Isla Fisher reportedly told friends she was seeking the advice of a formidable celebrity divorce lawyer in 2022 before her split from her estranged husband Sacha Baron Cohen.

Actress Isla, 48, is said to have quietly got in touch with Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who charges £550 per hour and was the legal expert who was involved in Sir Paul McCartney‘s £24million split from Heather Mills.

On Friday, British actor Sacha, 52 and Australian star Isla announced they had quietly separated last year.

When Isla contacted Baroness Shackleton in 2022 she is said to have advised the screen star and Sacha, who reportedly have a prenup, to go down the ‘amicable route’.

It has been claimed Isla and Sacha, who have three children, could attempt to come to a settlement over Sacha’s £40million estate.

Isla Fisher reportedly told friends she was seeking the advice of a formidable celebrity divorce lawyer in 2022 before her split from her estranged husband Sacha Baron Cohen (Isla pictured last month)

Isla Fisher reportedly told friends she was seeking the advice of a formidable celebrity divorce lawyer in 2022 before her split from her estranged husband Sacha Baron Cohen (Isla pictured last month)

Isla Fisher reportedly told friends she was seeking the advice of a formidable celebrity divorce lawyer in 2022 before her split from her estranged husband Sacha Baron Cohen (Isla pictured last month)

On Friday, British actor Sacha, 52 and Australian star Isla announced they had quietly separated last year (pictured in 2020)

On Friday, British actor Sacha, 52 and Australian star Isla announced they had quietly separated last year (pictured in 2020)

On Friday, British actor Sacha, 52 and Australian star Isla announced they had quietly separated last year (pictured in 2020)

A source told The Sun: ‘Isla has known for some time the marriage was over, and after some difficult conversations with Sacha, made the decision to consult a divorce lawyer. This was back in early summer, 2022.

‘Fiona Shackleton was recommended by mutual contacts, and Isla was put in touch with an associate at the office.

‘It was also suggested she seek out a lawyer in the US, where the couple have a home.

‘Fiona is an incredible lawyer, and utterly fearsome in both reputation and ability.’

They went on to say it was suggested the pair attempt to keep things as amicable as possible for the sake of their children.

But, if things do turn sour, Fiona will ensure she does a thorough job for her client Isla.

Borat star Sacha is said to have spoken to Laura Wasser who represented Johnny Depp when he split from Amber Heard, and was involved in Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt.

Isla and Sacha announced their split by sharing a picture of themselves together while wearing tennis gear.

Actress Isla, 48, is said to have quietly got in touch with Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who was the legal expert who was involved in Sir Paul McCartney's £24million split from Heather Mills (Baroness Fiona Shackleton pictured in January)

Actress Isla, 48, is said to have quietly got in touch with Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who was the legal expert who was involved in Sir Paul McCartney's £24million split from Heather Mills (Baroness Fiona Shackleton pictured in January)

Actress Isla, 48, is said to have quietly got in touch with Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who was the legal expert who was involved in Sir Paul McCartney’s £24million split from Heather Mills (Baroness Fiona Shackleton pictured in January)

Sacha is said to have spoken to Laura Wasser (pictured) who represented Johnny Depp when he split from Amber Heard, and was involved in Angelina Jolie's divorce from Brad Pitt

Sacha is said to have spoken to Laura Wasser (pictured) who represented Johnny Depp when he split from Amber Heard, and was involved in Angelina Jolie's divorce from Brad Pitt

Sacha is said to have spoken to Laura Wasser (pictured) who represented Johnny Depp when he split from Amber Heard, and was involved in Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt 

Isla confirmed her split from Sacha with an Instagram snap of the pair in tennis outfits, writing: 'After a long tennis match lasting over 20 years, we are finally putting our racquets down'

Isla confirmed her split from Sacha with an Instagram snap of the pair in tennis outfits, writing: 'After a long tennis match lasting over 20 years, we are finally putting our racquets down'

Isla confirmed her split from Sacha with an Instagram snap of the pair in tennis outfits, writing: ‘After a long tennis match lasting over 20 years, we are finally putting our racquets down’

Their statement read: ‘After a long tennis match lasting over 20 years, we are finally putting our racquets down.

‘In 2023 we jointly filed to end our marriage. We have always prioritized our privacy and have been quietly working through this change.

‘We forever share in our devotion and love for our children. We sincerely appreciate your respecting our family’s wish for privacy.’

The couple first met back in 2001 and tied the knot in 2010. They are parents to daughters Olive, 17 and Elula, 13, and son Montgomery, nine.

MailOnline contacted representatives for comment.

The Mail on Sunday has revealed that rumours suggesting their marriage was over began to swirl last year, when the couple began house-hunting in London.

