Who Is Lauren Sánchez? All About Amazon Creator Jeff Bezos’ Fiancée
| LAST UPDATE 05/23/2023
Billionaire and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had a seemingly perfect life. He had a loving family and a global business, but details of a secret life soon emerged: the business mogul had a secret girlfriend...
Before there was Amazon or trips to space, there was an intelligent and hard-working guy named Jeff Bezos. He would become one of the wealthiest men on the planet, but before that, he was a regular guy.
Bezos worked at McDonald's in high school and was the valedictorian. After graduating from Princeton University in 1986, he immediately started working at a start-up. Eventually, he found his way to a hedge fund called D.E. Shaw & Co, quickly rising their ranks to SVP by age 30.
It was in the early 1990s that Bezos became aware of how fast the internet was growing. So the smart-thinking businessman left his job and started an online bookstore company in a garage in a suburb of Seattle, Washington. He named his new venture Amazon, after the river in South America.
By 2003, Amazon had turned a profit of $400 million! Although it had some struggles along the way, the company became the largest online shopping retailer in the whole world. In turn, it made Bezos a billionaire - and now both Amazon and its founder have become household names.
Building an Empire
What started as an online bookstore quickly turned into a global mega empire. Along the way, it acquired companies like Shopbop, IMDb, and Audible - and one of their biggest acquisitions was the healthy grocery store chain Whole Foods Market. They paid an astronomical $13.7 billion for it - quite a hefty sum.
Amazon also expanded into the entertainment business with Prime Video and Studios. It was behind fan favorites The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and The Boys. But their success doesn't stop there; they also acquired longtime Hollywood staple MGM. What can't Amazon do?
Bezos' Better Half
Bezos didn't do it alone - His wife, MacKenzie Bezos (née Tuttle), was by his side the entire time. Like her soon-to-be husband, she graduated from Princeton University, and became an aspiring author who studied under best-selling author Toni Morrison. To help pay the bills while she wrote, she got a job at D.E. Shaw.
That's where she met Bezos. The two fell in love and quickly tied the knot. MacKenzie quit D.E. Shaw alongside her husband to start Amazon, and became one of the company's first employees, helping make the company into what it is today. During that entire time, she also worked on writing her novel.
Jeff and MacKenzie weren't only busy building an online empire; they were also making a family together. Their home would soon grow to include four children: three boys and one daughter, who was adopted from China. Now, couple had a loving family home in addition to a blossoming business.
Their eldest son, Preston, followed his parent's footsteps in more ways than one. Born in 2000, he was given his dad's middle name, and later also enrolled at Princeton University. The Bezos kids' futures were certainly looking bright...
The Pen Is Mightier
For years, MacKenzie's writing took a backseat to everything else happening in her life. From being a mother to four to helping with the business, there wasn't enough time left for her craft. It took her ten years to finish and publish her first novel, The Testing of Luther Albright.
She told Vogue, "After the third child, I knew I couldn't be the kind of parent I wanted to be and continue writing. Those years were just too busy." Ever determined, though, she found the time and energy to write her second novel, Traps. Bezos was often her designated reader!
An Ending to the Love Story
Sadly, however, their love story came to an end after a 25-year-long-marriage. On January 9, 2019, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos issued a joint statement on Twitter announcing their divorce. The normally private Bezos shocked the public with their announcement.
The statement read, "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." Later on, they added, "If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again."
MacKenzie's 25% Stake
At the time of their divorce, Bezos' net worth was worth $137 billion, according to Bloomberg. It was safe to say that this divorce was going to have a high price tag to it. MacKenzie began to use her middle name as her last name and walked away from the marriage with a fortune.
MacKenzie Scott received a 25% stake in the online retailer. Shortly after their divorce terms were made public, she signed the Giving Pledge. This meant she promised to give at least half of her wealth away during her lifetime. Hint: that number will start with a B - as in billions.
While many were shocked by the divorce announcement on Twitter, some people weren't so surprised. The executives at Amazon were suspicious something was happening with the company's CEO. According to author Brad Stone, the higher-ups at Amazon noticed slight changes in Bezos' behavior.
At times, it was becoming tough to track down where the billionaire was. People also could tell Bezos was constantly distracted and had difficulty focusing. Then, there was one hint that gave it away - something that was harder to cover up than anything else. Bezos had found a new obsession.
The business mogul had taken a newfound interest in helicopters. On the surface, it doesn't sound that strange for a billionaire. In fact, it made sense. But Amazon executives were suspicious because "as they all knew, Jeff Bezos hated helicopters," wrote Brad Stone in Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire.
The CEO had also hired a company called Black Ops Aviation to film a test flight for his space project. According to Stone, the higher-ups at Amazon were "perplexed" when they saw the charges. Then, the puzzle pieces came together hours after his divorce announcement…
The Other Woman
Lauren Sánchez is no stranger to the public eye. She began her career as a desk assistant at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, California, and eventually made her way to being in front of the camera as a reporter on Extra. She was an anchor on Good Day LA and Ten O'clock News, and the original host of So You Think You Can Dance.
