MacKenzie was born MacKenzie S. Tuttle in San Francisco and is 48 years old, six years younger than Bezos. She has published two books, 2005’s The Testing of Luther Albright and 2013’s Traps.
Here’s a look at MacKenzie’s relationship with Bezos, along with information about her career.
1. The Couple Announced Their Divorce in January 2019
Bezos and MacKennzie met while working together at the New York City hedge fund D.E. Shaw. In a Vogue interview, MacKenzie shared that Bezos was the first person she interviewed with at the company. She asked him out to lunch one day and they were engaged three months later. She was only 23 years old when they married.
“My office was next door to his, and all day long I listened to that fabulous laugh,” she told Vogue. “How could you not fall in love with that laugh?”
Although Bezos had reached the level of Senior Vice President after just four years there, he soon decided to quit because he wanted to create something on the Internet. Of course, that turned out to be a book store called Amazon.com that has grown into the largest online retailer in the world.
MacKenzie was with Bezos when they made their famous cross-country trip to Seattle, where Bezos established Amazon.
In January, the couple announced that they were divorcing. They shared the news in a tweet signed by both of them. “We want to make people aware of a development in our lives. As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” the tweeted statement says.
It continues, “We’ve had such a great life together as a married couple, and we also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures.”
Questions about the pair’s net worth and divorce settlement have already surfaced. The most recent estimates of Bezos’ net worth come in at around $137 billion. However, as CNBC points out, Washington, where the Bezoses live, is a community property state, meaning that any wealth made during their marriage could very well be split equally between the two of them. CNBC writes, “Since Amazon was founded a year after the Bezoses were married, MacKenzie could argue that she is entitled to half of Bezos’ entire Amazon-based fortune — $137 billion at latest count. That means she could get as much as $66 billion based on the value of the company today.”
2. MacKenzie Studied Under Writer Toni Morrison & Graduated from Princeton
While MacKenzie was born in California, she was educated on the East Coast. She attended Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, and went on to earn her English degree at Princeton University (which her husband also attended). She was also a student of the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison at Princeton.
In a Vogue profile of MacKeznie, Morrison called the author “one of the best students I’ve ever had in my creative-writing classes . . . really one of the best.” Morrison also suggested she hire Amanda “Binky” Urgan as her literary agent.
“I think my wife is resourceful, smart, brainy, and hot, but I had the good fortune of having seen her résumé before I met her, so I knew exactly what her SATs were,” Bezos told Vogue.
3. She Famously Wrote a One-Star Review to Brad Stone’s Biography Jeff Bezos on Amazon
MacKeznie at the center of attention in November 2014 when it was discovered that she wrote one of the few one-star reviews for Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. While the book was praised by critics (and 62 percent of all reviews on Amazon give it five stars), MacKenzie posted a 921-word review knocking down the book.
She wrote that there were multiple examples of factual errors in the book. She wrote in one part:
Everywhere I can fact check from personal knowledge, I find way too many inaccuracies, and unfortunately that casts doubt over every episode in the book. Like two other reviewers here, Jonathan Leblang and Rick Dalzell, I have firsthand knowledge of many of the events. I worked for Jeff at D. E. Shaw, 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 centers, and the door-desk filled conference rooms in the early years of Amazon’s history. Jeff and I have been married for 20 years.
Stone later wrote a long response to Macenzie’s review on Bloomberg. He defended his decision to highlight the tension between the employees and executives, noting that the sudden growth of Amazon is what makes Bezos “so compelling.” Stone wrote, in part:
Still, I’m not so high on my own authority to ignore the obvious: there are details of this story that only Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos can know. If they point to errors, I’ll gladly correct them. But I’d also proudly note that no one has taken issue with the major revelations in my book, such as Bezos’s Amazon.Love memo, the Cheetah and Gazelle negotiations with book publishers, the MilliRavi press release, the fight with Diapers.com and LoveFilm, and on and on.
One fan of the book who was close to Bezos is Kaphan. He wrote a four-star review.
4. She Took 10 Years to Write Her First Book & Has Only Published 2
When you’re a writer married to one of the richest men in the world, you can afford to spend 10 years writing your first novel. Forbes estimates that Bezos’ current net worth is $81.4 billion.
In her Vogue interview, MacKenzie said she took 10 years and “a lot of tears” to write The Testing of Luther Albright, which was published in 2005. The book (which you can buy on Amazon, of course) centers on a devoted father whose life is changed by an earthquake in Sacramento. It won the 2005 American Book Award.
MacKenzie told Vogue that Bezos is her “best reader” and he often cleared his schedule to read her manuscript. But for her second book, 2013’s Traps, MacKenzie refused to let her husband read it while she was working on it and finished it much quicker.
“Not talking about it to Jeff gave me an extremely rewarding carrot,” she told Vogue. “The sooner I finished, the sooner I could share it with him and talk about these characters who had been taking up so much space in my head. By the last three months, they were so real and important to me, I could start crying just thinking about them while driving to pick up the kids from school.”
Traps is about a reclusive movie star who comes out of hiding and travels to Las Vegas with a group of strangers.
5. She’s the Founder of Bystander Revolution, an Anti-Bullying Website
In 2014, MacKenzie launched Bystander Revolution, an anti-bullying website that offers advice to help stop bullying. The site continues to be updated with videos from students and even celebrities who share their stories and advice. Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, Salma Hayek, Melisssa Joan Hart and Jamie Lee Curtis are just a few of the celebrities who have recorded videos for the site.
“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 site reads. “Search by problem or solution to find tips from people who have been targets, people who have been bystanders, and even people who have bullied.”
“A lot of the conventional wisdom about bullying is that it is a cultural norm that can’t be overcome,” MacKenzie told the Christian Science Monitor. “But there are so many small things an individual can do to help that have a huge impact.”
In 2017, Jeff and MacKenzie launched the Day One Fund. Their divorce statement suggests they will be continuing to work together on the charitable effort.