The world's wealthiest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, will pay his former wife the record sum in the settlement.
The US$35 billion figure Bezos will pay smashes the previous record for most expensive divorce settlement, art dealer Alec Wildenstein’s US$3.8 billion settlement with his former wife Jocelyn.
MacKenzie Bezos announced some of the details on Twitter, writing that she was “Happy to be giving him all of my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin. The latter is a aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight company Jeff Bezos founded in 2000.
MacKenzie will retain a 4% stake in Amazon and Jeff will hang on to about 12%. She also agreed to allow Jeff to keep voting control of the shares now in her name.
She ended her tweet, her only post on the site, by writing that she was “grateful for the past as I look forward to what comes next”.
— MacKenzie Bezos (@mackenziebezos) April 4, 2019
MacKenzie Bezos now the world’s third wealthiest woman
MacKenzie will rocket up the wealth charts after the settlement. Based on Amazon’s current share price, Jeff Bezos will retain a net worth of over US$100 billion and is likely to remain the wealthiest person in the world.
The pair arrived at the settlement relatively quickly and plan to continue to work together on philanthropic projects. Last year, they announced they were starting a new charity, Day One Fund, with a US$2 billion donation. “MacKenzie and I share a belief in the potential for hard work from anyone to serve others,” Jeff said at the time.
The former couple announced their split just before tabloid The National Enquirer went to print with a story saying Jeff Bezos was having an affair with a former TV presenter.
Jeff Bezos later accused the Enquirer’s publisher of trying to blackmail him by threatening to release sexually explicit photographs unless he stopped investigating how the magazine had obtained his private messages and photos. He instead went public with the alleged blackmail threats.
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 4, 2019
MacKenzie Bezos: author, accountant, anti-bullying advocate
Jeff and MacKenzie have four children together and had been married since 1993.
MacKenzie is also a published novelist, with two books, The Testing of Luther Albright (2005) and Traps (2013), to her name.
In 2014, she founded the anti-bullying organisation Bystander Revolution and serves as Executive Director. According to its website, the organisation’s “ultimate goal is the discussion and spread of simple habits of leadership, kindness and inclusion.”
Jeff told an audience in Berlin last year that she had been vital to the e-commerce behemoth.
“When you have loving and supportive people in your life, like MacKenzie, my parents, my grandfather, my grandmother, you end up being able to take risks,” he said.