The Surprising Ways Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Keeps His Marriage Strong
The Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos now ranks as the richest man in history, CNN reports. His net worth reached $105.1 billion the first week of January, according to Bloomberg’s billionaire tracker. That also overtakes the record previously held by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Forbes, the other major tracker of the net worth of the world’s richest, put Bezos’ net worth at a mere $104.4 billion.
Beside the billionaire stands novelist MacKenzie Bezos, who together with her husband, raises four children in between writing and managing their fortune. How do the couple keep their marriage as strong as their bank account? They have a few tricks up their sleeves.
1. They support each other’s work
“Jeff is my best reader,” MacKenzie Bezos told Vogue. Her husband will totally clear his schedule in order to read her manuscripts and give her detailed feedback. Bezos attended Princeton University, where she studied under famed author Toni Morrison. She was “one of the best students I’ve ever had in my creative-writing classes … really one of the best,” Morrison said, of her.
Bezos, for her part, quit her job and moved from New York City to Seattle when Bezos wanted to found Amazon. In an interview with CBS, she described watching her husband build Amazon from the ground up. “To me watching your spouse, somebody that you love, have an adventure, what is better than that?” And when Brad Stone’s biography of Jeff Bezos and his company, The Everything Store, came out in 2013, she virulently defended him with a one-star review of the book on its Amazon page. She described it as “a lopsided and misleading portrait of the people and culture at Amazon,” People reported, and criticized the book for its “inaccuracies.”
Next: They both know how to work toward goals.
2. The Bezos know what they want in love and how to get it
MacKenzie Bezos worked diligently to finish her books while giving birth to and raising four children. She had to put one on hold to raise her family, but did finish it through blood, sweat, and tears. And as for her husband, his legendary doggedness extends to his business life and love.
According to Wired, Jeff Bezos once called himself a “professional dater.” He wanted a resourceful woman. “The number-one criterion was that I wanted a woman who could get me out of a Third World prison,” he said. “Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.” Today, MacKenzie Bezos rents an apartment nearby to get her writing done without disturbance. We’d say she fits the bill.
Next: For a nice change, the billionaire’s wife took charge in the relationship.
3. Sometimes, love takes a leap of faith
MacKenzie and Jeff first met at investment management firm D.E. Shaw, where Jeff Bezos interviewed his future wife. MacKenzie worked as a research associate and Jeff worked as a vice president, at the time. Bezos even became the first person to interview MacKenzie — a fellow Princeton grad — at the firm. But it was MacKenzie who made the first move.
“My office was next door to his, and all day long I listened to that fabulous laugh,” she remembered. “How could you not fall in love with that laugh?” She began her campaign to win his hand by suggesting they have lunch. Within three months of that first meal, they got engaged. Three months after that, they married. The rest is history.
Next: They say opposites attract, and the Bezos’ reflect that.
4. They complement each other
“Jeff is the opposite of me,” Bezos told Vogue. “He likes to meet people. He’s a very social guy. Cocktail parties for me can be nerve-racking. The brevity of conversations, the number of them—it’s not my sweet spot.” On the other hand, Jeff Bezos made a reputation as an extrovert, one who can make anyone feel at ease. “Jeff is obviously the extrovert who can make a speech on the spur of the moment; she is the one who is constantly observing,” said Danny Hillis, a longtime friend of the couple’s.
Next: The couple also pursues their own interests.
5. Each has their own pursuits
While MacKenzie Bezos focuses on her writing, she also picks her kids up from school every day and focuses heavily on the family. Bezos keeps himself busy outside of running Amazon with a few side projects, as well. Entrepreneur reports that in addition to purchasing The Washington Post, he also started a space company back in 2000 called Blue Origin LLC. He wants to make space travel more consumer-friendly. The entrepreneur also goes deep sea diving to collect NASA rocket detritus. You know, just your average weekend hobby.
Next: Don’t think Bezos is too busy for his family.
6. The couple spends a lot of time with the kids
Both Bezos’ like to focus on the family, which also keeps their relationship front-and-center. According to Vogue, the couple even experimented with homeschooling. “We tried all sorts of things,” MacKenzie said. Those include “off-season travel, kitchen science experiments, chicken incubation, Mandarin lessons, the Singapore math program, and lots of clubs and sports with other neighborhood kids.” The family also takes a lot of vacations together — even on his deep sea adventures.
Next: The surprisingly simple way they make sure to start their day.
7. They start the day off right
After he conquers getting out of bed, the first thing Jeff Bezos does every day is eat a healthy breakfast with his wife. In fact, he even avoids morning meetings so he can have breakfast with his family. He doesn’t even use an alarm clock.
