- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos announced on Wednesday their 25-year marriage was ending in divorce.
- MacKenzie Bezos played a role in the founding of Amazon, driving cross-country to Seattle with Jeff Bezos in 1994 while the founder typed out Amazon’s business plan.
- MacKenzie Bezos also worked as an accountant for Amazon in the company’s early days.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Wednesday that his 25-year marriage to his wife MacKenzie is ending in divorce.
The announcement has drawn renewed interest in MacKenzie Bezos’ role in the origins of Amazon. MacKenzie Bezos was one of Amazon’s first employees, and according to Amazon lore, Jeff Bezos drafted part of the company’s business plan while the couple drove across the country together.
As the story goes, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos met in 1992 when they were both employees at the New York City hedge fund D.E. Shaw. Jeff Bezos worked his way up to senior vice president at the firm, while MacKenzie Bezos, then MacKenzie Tuttle, worked there as a research associate.
The two married in 1993, and a year later, Jeff Bezos told his wife about his revolutionary plan for an online bookstore that he would later name Amazon.
“I’m not a businessperson. So to me, what I’m hearing when he tells me that idea is the passion and the excitement,” MacKenzie Bezos told CBS in 2013. “And to me, you know, watching your spouse, somebody that you love, have an adventure – what is better than that, and being part of that?
In 1994, the couple drove from New York City to Seattle, the eventual Amazon headquarters, with MacKenzie Bezos driving and Jeff Bezos “tapping out a business plan on his computer along the way,” as Wired wrote in 1999. With their dog Kamala in tow, “Jeff spent the trip pecking out a business plan on a laptop computer and calling prospective investors on a cell phone,” according to Entrepreneur.
MacKenzie Bezos became an accountant for Amazon, and is considered one of the company’s earliest employees. According to Wired, she was responsible for negotiating Amazon’s first freight contracts, ironically, at a Barnes and Noble bookstore.
MacKenzie Bezos, who in college was an assistant to the author Toni Morrison, is now a novelist.
In his announcement on Wednesday, Jeff Bezos said, “we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends.”
“Through the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends,” he wrote.
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