For some years they had split their time between Los Angeles and the Australian city of Perth.

However, Baron Cohen, 52, who grew up in Hammersmith and is very close to his family, was itching to return to London, while his wife was happier in her native Australia. 

The disagreement over where they lived is said to have taken its toll on the pair, who had been together since 2001.

Insiders have claimed their marriage had been ‘shaky’ for years, with Sacha reportedly struggling after making the ‘sacrifice’ to relocate their family to Australia back in 2020.

‘Their marriage has been shaky for years,’ an insider told DailyMail.com exclusively. ‘The breakdown started when they relocated to Australia so that she could be closer to her family. But it left Sacha far removed from everyone he knows.

‘He made this sacrifice for her and would make many sacrifices for her throughout their marriage. He is deeply affected by their split because she was his life for many years.’

Friday’s announcement came after Rebel Wilson made shock claims about her experience with ‘a**hole’ comedian Sacha in her new memoir, Rebel Rising.

Rebel played Borat star Sacha’s on-screen girlfriend in the 2016 comedy The Brothers Grimsby and made a series of allegations about her uncomfortable experience during shooting.

She alleged that on the set of the Louis Leterrier-directed film, Sacha would ask her to strip off for scenes despite her ‘no nudity’ rule, in a string of claims which Sacha has strenuously denied and says are contradicted by evidence.

On Sunday Rebel revealed she felt a sense of ‘shame’ for continuing to work with Sacha after claiming he sexually harassed her on the set of 2016’s Grimsby – accusations the actor strenuously denies.

The Aussie actress, 44, claimed in her autobiography Rebel Rising that the Borat actor, 52, asked her to strip off for scenes despite her contracts bearing ‘no nudity’ clauses and made sexually explicit requests.

Now Rebel told the The Sun that she felt shame for not doing more at the time of the supposed incident and claimed she was convinced to continue by her agent, who also represented Baron Cohen.

Saying: ‘What I should have done is left that set — the moment that first act happened, I should have left.

‘I should have just gone back to the hotel, demanded to leave and never come back.

‘But we had the same agent at the time, and I was kind of, you know, talked around into, “Well, just be professional And if anything else happens, then you can leave”‘.

It came after Rebel said she had been contacted by several other women since claiming to have been sexually harassed by the Ali G performer, claiming ‘the truth will come out’.

Representatives for Baron Cohen say he denies any allegations of mistreatment or harassment towards Rebel on the set of Grimsby, released in North America as The Brothers Grimsby.

Rebel said other women have ‘been in contact’ with her since she made the claims in her new autobiography, Rebel Rising. There is no suggestion at this time that the women are making claims against the Borat actor. 

In a new interview Rebel said the women who had contacted her were still considering whether to go public with their own allegations – the exact details of which, and to whom they refer, are unclear.

She continued: ‘It is hard to say something against somebody who’s high profile, because they hit you with high-price lawyers and crisis PR people and all sorts of little tricks.

‘It doesn’t feel great when all I’m doing is sharing my story in my memoir, which I’m very entitled to do.

‘But I always think that the truth will come out which is why it’s great to have the book out now so people don’t just read the headlines, but can read the actual chapter.’ 

She had played Baron Cohen’s on-screen girlfriend in Grimsby, a box office flop that was derided by critics.

The film saw Baron Cohen’s football fan character Nobby get drawn into the world of espionage; it also starred Isla, Mark Strong, Penelope Cruz, Ricky Tomlinson and Johnny Vegas.

Rebel claimed in the memoir that during filming he would ask her to strip off for scenes, in violation of her ‘no nudity’ clause, and requested that she perform a sex act involving his bottom on camera because it would be ‘funny’.

She wrote that his actions made her feel ‘completely disrespected, which led to me treating myself with even more disrespect by eating in an extremely unhealthy way’. 

Bridesmaid actress Rebel said she eventually compromised and agreed to ‘slap him on the a**’ in an improvised scene, and agreed to it after several rewrites.

But behind-the-scenes footage released after the claims were made appeared to suggest she was on board with the scene – a suggestion she has vehemently denied.

‘It is an a****** move to release footage of one part of that disgusting episode while leaving out everything that preceded it,’ she said in a statement, adding that her ‘horrified refusal’ to carry out the act was not included in the released footage.

She added: ‘What this edited video shows is what I had to do in order to get out of the room, as written in Rebel Rising.

‘Releasing unauthorized and misleading behind the scenes video without my approval is SBC’s (Sacha Baron Cohen’s) latest way of bullying and gaslighting me.’

