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 Bezos, founder and CEO Amazon.com, and his wife Mackenzie Bezos arrive for morning session of the Allen & Co. annual conference at the Sun Valley Resor

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO Amazon.com, and his wife Mackenzie Bezos arrive for morning session of the Allen & Co. annual conference at the Sun Valley Resort. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

“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

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos attend the Amazon Studios Oscar Celebration

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos attend the Amazon Studios Oscar Celebration. | Jerod Harris/Getty Images

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 Bezos attend the "Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos attend the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. | Larry Busacca/Getty Images

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 and mackenzie bezos

Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos prove that sometimes, opposites do attract. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

“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

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos at the Sean Penn & Friends HAITI RISING Gala

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos at the Sean Penn & Friends HAITI RISING Gala. | Presley Ann/Getty Images

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

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos attend Amazon Studios Golden Globes Celebration

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos attend Amazon Studios Golden Globes Celebration. | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Amazon

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.” Jeff Bezos even avoids morning meetings so he can have breakfast with his brood and the family takes a lot of vacations together — even on his deep sea adventures.

Next: They also model generosity to their kids.

7. They give back to the less fortunate

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos attend Amazon Prime's Emmy Celebration

Jeff and MacKenzie attend Amazon Prime’s Emmy Celebration. | Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Amazon Studios

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.

8. The couple treats each other with meaningful gifts

Washington Post reporter and former Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos participate in the opening ceremony of the newspaper's new location

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos participate in the opening ceremony of the newspaper’s new location. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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.

9. They make their marriage a partnership

 Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos at the premiere of 'The Italian Job' at the Tribeca Film Festival

The couple at the premiere of ‘The Italian Job’ at the Tribeca Film Festival. | Sara Jaye/Getty Images)

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.

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