Papa John's Founder John Schnatter's Wife Files for Divorce

Annette Cox, the wife of Papa John's founder John Schantter, has filed for divorce from the pizza provocateur after 32 years of marriage. Cox filed divorce papers in their home state of Kentucky on Thursday, saying their marriage is "irretrievably broken," the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. The couple reportedly separated in April and Cox recently bought a house, according to the newspaper.

Schnatter, 57, said in a 2013 interview that Cox, 59, was "the finest human being" he'd ever met in addition to the best franchise owner in the Papa John's system. In the filing, Cox said that they had already divvied up their fortune and asked that the settlement agreement be honored by the court.

Schnatter's net worth has been reported at $500 million, an amount that has shrunk because of the declining value of the company's stock. He now owns 19 percent of the company after selling of some of his shares.

The couple's assets include their $11 million, 18,000 square-foot limestone mansion that sits on 15 acres of land (and counts as Louisville, Kentucky's most expensive home), as well as a $6 million condo in Naples, Florida and a $23 million condo in Deer Valley, Utah.

Schnatter founded Papa John's in 1984, three years before he and Cox married, and became the face of the brand through its TV commercials, often featuring former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. Last year, he was forced to resign as the CEO and board chairman of the company after using the N-word during a conference cal while defending support from white nationalist groups over his criticism of national anthem protests at NFL games, as detailed in a report from Forbes.

On the same day Cox filed for divorce, Schnatter filed a lawsuit claiming an advertising firm tried to extort him out of $6 million and then leaked the N-word audio to Forbes when he didn't pay up, as reported by the Courier-Journal.


He's also expressed dismay with Papa John's since his departure, claiming last week in an interview with WDRB in Louisville that the pizzas no longer taste the same, despite the company's current CEO, saying they haven't made any changes to the recipe. He also claimed that he had eaten more than 40 pizzas in the 30 days, and warned that "the day of reckoning will come."

Photo credit: Denise Truscello / Contributor / Getty