Could this be the most expensive divorce in history? Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos announced on Twitter that he and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, are splitting up.
Jeff Bezos, the man who built Amazon and amassed the world’s largest fortune, announced the divorce on Twitter yesterday. The joint statement explained that their decision was not made lightly, and that the split is amicable.
“We want to make people aware of a development in our lives,” the statement reads. “As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue to share our lives as friends.”
Is “loving exploration” the new “conscious uncoupling”?
Jeff and Mackenzie married in 1993 after three months of dating. At the time, he was a Wall Street hedge fund manager, but he had a much bigger dream in mind. Shortly after they married, he quit his job and founded an online bookstore. MacKenzie was one of Amazon’s very first employees.
In their joint statement, the couple said they still feel “incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for everyone 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.”
The couple shares 4 children together, and despite the wild success of Amazon, the family seemed to remain relatively grounded. Until recently, MacKenzie was still dropping Jeff off at work in the family’s Honda.
The last time we checked, Jeff was worth about $137 billion. That’s an unimaginable amount of wealth. And it’s possible that Mackenzie could walk away with half of it. Washington is a community property state, meaning that any assets accumulated during their 25-year-marriage could be split equally.
However, it’s unlikely that MacKenzie will push for a $66 billion divorce settlement. We don’t know if the couple had a prenuptial agreement, but considering that they wed before Jeff became the world’s richest man, it’s not likely. However, experts say that a cash settlement would force him to sell shares in Amazon, jeopardizing his interest in the company.
Even the divorce announcement caused Amazon shares to drop on Wednesday. As the founder and CEO of the online retailer, Amazon is Jeff Bezos even though he only owns about 16% of the company. Liquidating those shares could destabilize Amazon, potentially damaging the company Mackenzie helped build.