Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced he is separating from his wife of 25 years, novelist MacKenzie Bezos. In a statement uploaded to Twitter, the world’s richest man revealed that a successful “trial separation” gave them the confidence to make the decision final.
“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 54-year-old billionaire wrote on Twitter.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) January 9, 2019
The tweet suggests the split was on good terms, with Jeff remarking: “We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married.”
“If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”
In response, many have praised the pair’s maturity, while going through a challenge most often associated with resent and bitterness:
…a dignified separation. Well-done to both of you!
— Praveen Paranjothi (@praveennjothi) January 9, 2019
Some went as far as to suggest that Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos’ divorce is classier than most peoples’ marriages…
That must be the most congenial, heartwarming divorce statement I’ve ever seen.
— Widget (@RazorWidget) 9 January 2019
Your divorce sounds better than most people’s marriages
— Robert Sharples (@BertSharples) January 9, 2019
Jeff’s divorce statement sounds better than most people’s marriage vows 😂
— Ahmed Nabi K. 🌱 (@ahmednabiK) January 9, 2019
However not everyone was convinced by the announcement, with various commenters pointing out that with shareholders watching, it is in both their interest for the split to appear amicable, so as to cause minimal disruption to the trillion dollar business they both have shares in.
Yeah, we had the best marriage so we decided to break up… pic.twitter.com/foJtemYpsB
— NostrADAMus ☯️ (@NostrADAMusly) January 9, 2019
As reported by News.com, Jeff and his soon-to-be-ex-wife MacKenzie have an estimated net worth of more than $US136 billion ($A189 billion), mostly thanks to Jeff’s holdings in Amazon.
As they got married before Amazon existed, it’s unlikely they had a prenuptial agreement, meaning MacKenzie could be entitled to up to $60 billion dollars.
“People get prenuptial agreements when they have assets to protect,” said Stuart Slotnick, chairman of the matrimonial department of law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in New York City. “In this case, they had no real assets vis à vis Amazon because when they got married Amazon did not exist,” (News.com).
That said, the details of the couple’s divorce settlements are unknown, and “legal experts agree it’s unlikely to impact Amazon or turn bitter,” (News.com).
Also possible is that the pair got a postnuptial agreement instead, once Amazon took off, other legal experts have suggested.
MacKenzie does not hold any Amazon shares directly, meaning that if the split were ugly, there may have been concerns over Jeff Bezos liquidating shares and funnelling the money into assets that he could not be forced to split.
But even if that were the case, Liat Sadler, a San Francisco matrimonial lawyer told Reuters, “Spouses owe a fiduciary duty to one another… They have duties not to waste or devalue marital resources, and to keep the value of marital property as high as possible.”
“I don’t think there is an issue of concern for shareholders as to what will happen to Amazon because of the divorce.”
So the big question is: will Jeff buy out his wife or will MacKenzie will retain shares?
“If she trusts that he would manage Amazon well, either he should pay her for her share of the stock, or they could enter a more complicated agreement where she keeps stock and he keeps voting rights,” Sadler said.
In the meantime, the good people of Twitter have more pressing advice for the soon to be divorced couple.
“Alexa, download Tinder”
— Nate (@nateb1992) 9 January 2019
This Is So Sad Alexa Play Despacito
— John Paul Punzalan (@jpbpunzalan) 9 January 2019
Hit up Tiger Woods, He’ll show you the ropes.
— WILLIAM COIT (@williamcoit) 9 January 2019