RUSH LIMBAUGH SNEAKS OFF TO GET SECRET DIVORCE

Published on: January 7, 2005

Rush Limbaugh gave his girlfriend a special Christmas present -- he officially divorced his wife, clearing the way for CNN anchor Daryn Kagan to become the next Mrs. Limbaugh.

The radio superstar announced last June that he and third wife Marta were divorcing. But Limbaugh didn't file until December 21, when he and his lawyer sneaked into the chambers of Judge Sandra Taylor in Key West, Fla.

KEY WEST
In a bid for secrecy, the conservative commentator journeyed more than 200 miles from his $26 million oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach County to the courthouse at Florida's southernmost tip.

And it worked. He persuaded the judge to keep details of his divorce settlement under wraps.

"Limbaugh came into the courthouse through a side door and was shown straight into the judge's chambers," said an insider.

"His wife wasn't there and most importantly for him, his case was sealed, unlike most local divorces which are heard in open court.

"He came out of chambers 15 minutes later, laughing and joking with his attorney.

"No wonder he was happy -- the judge had agreed to seal a 22-page marital settlement agreement between Rush and Marta."

Rush's breakup with Marta came last year, several months after The ENQUIRER's bombshell disclosure that Limbaugh was addicted to painkillers.

That disclosure made headlines around the world and continued with a criminal probe of Limbaugh.

REHAB
A stint in rehab helped him beat his addiction.

But ever since, Limbaugh has been under investigation by the Palm Beach County State Attorney's office for allegedly "doctor shopping" for massive amounts of painkillers.

In August, he proved opposites attract by dating stunning brunette Kagan -- a liberal. And now that his divorce is final, sources predict they'll be married soon.

Said a pal: "Rush says they're going to have a quiet wedding and then honeymoon somewhere where nobody knows who they are."

-- DAVID WRIGHT and JIM NELSON DARYN