Lynsi Snyder is opening up about the highs and lows of her life.
While her father, Guy, headed up the West Coast burger chain for six years in the 1990s, he was arrested for public intoxication, suffered from a drug-related heart attack and three drug overdoses, according to Forbes. He was in an out of rehab since Snyder was 5 or 6 years old, but died of heart failure with hydrocodone in his system in 1999.
“When he was sober, he was the best dad in the world,” she says. “We had our time cut short.”
Soon after his death, Synder tells the magazine for their Forbes 400 cover story that she entered into “year-long stretch of alcohol and marijuana use.” At the time she married her high school sweetheart, Jeremiah Seawell, but the pair divorced after two years and she quickly entered into a doomed marriage with her second husband Richard Martinez.
“It was like a black-sheep era of my life,” she says. “By the time I hit 22, it was pretty much over.”
After going through two more divorces, Snyder met her current husband, Sean Ellingson. She has no regrets. “The things that I’ve been through forced me to be stronger,” she says. “When you persevere, you end up developing more strength.”
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While she struggled personally, Snyder thrived professionally, building her $3 billion fortune and fostering a highly-praised work environment.
Though she discussed expanding the business—which was founded by her grandparents Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948—into New Mexico and Colorado, she maintains her decision to never sell the company.
“It’s not about the money for us,” she says. “Unless God sends a lightning bolt down and changes my heart miraculously, I would not ever sell.”