Lauren Sanchez is a media personality, former news anchor and entertainment reporter who is the girlfriend of Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. Sanchez and Bezos have been officially dating since 2019, when their affair was revealed in a salacious tabloid report.
Sanchez left her husband, Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell, and Bezos left his wife, MacKenzie Scott, to start their public relationship. Lauren Sanchez, born December 19, 1969, is 51 and Bezos, born January 12, 1964, is 57.
Here’s what you need to know about Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend Lauren Sanchez:
1. Sanchez & Bezos’ Relationship Was Revealed in a February 2019 National Enquirer Report That Also Included Leaked Text Messages & Explicit Photos
Sanchez and Bezos began an affair when they were both married to other people, according to a February 2019 report in the National Enquirer that exposed their relationship. The Enquirer wrote that the billionaire had, “been whisking his mistress off to exotic destinations on his $65 million private jet, sending her raunchy messages and erotic selfies — including one steamy picture too explicit to print here.” The report also featured leaked text messages between the couple, along with nude photos of Bezos. He and his wife, MacKenzie, announced they were getting a divorce a day before the report was put online.
New York Post’s Page Six reported that Sanchez and Bezos met through Sanchez’s ex-husband, Whitesell, and they became close in the fall of 2018 when she separated from him. The newspaper reported, “Patrick and Lauren have socialized with Jeff Bezos and his wife for a few years, because both [now former] couples have houses in Seattle. Then Lauren was hired to work on one of Bezos’ projects, ‘Blue Origin,’ a space-launch company, as a helicopter pilot. She has been shooting aerial shots for Bezos.” A source close to Bezos told Page Six in January 2019, “Jeff and McKenzie tried very hard to work things out. They separated last year, then Jeff and Lauren started dating. McKenzie knew they were dating; the news today was not a surprise to her. Lauren was with Jeff at the Golden Globes because they are dating.”
A month after the Enquirer’s report being published, Bezos posted a blog post on Medium accusing the tabloid and its parent company, American Media Inc., of extortion and blackmail. Bezos has also been involved in legal battles with Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, who he has accused of leaking private texts. Michael Sanchez sued Bezos, accusing him of defamation, but the lawsuit was thrown out by a judge in November 2020, and Michael Sanchez was ordered to pay Bezos’ legal fees.
2. Sanchez, a New Mexico Native & University of Southern California Native, Began Her Career as a Local News Anchor Before Working for Extra as a Reporter & Filling in as a Host of ‘The View’
Sanchez is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to the Albuquerque Journal. She graduated from Del Norte High School in 1987 and was known then as Wendy L. Sanchez, according to the Journal. Sanchez was a cheerleader in high school and won Miss Junior America New Mexico in 1987, the newspaper reports. She became a model after high school and the city’s mayor declared Wendy Sanchez Day in 1990 after she won the Models World Magazine Cover Girl Competition, the Journal reported.
“Winning the cover of Models World Magazine has been the highlight of my modeling career,” Sanchez told the Journal in 1990. “I have never been so excited or so inspired to stretch and grow.”
According to the Journal E! Online, Sanchez studied at the University of New Mexico and then completed her degree in communications at the University of Southern California. E! reports she began her career in broadcasting in local news in California while at USC, before eventually working at as a national entertainment reporter for Extra. She also worked for Fox Sports Net.
Sanchez also anchored UPN 13 News at KCOC-TP and covered entertainment news for KTTV in Los Angeles. She hosted the first season of Fox’s competition show So You Think You Can Dance. She has also worked as a fill-in host on The View.
3. Sanchez, a Licensed Helicopter Pilot, Founded Black Ops Aviation, an Aerial Film & Production Company, in 2017
Along with her career as a TV personality, Sanchez is a licensed helicopter pilot, according to Extra. In 2017, she founded her own aerial filming company, Black Ops Aviation. The company has three helicopters, according to its website.
Her company has worked with Bezos and Blue Origin, along with ABC, Discovery Canada, Sony, Blade, Extra, Good Day LA, Discovery, Fox, WME, IMG and Netflix, according to its website.
Sanchez told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, “This space is dominated by men. But there’s nothing physical about flying a helicopter. You can be 5-foot-1 or 6-foot-4. There’s no reason more women aren’t in this.” She told the entertainment news site her father, Ray Sanchez, was a flight instructor and plane mechanic.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sanchez has been flying planes since 2011 and earned her helicopter certification in 2016. She told the site about the challenges of preparing to become a licensed helicopter pilot, “I literally cried — and I don’t cry. You go to school for a year, take a test, then you do a check ride — you go up with an instructor, and they take you through the emergency procedures. If you lose your engine, he turns off the throttle, and you have to get down. It’s like life. It’s good if everything goes right, but if s*** hits the fan, can you survive?”
Sanchez added, “We came from nothing. I used to sleep in the back of my grandmother’s car when she would go clean houses, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a career. Working is part of my DNA. I enjoy it, and now I want to give back. I want to be in a helicopter all the time. Life can be so chaotic with so much going on. Lift off and you’re in an energy space that no one else is in. It’s calming. When I’m up there, I’m completely satisfied. I’m like, ‘This is where I need to be.'”
4. Sanchez Has 2 Children With Ex-Husband Patrick Whitesell & a Son With NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez
Sanchez is the mother of three children. Her son, Nikko, was born in 2001 while she was dating retired NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez. She married Whitesell in 2005 and they have two children together, Evan, born in 2006, and Ella, born in 2008.
According to Page Six, Sanchez’s children spend time with her and Bezos. But they have moved slowly toward blending families, the gossip site reported in 2019, citing Sanchez’s friend, “They want this to happen organically, they’re not pushing anything to happen. It may not be perfect, but they’re not looking for perfection. They’re happy to be moving on with their lives together. Now they can be free without worrying about anyone. The outside influences have been neutralized.”
Bezos and his ex-wife have four children together, including three sons and a daughter. The Bezos family have kept their children out of the public spotlight.
5. Sanchez Sparked Engagement Rumors After She Was Spotted Wearing a Ring on Her Ring Finger, but She & Bezos Have Not Shared Any News Publicly
Sanchez sparked engagement rumors after she was spotted wearing a heart-shaped ring on her ring finger in June 2021, according to The Daily Mail. But she and Bezos have not revealed any news about an engagement publicly. The British news site posted exclusive photos of her with Bezos in the lead up to the Blue Origin launch and showcased the ring, but did not have any reporting about a possible engagement.
Tabloid rumors about wedding bells also spread in December 2019 when Sanchez was seen wearing a diamond ring while on vacation with Bezos, Page Six reported at the time.
People reported in June 2021 that the couple has found philanthropy to a be a “bright spot” in their relationship. A source told the celebrity news magazine, “Both Jeff and Lauren are really energized by the work they are doing in philanthropy. It’s been a focus and bright spot for them, particularly over the last year.”
The source added, “They’ve been active in it — doing a lot of the calls themselves and meeting with the people working on the various initiatives they’re involved with. You can see and hear their excitement when they meet with partners on the climate, education, and homelessness work.”