Next: They also model generosity to their kids.
8. They give back to the less fortunate
According to People, the Bezos’ have expanded their philanthropy recently. In 2011, they donated $15 million to Princeton University to create the Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics. A year late,r they gave $2.5 million to Washington United for Marriage to support efforts to legalize LGBT marriage. And in 2014, MacKenzie Bezos founded Bystander Revolution, an organization that combats bullying. Recently, Jeff Bezos put out a call on Twitter requesting ideas for their next project. “I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”
Next: They pay attention to each other.
9. The couple treats each other with meaningful gifts
With that much disposable income, you would expect lavish presents. But like in any relationship, the thought really counts. Bezos said he pays attention to what his wife wears so he can gift her successfully. “You’d be amazed by how often things work,” he said about buying clothes for her. “Sometimes I call her and say, ‘What’s your such-and-such size?’ and she says, ‘Why?’ and I say, ‘None of your business!’ It delights her.” He concluded: “I highly recommend it to any man.”
Next: At the end of the day, they’re just normal.
10. They make their marriage a partnership
The Amazon CEO said he wraps up each day with one simple gesture: Washing the dishes. “I’m pretty convinced it’s the sexiest thing I do,” he told Business Insider. Even in their high-profile life, it all comes down to the simple things. Small gifts. Balanced schedules. Trips with the kids. And, of course, letting the love show every day.
Next: Inside the amazing homes and properties they own across the country.
New York, New York
It’s no surprise they have a home in Manhattan, considering the New York metro area is where most of the world’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals live. The Bezos family owns not one, but three connected apartments in Manhattan’s Century building. The home is located along Central Park West and was purchased in 1999 for $7.7 million from former Sony Music executive Tommy Mottola, reports Fast Company.
Next: Bezos is neighbors with a former president.
Bezos bought this home in 2017 for $23 million. It is the largest and most expensive house in his Kalorama neighborhood. The Amazon founder purchased the home in cash and paid $1 million above the asking price, according to The Washington Post. The 27,000 square-foot property used to be home to the Textile Museum. They have a few famous neighbors, including Barack and Michelle Obama and Ivanka Trump.
Next: A massive ranch in West Texas
They own roughly 400,000 acres in West Texas, according to The Land Report. The land is in Culberson and Hudspeth counties, which is located east of El Paso. Most of the Texas property was purchased using limited-liability companies with famous explorer’s names, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bezos owns a 30,000-acre Figure 2 Ranch, which serves as the home base for Blue Origin, his private space company. In 2015, Blue Origin successfully launched and landed the reusable rocket named New Shepard.
Next: A $24 million California mansion
Beverly Hills, California
Bezos bought this 11,891-square-foot mansion in 2007 for $24.45 million. The seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom home has a greenhouse, rolling lawn, a sunken tennis court, swimming pool, and four fountains. There is also a formal garden, media room, and six-car garage, reports Variety. That’s not all. The home also has separate guest house and patio.
Next: The property taxes on the next property top $200,000 annually.
Bezos pays roughly $233,475 in annual property taxes on his Medina, Washington home reports Forbes. Several of the world’s richest people live in the waterfront city. Among them is Bill Gates. Bezos has both a main house and a boathouse, which sits on 200 yards of shoreline. The 29,000-square-foot estate is worth approximately $70 million, reports Curbed Seattle. Many wealthy individuals are drawn to this area because of features like security, a small population size (as of this writing, just 3,120), and private beaches.
Next: A second home in Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, California
Bezos purchased this sprawling Beverly Hills, California, estate in July 2017. He paid $12.9 million for the property, which sits next to the Beverly Hills home he purchased in 2007. The billionaire was able to buy this home before it was even listed, reports the Los Angeles Times. The estate, which stretches over 4,568 square feet and sits on half an acre of land, has four bedrooms and six bathrooms.
Next: How Bezos makes his money
Making money moves
Bezos has other business interests besides Amazon. Back in 2013, he purchased The Washington Post for $250 million in cash. In addition, he is an investor. Bezos Expeditions has invested in businesses including Basecamp, Juno Therapeutics, Twitter, and Workday, reports CNBC. In addition, Bezos has personally invested in Airbnb, Uber and Google.
He also continues to grow Amazon by purchasing other companies. One of the most notable purchases was last year’s $13.7 billion Whole Foods deal. So far, it’s Amazon’s largest deal.
Additional reporting by Sheiresa Ngo.
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