Friday 18 October 2019

How the richest man in the world couldn't keep his affair secret

Tabloid 'Enquirer' digs the dirt on billionaire Bezos

Split: Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie are divorcing. Picture: Getty
Split: Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie are divorcing. Picture: Getty
Jane Last

Jane Last

This weekend sees the end of 'Divorce Week' - the week legal specialists say is the time of year most couples will decide to trigger separation proceedings.

Little did we know at the outset the richest man in the world was feeling the same.

We don't know much about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (54) and his wife MacKenzie (48). With a joint worth of €131bn, it's no surprise they may like to keep themselves to themselves.

So it surprised many when Bezos took to Twitter to issue a "joint statement" announcing their intention to divorce.

The statement said they wished to share news of a "development" in their lives, which their family and close friends had been aware of for some time.

After a "long period of loving exploration and a trial separation", they had decided to bring their 25-year marriage to an end.

The couple have four children together and, the statement said, they would remain a family and while the "labels might be different", they would be "cherished friends".

Shares at Amazon - the world's most valuable company with a worth in the region of €800bn - dipped after the announcement.

Many of us were intrigued as to why the businessman opted to share this information.

Hours later, US supermarket tabloid 'The National Enquirer' had news of Jeff Bezos' affair with former Fox TV host Lauren Sanchez (49) on their front page.

The magazine claimed they had text messages exchanged between the two - one message from Bezos to Ms Sanchez read: "I love you, alive girl. I will show you with my body, and my lips and my eyes, very soon." He 'sexted' her and a number of images were sent. The 'Enquirer' claims it had been following the pair for months - and had pictures of them together. Ms Sanchez had use of Mr Bezos' private jet.

It also claimed MacKenzie first became aware of their relationship when she checked the passenger manifest for the jet one day, and found Ms Sanchez to be the only passenger.

The 'Enquirer' has form when it comes to exposing the secret affairs of powerful men.

The career of John Edwards - a US Senator with the Democrats and former vice president candidate - came to an end when the publication reported on his extra-marital affair during which his wife Elizabeth was terminally ill with cancer.

Tiger Woods also fell foul of the magazine, which was the first to report on his affair with Rachel Uchitel while he was married to Elin Nordegren. The 'Enquirer's' story on Woods opened the floodgates with numerous women coming forward to say they'd had affairs with the golfer.

Interestingly, the magazine paid former 'Playboy Playmate' Karen McDougal $150,000 in August 2015 for her story on her affair with Donald Trump.

American Media Inc - the magazine's publishers - later told US prosecutors it opted to not publish the story.

Incidentally David Pecker - the CEO and owner of American Media Inc - is a long time friend and ally of Trump.

No such mercy was shown to Bezos on this occasion.

One would wonder... Bezos is the owner of the 'Washington Post', a strong critic of Trump and a powerful member of the 'mainstream media' which the US president openly deplores.

Since the titillating expose hit the stands, "sources" close to Bezos have been spinning furiously. US media outlets claim the husband of Ms Sanchez, Hollywood talent agent Patrick Whitesell, has been "blindsided" by news of his wife's affair with Bezos.

Apparently, Ms Sanchez and Mr Whitesell were close friends of the Bezos' for the last 10 years. Ms Sanchez and Mr Whitesell are in the process of divorcing. They have two children, and Ms Sanchez has a third from a previous relationship. "Sources" have also divulged to media outlets that MacKenzie and Patrick were aware of the relationship between their respective spouses.

When that relationship began is unclear, but the same sources say it was after both had split from their partners.

Bezos is reportedly telling friends his split and impending divorce is "super amicable' but we don't know what MacKenzie thinks of it all, apart from the "joint statement".

Bezos has praised his wife previously for playing a central role in the success of Amazon.

She married him before he became a millionaire - he set up his online bookstore in their garage and MacKenzie did the books. That company - Amazon - is now the biggest in the world.

The couple live in Seattle, Washington State. There is no prenuptial agreement, and MacKenzie is in line to get half their joint €131bn fortune, all earned during their marriage.

We don't know what the assets are but it's reported the couple own 400,000 acres of land, making them the biggest landowners in the US.

Despite the unimaginable fortune, details of Bezos' affair with Ms Sanchez has been laid bare in all its tawdry detail on the pages of a tabloid magazine.

Their billions couldn't stop it.

Irish Independent

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