If you think that your divorce is expensive, then please spare a thought for Mr Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon. His divorce cost is set to cost him $68 billion which is half his fortune. This means that now, Mr and Mrs Bezos could only be able to buy 3,669,957 Volkswagen Golf cars each.
The separation was announced after Mr Bezos had just had a particularly booming year in which he earnt a ginormous $8 million an hour, bringing his fortune up to $137 billion, or £145 billion pounds. There are no typos in that last sentence, Mr Bezos earnt $8million in the time it would take you to get into work and make yourself a cuppa.
On the other hand, the divorce will actually make the soon-to-be-ex Mrs Bezos (49) the richest woman on the planet. So let us speculate on what happened for Mrs Bezos in this very profitable (in the financial sense) 25 year marriage.
MacKenzie’s life changing year 1992.
Mrs MacKenzie Bezos came from a pretty normal background. Her father was a financial planner and her mother was a home maker. However, MacKenzie was no ordinary woman and her life really took off in 1992. In this year, she graduated with the highest honours from the prestigious Princeton University and was described by her tutor, famous author Toni Morrisey, as one of the best students she had ever had.
Later that year, MacKenzie met Jeff Bezos who actually interviewed her for a position as a researcher for a New York hedge fund. Her confidence must have been sky high as apparently, she actually asked Jeff out. Not everyone has the nerve to ask their boss out (nor the inclination in many cases). After a mere 3 months of dating, they married.
Soon after the marriage, Jeff quit his stable, and well-paid job to start a company called Amazon. I do not need to introduce you to this company as you probably use it several times a month. MacKenzie was the first employee and was integral in setting it up.
In 2000, MacKenzie had their first of 4 children, (one is adopted) and said that she dedicated her life to motherhood at this point. Nevertheless, she still managed find time to write her first book which was published in 2006 called, ‘The Testing of Luther Albright’. The book was so good that it won the American Book Award in 2006.
What went wrong?
There are several versions as to what went wrong. The official line is that it is an amicable separation. The end of the marriage was announced via a tweet in the divorce month of January. However, the very next day after the announcement, the American magazine, The Enquirer, published a story about how Jeff had been having an affair with glamourous TV presenter Lauren Sanchez.
Here at divorce club, we believe that affairs are a lot more complex than just one person being to blame. It is possible that MacKenzie had just given far too much to Jeff. She essentially put off her writing career to help him set up Amazon and have a family. While this might have been financially profitable, did she end up resenting Jeff for making her give up her writing so that they could focus on him? Or did she lose sight of her love of writing in the desire to achieve financial stability? Either way, she may not have been doing what she loved. Sacrificing the things we love can make us feel less happy and confident.
While the talented MacKenzie was trying to find a way to establish her own identity, Jeff was becoming seriously rich. The more rich and famous he became, the more MacKenzie was becoming Mrs Amazon, and the talented writer was becoming more and more forgotten.
While Jeff is no hunk, his wealth and fame will have delivered no shortage of women to his door. Some of these women will have been successful, confident and in the prime of their career, possibly reminding him of the woman that his wife used to be. Some of these women will have aggressively pursued him in the hope of becoming even more rich and powerful.
In the end, Jeff was seduced by a beautiful but pretty average TV presenter. Yes, she is more physically attractive than his MacKenzie (although MacKenzie is still beautiful), but she is far less intelligent and talented. Jeff could have supported his wife more to build her confidence, but instead, he has used her brilliance for his own benefit and then left when he had sucked her dry.
MacKenzie, you are a remarkable woman. Use your talents on yourself and your children, unsubscribe from Amazon, enjoy the money and get writing.
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.