When most people get married, they have love on their minds.
If (or when) they get divorced, it’s usually all about the money.
Occasional novelist and former Wall Street research associate MacKenzie Bezos, 48, could end up banking about $7.4 million for every single day she was married to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, financial records show.
MacKenzie, who once said, “I have no business sense whatsoever,” may still walk away with around half the couple’s roughly $139 billion fortune ($69.5 billion) as a result of their divorce, which was announced Wednesday.
That would make her the richest woman in the world and probably in history. She’d be 26 times richer than Oprah Winfrey and more than 100 times richer than the Queen of England.
That would make her the richest woman in the world and probably in history. She’d be 26 times richer than Oprah Winfrey and more than a hundred times richer than the Queen of England.
(Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
MacKenzie, who has published two novels during her career, would also end up about 70 times richer than fellow novelist J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter books, movies and spin-offs have netted their creator a comparatively paltry $1 billion.
Sales of MacKenzie’s two novels, “The Testing of Luther Albright” and “Traps” are unknown. One received just 77 reviews on the website founded by her husband. The other received 20 reviews.
“Traps” is described on Amazon thus: “Reclusive movie star Jessica Lessing is finally coming out of hiding — to confront her father, a con man who has been selling her out to the paparazzi for years.” The Amazon description for her other novel reads: “Luther Albright is a devoted father and a designer of dams, a self-controlled man who believes he can engineer happiness for his family by sheltering them from his own emotions.”
‘Luther Albright is a devoted father and a designer of dams, a self-controlled man who believes he can engineer happiness for his family by sheltering them from his own emotions.’
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have been married for 25 years. They met when he hired her to work for Wall Street hedge fund firm D.E. Shaw in the early 1990s, biographers have said. Jeff Bezos was a vice-president at the time.
Jeff Bezos graduated from Princeton in 1986, after majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. MacKenzie graduated from the same college six years later. She majored in English, with a certificate in creative writing, says Princeton.
Financial details of the Bezos separation are being closely guarded, but the couple live in Washington State, where Amazon has its headquarters. If you’re married to someone rich and you’re going to get divorced, this is one of the best states in which to do it, say legal experts.
Washington is among a handful of so-called “community property” states in the U.S., where most marital assets are simply split 50/50 regardless of who made the money or how. Such rules can even override prenuptial agreements, say experts.
Washington is among a handful of so-called ‘community property’ states in the U.S., where most marital assets are simply split 50/50 regardless of who made the money or how.
“Washington is a community property state,” says Spokane, Wash. financial advisor Sarah Carlson. “In a community property state, everything is 50/50,” she said. “Even if you have a prenup, there’s a lot of precedent in the courts that ruled in favor of ignoring it.”
“There’s little reason to believe the court would do anything other than divide up those assets 50/50,” agrees Seattle divorce lawyer David Starks, a partner in the Washington law firm McKinley Irvin.
The pair were married in 1993, before Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, so the wealth has all been made since the marriage and would probably count as “community property,” experts say.
Mackenzie Bezos’ windfall would take her wealth way beyond that of Wal-Mart WMT, -0.35% heiress Alice Walton, currently the world’s richest woman with approximately $46 billion. It would also make her richer by far than almost any other entrepreneur or business person of either sex. She could buy Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google GOOG, -0.87% one and a half times over.
By most measures, indeed, Mackenzie Bezos will be worth more than any other woman in history, although some fanciful estimates suggest Egyptian empress Cleopatra and Russia’s Catherine the Great might have had more.
What such a huge transfer of Amazon AMZN, -0.72% stock might mean for Amazon, and for Bezos’ personal control of the company, remains to be seen.
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