Rebel appears to have alluded to the incident in the past, discussing similar circumstances it in a discussion with British TV personality Ant Middleton for his podcast Straight Talking in 2021. 

She did not name any alleged harasser at the time. Asked if she reported the incident, she told Middleton: ‘I called my agent immediately and said this happened. We made an official complaint to the studio.

‘But I’m such a professional that I was like, well I’m still going to continue with the job. Which now I might not have.’

She then claimed: ‘Things that happened to me aren’t that severe, but I’m still scared of naming the people.’

Just two months ago Isla discussed her Valentine’s plans with Sacha on The Kelly Clarkson show, saying: ‘Every year Sacha does give me a card that’s like, ‘Happy Valentine’s from… ‘ and then there’s a massive question mark.

‘As if anybody else would send me … as if I have any other Valentines. I’m a mother of three. I mean, I’m always like, ‘Ooooh. So many men’.’

In July 2023, the pair’s marriage appeared stronger than ever during a trip to Greece with Isla sharing a snap of herself sharing a passionate kiss with her husband.

Back in January 2022 Isla revealed it was love at first sight for the pair in a rare interview about their marriage.

‘I totally loved him right away. I mean I knew it was definitely love at first sight,’ she added.

The announcement came after Rebel Wilson made shock claims about her experience with 'a**hole' comedian Sacha in her new memoir, Rebel Rising (Rebel, left, pictured with Isla at the Los Angeles premiere of their film Bachelorette in 2012)

The announcement came after Rebel Wilson made shock claims about her experience with 'a**hole' comedian Sacha in her new memoir, Rebel Rising (Rebel, left, pictured with Isla at the Los Angeles premiere of their film Bachelorette in 2012)

The announcement came after Rebel Wilson made shock claims about her experience with ‘a**hole’ comedian Sacha in her new memoir, Rebel Rising (Rebel, left, pictured with Isla at the Los Angeles premiere of their film Bachelorette in 2012)

Elsewhere in the interview, Isla reflected on the couple having been together for two decades – a rarity in the fickle world of show business.

‘I think by Hollywood standards it’s probably 200 years!’ she joked. ‘I feel like it’s a Golden Jubilee or something. Everyone was congratulating me’.

‘It is a fun ride. I feel so lucky to have Sacha in my life. Now we have this beautiful family and we survived lockdown together, which you know, it is not easy for any couple,’ Isla added.

Isla and UK-born Sacha met at a party in Sydney in 2002 and married eight years later.

Writing in The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine last November, Fisher spoke lovingly of her late father and suggested that it was his influence that attracted her to her ‘husband’.

Undoubtedly, another factor in their marriage coming to an end was the death of Fisher’s beloved father Brian in January 2023.

Friends say his passing left her ‘absolutely devastated’ and made her reassess her life.

‘Isla and her dad were so close; she absolutely adored him and losing him destroyed her,’ a pal said. 

‘It was one of those moments in life that changes you, and it wasn’t long after this that Isla began to consult lawyers about splitting up with Sacha.

‘Maybe, after all, she decided that he wasn’t the man that she would spend the rest of her life with. Her dad was such a strong, male influence in her life.’

It was shortly after her father’s death that the couple started to house-hunt in London. 

They had moved from Los Angeles to Sydney in 2020, then to Perth – where Isla’s family live – in September 2021, to escape Sydney’s strict Covid lockdown rules. 

At the time, they said the switch to Western Australia would be permanent.

However, their move from the US to Australia was said to be ‘difficult’ for Baron Cohen because he was settled in Hollywood, and it was a shorter flight to London from there, too.

He was said to be the main driver behind the family’s move to the UK.

‘The return to the UK came from nowhere,’ said a friend of the couple. ‘They had been living away from Britain for a while and they weren’t expected to relocate. 

‘But things were becoming difficult and, as they say, home is where the heart is. Perhaps Sacha thought that would make things better. 

‘It didn’t, though – things just crumbled and crumbled.’

Fisher, who was born in Muscat, Oman, to Scottish parents before growing up in Perth, was best known for playing schoolgirl Shannon Reed in the Australian soap Home And Away. She joined the show when she was 18, before departing in 1997.

She went on to star alongside Owen Wilson in the 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers, and made her name as a leading lady with the rom-com Confessions Of A Shopaholic in 2009.

Baron Cohen was born into an Orthodox Jewish family and educated at the £24,000-a-year Haberdashers’ Aske’s boys’ school in Hertfordshire before studying history, with a focus on anti-Semitism, at Christ’s College, Cambridge.

He catapulted to fame in 1998 with his satirical poseur character Ali G, who bragged about coming up ‘in da heart of da Staines ghetto’ and leading a local street gang.

