Amazon founder Jeff Bezos kicked off the New Year with a joint statement released on Twitter from himself and his longtime spouse MacKenzie announcing that they would be filing for divorce. They had attempted a trial separation and decided that proceeding with the divorce was what was best for the couple and their four children.
It turns out that Bezos had secretly been seeing TV host Lauren Sanchez before the January 9 tweet announcing the divorce. That could have serious implications for the divorce in which billions worth of assets and investments will be split.
Bezos met Sanchez through her husband Patrick Whitesell. A Hollywood talent mogul, Whitesell and Bezos knew each other first from past real estate ventures. According to the Daily Mail, the former host of Fox 11’s Good Day LA has been seeing Bezos since at least the fall and they were spotted together at the Golden Globes on January 7 before the Bezos made their divorce announcement.
Whitesell and Sanchez have two children together from their 13-year marriage; Sanchez has a third child from a previous marriage. The two have four children and have been married for 25 years. Bezos is worth $137 billion, making him the richest man in the world, but he and his wife do not have a prenup. A divorce could end up making MacKenzie one of the richest women in the world.
Prominent divorce attorney Randy Kessler told People that the Bezos’ divorce will be one of the most expensive ever and will take some time to sort through. Kessler is the past chairman of the American Bar Association Family Law Section and a litigation professor at Emory University.
“The valuing of the assets is what often takes time, months at a minimum,” Kessler said.
“Then the competing forensic accountants and business valuation experts may meet to try to concur on the values and reconcile and different valuations. Then it will be ripe for mediation.”
Kessler explained that if MacKenzie Bezos is “so upset about the end of her marriage” that she cannot and will not agree to a 50-50 split, the Sanchez affair then could become a big problem for Jeff Bezos.
“This is understandable and happens often. In that case, Mr. Bezos may well agree to give her more than 50 percent. In cases like this, like Tom Cruise, Steve Wynn, etc., where public reputation is valuable, the most important things is to keep it amicable and keep the company, Amazon, and all of the others, in a good light,” Kessler explained.
“Consumer confidence is a huge asset that neither wants to destroy. We call that trying not to kill the golden goose.”
Kessler also said that Amazon’s stock could plunge during this divorce process, especially with the potential for bad public relations.
“They will do everything they can to avoid such a dilemma,” Kessler said.
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