Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, announced this morning via the Amazon CEO’s personal Twitter account that they’ve decided to divorce after 25 years of marriage.
“As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” the statement reads, in part. “We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other. If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”
A novelist, MacKenzie Bezos was a key figure in the early days of Amazon after she and Jeff Bezos moved to the Seattle region. They have four children, ranging approximately in age from early to late teens. The couple met when they worked together at hedge fund D.E. Shaw in New York.
“My office was next door to his, and all day long I listened to that fabulous laugh,” MacKenzie Bezos told Vogue in a 2013 profile, explaining how they met. “How could you not fall in love with that laugh?”
MacKenzie Bezos has been a staunch defender of Jeff Bezos and Amazon, writing a 1-star review in response to a 2013 book that was critical of the company.
She wrote in that review, “I worked for Jeff at D.E. Shaw, I was there when he wrote the business plan, and I worked with him and many others represented in the converted garage, the basement warehouse closet, the barbecue-scented offices, the Christmas-rush distribution centers, and the door-desk filled conference rooms in the early years of Amazon’s history.”
MacKenzie Bezos has also been involved in their shared philanthropic initiatives, including scholarships for immigrant children and the new $2 billion Day One Fund.
Given Bezos’ status as the world’s richest person, with an estimated net worth of $136 billion, much of the initial discussion about the divorce focused on the splitting of the couple’s shared assets. Washington is a community property state, generally requiring assets to be split equally.
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) January 9, 2019
I find it kind of gross that all the commentary around Bezos' divorce is focused on his net worth but I suppose that's the price of being the world's richest person.
— Ashley Mayer (@ashleymayer) January 9, 2019
Amazon in December announced plans to establish new headquarters in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post and a large home in D.C., and one question following the HQ2 announcement is whether he will continue to make the Seattle area his primary residence.