He also created other alter-egos, including Kazakh journalist Borat and a flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter called Bruno.

After getting engaged to Baron Cohen in 2004, Fisher converted to Judaism to prepare for their wedding.

They had their first child, Olive, in 2007, and in 2010 wed in an intimate ceremony in Paris. They used the ruse that it was Baron Cohen’s father’s 70th birthday to avoid any suspicion that they were marrying. 

That summer, Fisher gave birth to their second daughter, Elula (meaning August in Hebrew), and in 2015 they had a son called Montgomery.

The couple are likely to face a tricky divorce. Fisher has custody of their children but, as with all couples who have split, co-parenting won’t be easy, particularly if they are based in different continents.

They had a pre-nup – thought to be because Baron Cohen was worth a lot more than Fisher – but their properties were purchased while they were married, so they face splitting their assets.

Those issues aside, Fisher will surely feel relieved at having untangled herself from the controversy that has been engulfing Baron Cohen for the past fortnight.

The couple are pictured in happier times in 2019

The couple are pictured in happier times in 2019

The couple are pictured in happier times in 2019 

Even at the end of November, once the pair were quite far into their divorce journey, Fisher posted a photograph of the pair drinking beer on social media

Even at the end of November, once the pair were quite far into their divorce journey, Fisher posted a photograph of the pair drinking beer on social media

Even at the end of November, once the pair were quite far into their divorce journey, Fisher posted a photograph of the pair drinking beer on social media

It comes after Rebel posed up a storm in a satin green dress while lying on the sofa, with the caption: 'What a week!' as she referred to the attention her book has gained

It comes after Rebel posed up a storm in a satin green dress while lying on the sofa, with the caption: 'What a week!' as she referred to the attention her book has gained

It comes after Rebel posed up a storm in a satin green dress while lying on the sofa, with the caption: ‘What a week!’ as she referred to the attention her book has gained

Just hours after the couple’s split announcement, Wilson took to social media to share a video promoting her memoir, in which she wore a satin green dress, stuck out her tongue and gave a peace sign, with the caption: ‘What a week!’

Meanwhile, Fisher appears to be enjoying life as a single woman. She seemed in very good spirits during a girls’ night out with British actresses Naomi Watts and Michelle Dockery to see Sam Mendes’s new play, The Hills Of California, at London’s Harold Pinter theatre on Wednesday.

And last month she hit the town for Vanity Fair’s Oscars party in Los Angeles, having attended the BRIT Awards at London’s O2 Arena a few days previously.

‘It’s the beginning of the rest of her life,’ says one showbusiness source. ‘And she’s determined to enjoy it.’

Eagle-eyed fans may have noticed their have been clues that all was not well with the now-separated couple for quite some time. 

In recent weeks, Isla appears to have been taking solace in her friends as she has enjoyed several girls’ nights.

She recently shared a snap of herself enjoying a night out with her pals Michelle Dockery, Naomi Watts and film producer Bruna Papandrea.

Isla captioned the snap: ‘Girls night at the theater’. It came soon after she was pictured with Rosamund Pike at an event in LA. 

The Australian actress has also been hiding her ring finger in recent weeks.

In one photo she shared in March, Isla strategically hid her hand behind the fabric of her dress while posing in front of an elevator.

In recent weeks, Isla appears to have been taking solace in her friends as she has enjoyed several girls' nights (pictured with Michelle Dockery, Naomi Watts and film producer Bruna Papandrea)

In recent weeks, Isla appears to have been taking solace in her friends as she has enjoyed several girls' nights (pictured with Michelle Dockery, Naomi Watts and film producer Bruna Papandrea)

In recent weeks, Isla appears to have been taking solace in her friends as she has enjoyed several girls’ nights (pictured with Michelle Dockery, Naomi Watts and film producer Bruna Papandrea)

The Australian actress has also been hiding her ring finger in recent weeks as in this photo where she placed her hand behind the fabric of her dress

The Australian actress has also been hiding her ring finger in recent weeks as in this photo where she placed her hand behind the fabric of her dress

The Australian actress has also been hiding her ring finger in recent weeks as in this photo where she placed her hand behind the fabric of her dress

With missing wedding rings being a sure sign a couple is on the rocks, fans will suspect Isla was trying to hide her split from Sacha at the time. 

But the clearest sign there was trouble in paradise was that Isla had not shared a photo with Sacha for quite some time.

Their most recent photo together was taken in November where they smiled while posing with bottles of beer. She captioned it: ‘Off screen date & on screen date’.

Isla made no mention of the split during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show in February, where she referenced her and Sacha’s Valentine’s Day traditions.

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