Not only was she in front of the camera, but she was married to a high-powered Hollywood agent, Patrick Whitesell. The news anchor founded Black Ops Aviation 2016 to combine her two passions, aviation and filmmaking. She became even more front and center when it was revealed she had been having an affair with Jeff Bezos.
How It Began
The two go back to 2016, when Bezos and Sánchez were photographed together at a holiday party for the movie Manchester by the Sea. Amazon distributed the film, and Whitesell's client, Matt Damon, produced the movie. It was a Hollywood affair - literally.
No one is quite sure when Bezos and Sánchez became romantically involved with each other. However, in the summer of 2018, Bezos hired her company to film footage for his space operation, Blue Origin. According to The Wall Street Journal, it was Sánchez that helped Bezos overcome his fear of flying.
At that time, Sánchez and Whitesell had been married since 2005, and had two children together: Evan and Ella. Fortunately, when the news of her romance with Bezos dropped, the pair had already been separated and had been since that fall. However, they still had to finalize their divorce.
It came as no surprise to anyone who knew about the affair when the couple decided to end their marriage. They filed for divorce in April 2019, and by the time October came around, it was final. While their divorce wasn't as high-profile as Bezos' from MacKenzie, it nevertheless must have been a painful time for Sánchez's family.
The National Enquirer spent four months investigating the couple. They claimed they had followed the couple "across five states and 40,000 miles, tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and 'quality time' in hidden love nests." A whirlwind romance!
Reports of the affair between Sánchez and Bezos were released by The Enquirer and Page Six shortly after his divorce announcement was made. To make things even more interesting, Bezos was reportedly aware his relationship with Sánchez was about to be exposed. So, according to Page Six, he decided to announce his divorce himself.
Text and Photo Evidence
The report shocked the world - the private details of one of the wealthiest men in history were released for everyone to read and see. The Enquirer obtained racy text message exchanges and suggestive photographs. One text read, "You make me better. You're meant for me. I know it more clearly than I've ever known anything."
They revealed a shirtless photograph Bezos sent to Sánchez with the following message, "You know what I want? I want to get a little drunk with you tonight. Not falling down. Just a little drunk. I want to talk to you and plan with you. Listen and Laugh." And that's not all.
Even More Messages
Everything they said to each other was on public display. He exclaimed over text, "I basically WANT TO BE WITH YOU!!!! Then I want to fall asleep with you and wake up tomorrow and read the paper with you and have coffee with you." It sounds like a great morning for Bezos - but what about his wife? Clearly, she wasn't on his mind...
He also wrote, "I want to smell you, I want to breathe you in. I want to hold you tight.… I want to kiss your lips…. I love you. I am in love with you." In another text, Bezos declared Sánchez's "energy and ideas and competence and spirit turn me on." And there are plenty more examples that The Enquirer reported.
Walking a Dangerous Line
The Enquirer also reported that there were quite a few close calls of their affair being discovered. They claimed that at the party for Manchester by the Sea, Bezos whispered into Sánchez's ear, "You can't fight chemistry!" Whether or not that is true, that's one bold move.
Additionally, they reported that MacKenzie nearly found out about the affair when she saw a flight on her husband's private plane. While that wasn't unusual, the fact that the only passengers listed were Bezos and Sánchez raised her suspicions. However, Jeff assured his then-wife it was work-related.
In Support of Journalism
With Jeff Bezos' power and influence, it is surprising that he did not remove the reports. A man as connected as he was could have had everything erased and wiped from the internet in a matter of hours! However, Bezos had a very clear stance on the subject.
A lawyer for Bezos stated that he "supports journalistic efforts and does not intend to discourage reporting about him." After all, Bezos owns The Washington Post and knows what it's like to report on others. Now that the cat was out of the bag, as they say, what was next for the couple?
First Official Appearance
Once both divorces were finalized, the lovebirds finally stepped out together for their first public appearance. They made their debut in an event fit for royals, literally. They went to the 2019 Wimbledon men's final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, and they were sitting right behind the royal family.
They laughed and enjoyed watching the game, which eventually went to Djokovic. It seemed like they didn't have a care in the world and were simply having fun. Based on those text messages, this couple definitely knew how to have fun with each other. Now they were free to do so!
Living the Dream
Once their love was official, they were off to the races. What does a billionaire do to impress his new girlfriend? Take her around the world, of course. Photographs of the newly public couple were taken in various countries. From sailing on a superyacht off the coast of Spain to spending time with friends in Italy, they were going nonstop.
They went on dates with other celebrities, like Tom Cruise. They also went to Nobu in Malibu, California, a frequent stop of the Kardashian sisters. The two were enjoying life and each other's company, but something was brewing on the horizon that would test the couple.
