The Mackenzie Scott’s story splits into two contradictory parts. When you are the spouse of the richest man in the world, you may be relegated to the background. Also, being one half of the world’s wealthiest couple means you are always in the news and media. It is, however, essential to remember that Mackenzie Scott has always been her own person outside of her marriage and will continue to be so.
However, it is her marriage to, and subsequent divorce from, Jeff Bezos that has created the most buzz around her. The marriage spanned 25 years and had its beginnings in their shared Princeton roots.
Mackenzie Scott and Jeff Bezos Attended The Same University
Mackenzie Scott was born in 1970 on the 7th of April in San Francisco, California. She grew up in the same city and nursed an ambition to be a novelist. Her literary aspirations manifested early when at the age of six, Scott authored a 142-page book called The Book Worm. However, she lost this project to a flood. Thus, it was not surprising when she decided to study English at Princeton University.
She studied creative writing under the Nobel prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and worked as her research assistant. Mackenzie has since described Morrison as her mentor. It is perhaps coincidental that the man that would become her husband, Jeff Bezos, also attended Princeton University. However, he was science-inclined in his time at the prestigious university as he studied Computer Science. Bezos and Scott did not meet at Princeton, though as he graduated from the university in 1986, a good six years before she graduated.
It was Mackenzie Scott that Made the First Move in the Relationship
When Mackenzie took up a position as an administrative assistant at D.E Shaw, a quantitative hedge fund, she had no idea she would meet her future husband. She initially took up the position to pay the bills as she pursued her writing ambitions. But she soon found herself enamored by the laughter of the man whose office was next to hers.
Jeff Bezos had insisted he was on the lookout for a resourceful woman and was impressed by Scott’s CV. He was also among the panel that interviewed her when she applied for a position in the company. She would, however, go a step further to invited him to lunch and thus began their relationship.
They dated for just three months before getting engaged. They subsequently got married in 1993 and relocated from New York to Seattle, Washington via a road trip after they decided to start their own online bookselling company. The marriage produced four children; three sons and a daughter adopted from China. The names of their children are not publicly known, but their ages are estimated to be within thirteen to eighteen (at the time of writing).
Mackenzie was Pivotal in the Early Stages of Amazon
When Amazon is mentioned, one thinks of Jeff Bezos. While the business mogul was the mastermind behind its formation, his ex-wife was played an integral role in its infant stage. A year after they got married, Bezos decided it was time to launch his own company. The decision forced the married couple to quit their jobs and relocate to Seattle.
Mackenzie Scott has never been a business inclined person. Still, after listening to the passion with which her husband spoke, she decided to come on board. She was the driver as the couple made the road trip from New York to Seattle whilst Bezos typed up a business plan on the laptop. She also became Amazon’s first employee when she became the accountant and was actively involved in its transformation from an online bookseller to a giant e-commerce company.
The Couple First Announced their Impending Divorce via Twitter
After 25 years of marriage, the couple shocked the world when they announced their impending divorce. The joint statement, released via Bezos’s Twitter account, emphasized that the divorce was amicable and they would be parting as friends. They revealed that having explored other methods of resolution, they felt that a divorce was the best decision to make.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) January 9, 2019
Despite the amicable mood surrounding the separation, conversations still arose as to how a legal separation would occur. Given the vast wealth possessed by the couple, agreeing a settlement that would be satisfactory to both parties was the main contention. One thing that seemed sure was that the divorce would go down in history books.
Bezos’s Affair with Lauren Sanchez Might Be Reason for Divorce
Although it has never been confirmed officially, there has been a reason given for the dissolution of the 25-year marriage between Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott. A day after Bezos and Scott announced their divorce via twitter, the National Enquirer published details of Bezos’s affair with Lauren Sanchez.
Lauren Sanchez is a news anchor, actress, producer, and certified helicopter pilot. She met Bezos through her husband, Patrick Whitesell, who is a Hollywood agent. The report claimed that Bezos cheated on his wife with the 49-year old and they were spotted in several spots together. They eventually got much closer when she separated from her husband.
Just a day after Bezos and Scott finalized their divorce, Sanchez filed for divorce from her husband. The report also claimed that the extramarital affair between Bezos and Sanchez had been going on for eight months and prompted Mackenzie Scott to seek separation and subsequently, a divorce.
The Divorce Initially Made Mackenzie Scott the Third Richest Woman in the World
On the 4th of April 2019, Mackenzie Scott announced via her Twitter account that she had finalized her divorce from the Amazon CEO. She also listed the terms of the settlement surrounding the divorce. Mackenzie would only be taking 25% of the couple’s total stake at the company, leaving 75% to her ex-husband.
This 25% amounted to roughly $35 billion. Scott did not claim any stakes at other companies owned by her husband, including the Washington Post and Blue Origin.
— MacKenzie Scott (@mackenziescott) April 4, 2019
The $35 billion settlement is the highest recorded divorce settlement in history and immediately catapulted Mackenzie Scott into the list of the wealthiest people in the world. It also made her the third richest woman in the world.
She would have easily been the richest in the world had the 16.1% stock owned by the couple been halved. Instead, she trailed Francoise Bettencourt Meyers of the L’Oreal family and Alice Walton of Walmart.
She Has Since Become the Richest Woman in the World
Shortly after finalizing the divorce, Mackenzie Scott pledged to make donations to charity. She backed this up by signing the Giving Pledge and committed to giving at least half of her wealth to charity. By July of 2020, she had already donated $1.7 billion to 116 charities.
These philanthropic acts have done nothing to dwindle her fortunes though. If anything, her net worth has grown exponentially since 2019, and she is now the richest woman in the world.
After the costliest divorce in history helped her debut on the rich list as the third richest woman in the world, she claimed two better to top the list in 2020. Mackenzie Scott is now worth $68 billion, almost double of her initial worth. The increase came after Amazon’s stocks jumped approximately 28% over three months and have increased over 90% in just this year.