Inside the bitter divorce war between billionaire exes

Bill Gross, co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), speaks at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, Illinois, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

When it comes to divorce, nobody does it like the Grosses.

Buying up multimillion-dollar properties just to torture each other, pilfering Picassos, dumping dead fish in air vents — there’s no limit to what Bill and Sue Gross will do to exact revenge on one another.

The billionaire California couple finalized their divorce in October 2017 — and are still warring with each other.

In the past two months, Sue Gross forked over $37.8 million for pricey pads in Laguna Beach’s exclusive Irvine Cove community, where Bill spent most of his adult life — just so he couldn’t get his hands on them to begin putting down new roots there, according to court papers and sources.

Bill, 74, has lived in Irvine Cove for 30 years and was itching to entrench himself there again after being booted from their home, sources familiar with the deals told The Post.

Sue already resides in Irvine Cove’s tonier Abalone Point enclave after obtaining the three-property compound that had been the marital pad as part of their divorce settlement. She just wanted to deny her ex the satisfaction of buying a prime property there, sources said.

But Bill, co-founder of the Pacific Investment Management Company, recently bought a $36 million, 5,500-square-foot waterfront property — right across the street from Sue’s sister and brother-in-law — as return fire at his ex-wife, according to court documents.

“With his financial resources, Bill could choose to live practically anywhere in the world,” Sue claims in the Los Angeles state court filing. “However, he insists upon the very small community that I call home.”

Adding insult to injury, Sue says, she initially bid on the house in an attempt to block Bill but ultimately failed to snag the hot piece of property, even though she was told her offer was higher, because he was willing to pay cash.

Bill once allegedly texted “Sugar,’’ his former pet name for Sue, “Feel peaceful while you can. War of the Roses ahead. And I can predict the winner!!!”

Sue ended up buying two more properties in the neighborhood using a trust, according to real-estate records and sources.

She did this partly to try to buffer herself and her family from Bill — and his alleged “army of spies,” she claims.

A security company hired by Bill, a Forbes-listed billionaire, has been constantly monitoring Sue, her two sisters and her assistant — making their lives an “unmitigated nightmare,” she says in court documents.

“I am exhausted and beleaguered by this omnipresent interference, and am mortified that my loved ones have been subjected to harassment for no reason other than their relationship with me,” Sue says in the papers.

Bill has admitted to hiring security but claims it’s only as a defense against Sue — who would often, he says, arrive unannounced at their marital home to swipe stuff.

In November court testimony, Sue admitted that, amid the former couple’s divorce proceedings, she took a Picasso from the wall of what had been their marital home and replaced it with a replica she painted herself, The Post reported in May.

Sue had been awarded the painting in August 2017 after she won a coin flip amid the divorce proceedings. The work — Picasso’s 1932 “Le Repos” — fetched $36 million at a Sotheby’s auction in May.

“Bill was shocked Sue already had the piece,” a source told The Post at the time, adding that Bill said “she stole the damn thing.”

A recent Business Insider report suggested that Bill should not have been fooled by the fake because it was in a different frame. But the bond king denied it was easy to tell the fake from the real Picasso — and was PO’d at Sue for suggesting so.

“He’s annoyed by her revisionist history that it was easy to tell the difference between the real thing and the fake,” a source told The Post.

The former Mrs. Gross cited an email that Bill sent to her as justification for the bait-and-switch — claiming he instructed her in it to “take all the furniture and art that you’d like.”

“And so I did,” she said in court.

The couple had been married for more than three decades, living together at their compound in Irvine Cove, before she filed for divorce in 2016, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Bill lived in the home without her until the pair finalized their divorce Oct. 6, 2017. As part of the settlement, she got the house — and booted Bill.

Sue claimed that Bill had left their home a stinking mess — with empty bottles of malodorous sprays of “puke” and “fart” smells dumped in the trash and dead fish placed in the air vents, according to court documents.

The property is believed to be worth as much as $36 million. A source close to Bill denied the house was left in disarray.

The warring pair ended up obtaining matching temporary restraining orders. His restraining order against her expired in December 2017, while hers against him is in effect till February 2019, when the couple is scheduled to appear back in court.

And while the pair’s three children are all grown, that hasn’t stopped them from going toe-to-toe in what can easily be described as a contentious custody battle — over their pets.

Court documents show that they got into a bitter, back-and-forth dispute over who would become the rightful owner of their three cats. Sue won custody, but Bill managed to score visitation rights — with a veterinary professional being put in charge of transporting them.

The former PIMCO head, who moved to Janus Capital in 2014, was granted 24-hour visits with the family felines.

During one visit, Sue allegedly showed up “unannounced” — despite the restraining order against her — and claimed the cats weren’t safe.

“Sue showed up, complaining the cats would die because the house was too hot,” explained a source close to Bill. “The cats were fine. They were returned the next day to Sue with a full physical checkup and clearance.”

In December, Sue also decided to cut off funding for the couple’s renowned William and Sue Gross Family Foundation — which has given more than $700 million to charity. The account freeze allegedly cost the organization millions of dollars in tax penalties.

“Sue’s behavior . . . created significant and needless operational hurdles for the directors of the foundation,” foundation lawyer Barry Fink wrote in a court declaration obtained by the Orange County Register newspaper.

At one point, things got so bad that Bill allegedly started sending threatening text messages and emails to Sue.

“As to an amicable, high-road divorce — oh sure. You (have affairs) for years . . . Sorry girl. The game is on,” Bill allegedly wrote in one message.

“You are disgusting,” he added.

Additional reporting by Chris Perez

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