Lauren's older brother, Michael Sánchez, sued her boyfriend. Per People Magazine, court documents revealed that Bezos and one of his consultants claimed to the press that Michael had released "graphic, nude photographs" of his sister's billionaire boyfriend.
So he decided to sue Bezos for defamation, claiming that Bezos' comments alienated him from his family and professional colleagues, per People. He also alleged that he had worked with the Enquirer to help get a handle on the narrative of his sister's story. Ultimately, he lost the case.
In February 2021, Bezos made a big announcement. He informed his many employees and the world that he was stepping down from his position as CEO of Amazon, a role he has held since starting the company out of a garage. What's he going to do with all this free time now?
The former CEO assured the public he would still be involved in Amazon as the company's board's Executive Chairman. However, he had plenty of other activities to focus on. From his space endeavor, Blue Origin, to running the newspaper The Washington Post, Bezos had his plate full. It was time to get started on a new adventure.
Bezos had one adventure on his mind: he wanted to go where no man had gone before - well, technically, where only a few men and women have gone before. The business giant dove head-first into his Blue Origin project. By July 2021, Bezos was flying amongst the stars. You heard that right: he actually went to space.
Joing Bezos for the ride was his half-brother Mark Bezos, pilot Wally Funk, and teenager Oliver Daemen. It was an 11-minute journey aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard space rocket. Bezos exclaimed that it was "the best day ever." Although a petition asked Bezos to stay in space and never return, he had his love waiting.
Although the couple had only spent 11 minutes apart, Lauren Sánchez couldn't wait for her partner to return to Earth. She gave him the biggest hug when he safely arrived back on the ground, and told The Wall Street Journal, "We love to be together and we love to work together."
Any minute apart from each other is hard for them to go through! The television personality continued, "We fly together. We work out together. We're together all the time." Aww! But that wasn't all - soon enough, the couple announced to the world that they'd taken a big step forward in their relationship...
The Big Announcement
According to People, Bezos officially popped the question to his girlfriend! The happy news came as the couple were enjoying a romantic getaway in the stunning South of France. The pair have been spotted living it up in the lap of luxury, attending the Cannes Film Festival and spending quality time on Bezos' $500 million yacht.
But that's not all - eagle-eyed fans caught a glimpse of a sparkling rock on Sánchez's finger, indicating that Bezos went all out with the engagement ring. And if that weren't enough, the wooden sculpture on the billionaire's yacht is designed in the likeness of Sánchez herself, complete with a special symbol for the couple.
In her interview with The Wall Street Journal, Lauren Sánchez discussed the blending of their two families. Both of them have children from their previous relationships, and it can be a complicated task to combine households. However, they have managed to make it work.
Sánchez told The Journal, "On a typical Saturday, we hang out, we have dinner with the kids, which is always fun because you never know where the conversation is going to go with this many kids." She then exclaimed, "We are the Brady Brunch!" The billionaire Brady Brunch...
It is obvious that Bezos and Sánchez are madly in love, but what is happening with their exes? Since Bezos divorced MacKenzie, she has donated billions of dollars to philanthropy. We're not joking. She announced at the end of 2022 that her donations since 2019 have totaled more than $14 billion. Her love life, though?
She remarried teacher Dan Jewett, but the couple divorced in September 2022. Meanwhile, Sánchez's ex-husband, Patrick Whitesell, has found love again. He married Australian actress and model Pia Blanco in May 2021. Both of the exes seem to have things figured out for themselves.
Committed to Planet Earth
Even though Bezos enjoys flying high above the clouds, the couple is still very committed to what is happening on our planet. Sánchez is the vice chair of the Bezos Earth Fund, which committed $10 billion to fight climate change. They even met with Prince Charles to discuss ways to combat climate change.
Sánchez told The Journal, "We believe in investing in individuals who are closest to the ground, working hands-on with the people whose lives we all hope to positively touch and transform. Work across the political divide is exceedingly and unfortunately rare today."
Bezos isn't the only one with big plans. The space bug also bit Sánchez. The former So You Think You Can Dance host has always been passionate about flight. This is what lead her to create her own company in the first place, and now she's taking that hobby one step further. She's going to fly to infinity and beyond.
She revealed to The Journal that she will be "leading an all-female mission to outer space on Blue Origin by early 2024." However, her boyfriend won't be joining her. She said, "As much as he wants to go on this flight, I'm going to have to hold him back. He'll be cheering us all on from the sidelines."
Cheers To the Future!
They may have had an unconventional start to their relationship, but they have shown how much they care for each other over the years. Their love began while they were flying in the air, and they haven't come down from that high since then. It's like two teenagers falling in love for the first time.
They love to post selfies on Instagram and share their amazing experiences with their many followers. Bezos said it best in one of his released text messages to Sánchez, "I love everything about you… I am crazy about you. All of you." Cheers to many more years and miles traveled for these lovebirds!