

People reported that Millan "famously came to the U.S. as a young man from his native Mexico with $100 in his pocket and a dream of becoming a famous dog trainer." Now his client list includes Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and director Ridley Scott, all of whom needed help with their canines.

Millan, who lives in Los Angeles, became a United States citizen in 2010. He is known for rehabilitating troubled dogs, largely because he "lives in the now and maintains a sort of über-balanced mien," according to the New York Times.

And he apparently values his privacy. TMZ reports that the divorce documents stipulate that any "intimate, personal and/or private information about the other party ... including details of their personal and/or sexual relationships" must remain confidential.  Any "photograph, film, videotape, recording ... which is not commercially available" must remain private.

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