Jeff Bezos Applauds Ex-Wife MacKenzie as She Pledges to Donate Half of Her $37 Billion Fortune
MacKenzie Bezos has pledged to donate half of her fortune.
MacKenzie, who is worth about $37 billion after her divorce from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos earlier this year, joined the Giving Pledge, which boasts a list of billionaires who pledge to donate half of their fortune. The initiative was started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010. Her ex-husband — who’s the world’s wealthiest man with a net worth of $114 billion — has not yet signed the pledge.
MacKenzie revealed her decision in a letter posted to the initiative’s website.
“I have no doubt that tremendous value comes when people act quickly on the impulse to give. No drive has more positive ripple effects than the desire to be of service,” she wrote in the letter.
“We each come by the gifts we have to offer by an infinite series of influences and lucky breaks we can never fully understand. In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” Bezos continued. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”
Jeff applauded her actions on Tuesday, tweeting that he’s “proud of” his ex-wife. “Her letter is so beautiful,” said. “Go get ’em MacKenzie.”
MacKenzie and Jeff announced their divorce in January through a joint statement after 25 years of marriage and four children together. The two announced they settled their divorce in April, with MacKenzie sharing a statement on Twitter breaking down how their assets were dissolved.
Jeff is retaining 75 percent of the former couple’s Amazon shares, which is about 12 percent of the company, while MacKenzie is keeping roughly 4 percent, according to The New York Times.
“Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff with support from each other and everyone who reached out to us in kindness, and looking forward to the next phase as co-parents and friends,” she wrote.
She added, “Happy to be giving him all of my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares to support his continues contributions with the teams of these incredible companies.”
“Excited about my own plans,” she continued. “Grateful for the past as I look forward to what comes next.”
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MacKenzie, who has written two books, met Bezos after she graduated from Princeton University. The two were engaged within three months after their first date, and married within six, according to Vogue.
The news of their separation was quickly followed by a months-long investigation into Bezos and his relationship with news anchor Lauren Sanchez, 49, in January by the National Enquirer. The outlet alleged the two had traveled to “exotic destinations on his $65 million private jet.” The tabloid’s report contained photographs and text messages that Bezos had allegedly sent to Sanchez.
Sanchez is also ending her marriage to her husband of 13 years, Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell. She and Whitesell have two children together, and she has an older son from a previous relationship.