Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: The new-age billionaire couple's relationship status is pretty awesome
Zuckerberg's innovative solution to his wife's sleeping problem shows their relationship is going as strong as ever.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest and most powerful people in the world, but even he can't do much to stave off the sleep deprivation that plagues parents who have young children.
In a recent Instagram post, Zuckerberg came out to reveal that his wife, Priscilla Chan, has been struggling to find sleep because of incessantly worrying about having to wake up and take care of their two daughters, Max, 3, and August, 1.
"Being a mom is hard, and since we've had kids Priscilla has had a hard time sleeping through the night," he wrote. "She'll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can't fall back asleep."
So, how does a man worth an estimated $55 billion solve this problem? By being innovative, of course! Zuckerberg said he had invented what he called a "sleep box" to alleviate his wife's sleeping issues.
He explained that the "sleep box" sits on her nightstand, and between the hours of 6 and 7 am, "emits a very faint light" which is " visible enough that if she sees it she'll know it's an okay time for one of us to get the kids, but faint enough that the light won't wake her up if she's still sleeping."
Because it doesn't show time, Zuckerberg said when Chan wakes up in the middle of the night, she can just go back to sleep without having to worry what time it is. He exclaimed that the sleep box "has worked better than I expected and she can now sleep through the night."
It's quite heartening to see his and Chan's relationship still going strong, especially in light of how Jeff Bezos' decades-long marriage with MacKenzie Bezos came to such a highly-publicized end recently.
Similar to Bezos, Zuckerberg met Chan long before the billions started rolling into the bank accounts. The pair met during a fraternity party at Harvard University, where both of them were studying, during Zuckerberg's sophomore year and began dating.
The two dated on and off during their undergrad years, with Chan graduating from Harvard in 2007, the year after Zuckerberg would have earned his degree had he decided to not leave to pursue his ambitions on what was then known as "thefacebook."
Chan then spent two years teaching science at the prestigious Harker School in San Jose before entering medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, which was one of the top programs of its kind in the country.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg's Facebook had exploded onto a social media scene that primarily consisted of MySpace and Orkut, and had blown them out of the websphere. In 2010, the same year he invited Chan to move in with him at his $7 million Palo Alto pad, Facebook touched the 500 million user mark.
What makes one hopeful for their future is how, despite Zuckerberg's billionaire status, Chan has never stopped pursuing her passion. She continued her studies and graduated from UCSF in 2012, then going on to finish her pediatric residency in the summer of 2015.
Zuckerberg revealed it was her passion for pediatrics and concern for sick children she met during her training that prompted him to add an organ donation registry tool to Facebook. "[Priscilla will] see them getting sicker and then all of a sudden an organ becomes available and she comes home and her face is all lit up because someone's life is going to better because of this," he said in a 2012 interview with ABC.
The signs point to theirs being a relationship built on trust and mutual respect. As it became obvious he would tie the knot with her, he even started studying Mandarin, telling ABC he had learned enough to chat with Chan's grandmother. And contrary to the "gold-digger" posts that popped up on the internet following her marriage to Zuckerberg in May 2012, Chan spends considerable time on her job as a pediatrician.
Her passion for philanthropy and charitable goals focusing on education, healthcare, and science, which are closely tied to her personal background, proved to be quite infectious as well.
In 2010, Zuckerberg, along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, signed 'The Giving Pledge,' in which they promised to donate at least half of their wealth to charity over the years. On December 1, 2015, on the birth of his daughter Max, he and Chan announced they would eventually give 99 percent of their Facebook shares (worth about US$45 billion at the time) to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
It's estimated that they have pledged about $4.6 billion to charities to date, including a $75 million donation to San Francisco General Hospital, where Chan worked, $970 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and $120 million to public schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The billions aside, Zuckerberg's and Chan's relationship seems to be as strong as ever, and the admittedly ingenious 'sleep box' is just another indicator that, sometimes, it's the little things that make all the difference.