Who Is MacKenzie Bezos? Meet Jeff's Ex Who Could Become One of the Richest Women in the World
Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos announced they were getting divorced after 25 years of marriage
The two made a joint statement shared by Jeff, the world’s richest person, on Twitter Wednesday.
“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 pair wrote. “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.”
“Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends,” they added.
The pair share four children together and first met at the investment management firm D.E. Shaw in 1993 in New York City. They married that same year.
With Jeff’s net worth estimated at $137 billion, MacKenzie, 48, was instrumental in helping him build his empire, which began with Amazon and now includes The Washington Post and aerospace company Blue Origin.
Here’s everything to know his soon-to-be ex-wife.
1. She married Jeff just months after meeting him
The two met after MacKenzie graduated from Princeton University with an English degree. She moved to New York City and interviewed at the investment management firm D.E. Shaw where Jeff was the first person who interviewed her.
“My office was next door to his, and all day long I listened to that fabulous laugh,” she recalled to Vogue in 2013. “How could you not fall in love with that laugh?”
For his part, Jeff knew exactly what he was looking for: a “resourceful” woman — and MacKenzie fit the bill.
“Nobody knows what you mean when you say, ‘I’m looking for a resourceful woman,’” he told Wired. “If I tell somebody I’m looking for a woman who can get me out of a Third World prison, they start thinking Ross Perot — they have something they can hang their hat on!”
The two were engaged within three months after their first date, and married within six, according to Vogue.
2. She was an assistant to Nobel laureate Toni Morrison
While studying at Princeton, MacKenzie was an assistant to Beloved author Toni Morrison.
Morrison, 87, told Vogue MacKenzie was “one of the best students I’ve ever had in my creative writing classes… really one of the best.”
As for her own books, MacKenzie has written two, The Testing of Luther Albright and Traps.
The mother of four told Vogue Jeff had a hand in helping her finish them. “Jeff is my best reader,” she said.
“The sooner I finished, the sooner I could share it with him and talk about these characters who had been taking up so much space in my head,” she explained.
3. They both quit their jobs so Jeff could found Amazon
Shortly after they married, the two quit their jobs and moved to Seattle to found Amazon.
It was MacKenzie who drove the couple across the country as Jeff typed out his business plan, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“I told my wife MacKenzie that I wanted to quit my job and go do this crazy thing that probably wouldn’t work since most startups don’t, and I wasn’t sure what would happen after that,” he said in a 2010 address at his alma mater, Princeton University.
He added, “MacKenzie (also a Princeton grad and sitting here in the second row) told me I should go for it.”
They first lived in a one-bedroom rental in downtown Seattle as the pair worked to make Jeff’s dream a reality.
“I have no business sense whatsoever,” she told Vogue. “But I saw how excited I was.”
4. She delayed writing her first novel to raise their children
MacKenzie told Vogue she put off her first novel for 10 years in order to raise their four kids.
“Writing is such a ‘pretend’ profession. Nobody is counting on you at all,” she said at the time. “You can’t ‘pretend’ to be a lawyer or a teacher. It takes a lot of grit to continue. Kids, on the other hand, have an urgent need to be taken care of.”
She added, “After the third child, I knew I couldn’t be the kind of parent I wanted to be and continue writing. Those years were just too busy.”
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5. She founded an anti-bullying organization
In 2014, MacKenzie began the anti-bullying organization Bystander Revolution and serves as its executive director.
Stars such as Lily Collins and Tom Brady have been featured in anti-bullying videos for the organization, which works in spreading “simple habits of kindness, courage, and inclusion,” according to its website.
“A lot of the conventional wisdom about bullying is that it is a cultural norm that can’t be overcome,” she told the Christian Science Monitor in 2015. “But there are so many small things an individual can do to help that have a huge impact.”