Journalist, novelist, role model: There's much more to MacKenzie Bezos than $35.6 billion and the world's richest ex
MacKenzie, a published author of acclaimed books, was a pupil of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, who called her one of the best students she ever had
MacKenzie Bezos, born as MacKenzie S Tuttle, has officially become the third richest woman in the world with a net worth of at least $35.6 billion after her official split from ex-husband Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world with a net worth of about $110 billion. However, not much known about the Amazon CEO's former wife, who is an award-winning novelist and journalist.
MacKenzie, a skilled writer, loved literature as a child and penned her first literary work at the age of six called 'The Book Worm,' a 142-page manuscript. Born to a financial planner father and a homemaker mother in San Francisco, California, MacKenzie, from a very young age was encouraged by her parents to pursue her passion of becoming a journalist as they strived to give her the best of education.
She went on to earn her bachelor's degree, with honors, in English in 1992 from Princeton University and was fortunate enough to study under famous novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Morrison, in her later statements, said that MacKenzie was one of the best students she has ever had in her class with a special gift for creative writing. MacKenzie continued to train and research under Morrison even after college.
MacKenzie met Jeff Bezos while she was working under him at the New York City hedge fund company, DE Shaw. The couple courted briefly and married in 1993. It took Mackenzie nearly ten years to complete her first book 'The Testing of Luther Albright' — this period included her assisting Jeff to set up Amazon.com and taking care of her four children in their formative years. She was awarded the ‘American Book Award’ for ‘Outstanding Literary Achievement’ in 2006 in recognition of her novel. 'The Testing of Luther Albright', which was an instant success with readers, was also named 'Los Angeles Times’ book of the year.
MacKenzie has been extremely supportive of her former husband and once famously wrote a critical review of the book 'The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon’ by Brad Stone, mentioning the inadequacies in the book about her husband's firm. The 48-year-old's second book 'Traps' was published in 2013 and was widely appreciated by the readers.
An activist by nature, MacKenzie has always supported gay rights and donated enormous sums of money — along with her former husband — to fund research on cancer and neurological disorders. The Californian in 2014 also founded an anti-bullying organization called the 'Bystander Revolution which aims to encourage "simple habits of kindness, courage, and inclusion." The foundation's website features hundreds of videos with students, experts, and celebrities talking about how to tackle bullying. MacKenzie, the executive director of the organization, is actively involved in its functioning.
MacKenzie and Jeff, who remained married for 25 years, announced their intent to separate in January 2019 and formally announced the completion of their divorce earlier on April 4. The pair have three sons and an adopted daughter.
The 48-year-old in her official Twitter statement said that she was relinquishing the pair's 75 percent of Amazon stocks to Jeff — constituting nearly 12 percent of the company— along with her voting rights of the remaining stocks. MacKenzie has roughly 4 percent of the firm. She also announced that she had given up all of her interest in The Washington Post and his space company Blue Origin.
Despite giving up her interests and stocks in, MacKenzie has become the third richest woman in the world, behind only French heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetics Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers and Alice Walton, the 69-year-old heiress of US supermarket giant Walmart.
Reports state that the value of her remaining stake in Amazon alone amounts to at least $35.6 billion and that her true net worth is likely to be much higher than the initial estimations.