1. She's a Princeton graduate who has authored two books
Mackenzie grew up in San Francisco as the daughter of a financial planner and a housewife. She studied English at Princeton University, where she was an assistant to American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison.
It took her a decade before she published her debut novel, The Testing Of Luther Albright, in 2005. The psychological thriller set in Sacramento, California, won the 2005 American Book Award, and it was described by the New York Times as “quietly absorbing”. Her second book, Traps, is a tale of four women who meet on a road trip to Las Vegas.
2. She met Jeff at a New York hedge fund and fell in love with his laugh
When Mackenzie was trying for a job at New York hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co in 1993, the first person to interview her at the firm turned out to be Jeff, who was then a senior vice-president. She got the job as a research associate.
In a 2013 interview with Vogue magazine, she was quoted as saying: “My office was next door to his, and all day long, I listened to that fabulous laugh. How could you not fall in love with that laugh?”
Then 23 years old, told the magazine that she made the first move to woo her future husband by suggesting lunch.
3. It was a whirlwind romance
Within three months of their lunch date, the couple got engaged. And another three months later, they tied the knot. Shortly after, Jeff began working on his idea of an online bookseller, and the young couple took the plunge by uprooting their lives in New York to move to Seattle.
Mackenzie told Vogue in 2013: “I have no business sense whatsoever, but I saw how excited he was.”
According to a 1996 Wall Street Journal report, it was she who drove them across the country in 1994, with their dog Kamala in tow. Jeff was next to her “tapping out a business plan on his computer along the way”, according to tech magazine Wired.
The pair first lived in a one-bedroom rental in downtown Seattle.
4. She was one of Amazon's earliest employees and Jeff's greatest support
Mackenzie was considered one of Amazon’s earliest employees when the firm was founded in 1994. She helped with the accounting in its first year. According to Wired, she was also responsible for negotiating Amazon’s first freight contracts.
Jeff has always been outspoken about his wife’s unwavering support during that period: “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.”
The couple have four children: three boys and an adopted girl from China.
5. She left a scathing Amazon review on Jeff's biography
Mackenzie made headlines in November 2014 when she left a one-star review of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos And Amazon, a book about her husband written by American author Brad Stone.
She was among those who left scathing reviews on the book’s Amazon site, claiming that the book had several factual errors, even as some 60 per cent gave it five stars.
“I was there when he wrote the business plan, and I worked with him and many others represented in the converted garage, the basement warehouse closet, the barbecue-scented offices, the Christmas-rush distribution centres, and the door-desk filled conference rooms in the early years of Amazon’s history,” she wrote in the review.
6. She started an anti-bullying campaign
In 2004, Mackenzie started anti-bullying organisation Bystander Revolution, which has a website offering advice from students and even celebrities. As the executive director, she said that her goal was to spread “simple habits of kindness, courage, and inclusion”.
She wanted the website, which features videos and interviews, to be a resource for the average person to stop bullying.
“No matter who you are or what you’re facing, you can find personal stories, suggestions, and encouragement from someone who has dealt with a similar issue,” the website said.
Together with her husband, Mrs Bezos launched the Day One Fund in 2018 to help homeless families and build pre-schools for low-income communities.
7. She could become the world's richest woman
Mackenzie could become the world’s richest woman with the divorce, reported local and international news outlets.
Washington DC divorce lawyer Sandy Ain told The Washington Post that the area where the Bezos family resides is a “common property” state, which means that all the assets and debts accumulated during their marriage would be divided equally. Sandy does not represent Jeff or Mackenzie in their split, but has handled high-profile divorce cases among the rich in the past.
With Jeff being the richest person in the world, a 50/50 agreement would result in the biggest recorded divorce settlement, reported The Washington Post.
This could mean that Mackenzie could walk away from the divorce with about US$66 billion, making her the richest woman in the world, according to CNBC.
Currently, Ms Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal, is the richest woman in the world, with a net worth of US$45.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
However, a divorce lawyer told CNBC that a 50/50 split is unlikely, as Mr Bezos’ wealth is tied to him continuing to have a controlling stake in Amazon. The couple or Amazon have yet to comment on the likely division of their assets.
8. Was she dumped for a former TV anchor?
Soon after Jeff and Mackenzie revealed their plan to divorce, new reports have suggested that Jeff has been in a secret relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor and the estranged wife of Hollywood talent mogul Patrick Whitesell.
The New York Post’s celebrity news site Page Six reported that Jeff made the divorce announcement on Wednesday believing that photos of himself and Lauren could soon be made public.
The report said that Jeff got to know Lauren, a former anchor of television channel Fox’s Good Day LA, through her soon-to-be former husband Patrick. He is considered one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, as the agent to stars such as Matt Damon and Christian Bale.
Jeff and Lauren reportedly became closer after her separation from Patrick.
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Text: Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times