‘Frasier’: What Was Niles Cranes’ Divorce Settlement Really Worth?

Frasier, during its 11-season run, highlighted some truly fascinating relationship dynamics. Niles Crane and his never-seen ex-wife, Maris Crane, were among the most interesting. The duo, who later parted ways, battled over the divorce settlement until Maris finally acquiesced and gave Niles more than he had even asked for. The agreement seemingly made Niles wealthier than his older brother, Frasier Crane, but just how much was that settlement worth? The writers never tell viewers, but we can make an educated guess.

Niles was paid hush money by Maris

Maris was so concerned with keeping the source of her family’s wealth a secret that she never bothered to tell her husband. Instead, Niles was led to believe that the family’s money came from timber. Instead, fans find out that the family’s source of enormous wealth was pretty embarrassing. The family fortune was built on urinal cakes, although it’s never stated if they invented the product or simply dealt in it.

Niles’ settlement, which was initially paltry, suddenly skyrocketed. He apparently, had never dreamed of getting such a large divorce settlement, even though he was aware Maris’ family was worth a fair bit of money. The hush money was enough to set him up in the same lifestyle he had become accustomed to while married. How much that was, is never revealed, but we can make some assumptions.

How much would Niles have gotten in the divorce?

Maris’ family’s money comes from urinal cakes, but it was assumed the family’s fortune originated in timber. Presumably, the family fortune had to be on par with what one would expect from a group of timber barons. According to Forbes, billion-dollar fortunes have been made in the natural resource, and while many timber barons have fallen over the years, a few remain.

David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane
David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane | Andrew Eccles/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

If Maris was worth billions, as is surmised, then it can be assumed that Niles’ settlement, which aimed to keep him quiet about the source of her fortune, was worth several million. Some Reddit users suggest the agreement could have netted Niles about $10 million, in addition to a lakefront retreat. Showrunners have long refused to mention just how much money Niles received, but clearly, he was happy with it, and Niles, with his high-class tastes and finicky nature, likely would not have been pleased with anything less.

What happened to Maris after the divorce?

Maris was one of the most mysterious characters to be featured on Frasier. Even after her divorce from Niles is finalized, she’s discussed regularly, and the strange events of her life are shared by the Crane brothers, much to the delight of fans.

After the divorce, fans find out that Maris murdered her boyfriend in self-defense. Once out of jail, while awaiting her trial, she takes off to a private island owned by her family. She can not be extradited from the privately-owned paradise, but she also can’t leave for fear of being arrested. That’s where Maris’ story seems to end, although fans would likely love to hear more about what happened to her if a Frasier reboot was to ever happen.