Jeff Bezos' revelation on Wednesday that he and MacKenzie Bezos, his wife of roughly 25 years, would be filing for divorce set off a chain reaction of speculation as readers wondered whether the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Bezos would walk away with half her husband's fortune (presently valued at a tidy $70 billion) and - more importantly - whether another woman was involved in the separation.
And as is often the case with the world's wealthiest, the answer to both questions appears to be yes. According to Page Six, Bezos has been carrying on a secret relationship with Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor and wife of Hollywood talent mogul Patrick Whitesell - considered one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, whose clients include Christian Bale, Matt Damon and Hugh Jackman.
The two first got to know each other through Sanchez's husband (the two couples socialized together because they both owned homes in the same wealthy enclave of Seattle).
Sources said that Bezos, 54, and Sanchez, 49, - who also works as a helicopter pilot - got to know each other through her WME/IMG husband Whitesell, one of Hollywood’s most powerful men and agent to stars including Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Kevin Costner, Hugh Jackman, plus a host of other A-listers.
An exclusive source told Page Six "Patrick and Lauren have socialized with Jeff Bezos and his wife for a few years, because both (now former) couples have houses in Seattle."
Sanchez, her husband and Bezos were even photographed together at the premier of "Manchester By the Sea"...
...an award-winning film which featured one of Whitesell's clients, Michelle Williams.
Patrick, Lauren and Jeff were even pictured together at a 2016 event for the movie "Manchester By The Sea," which starred another of Patrick’s clients, Michelle Williams. But sources say Lauren became closer to Bezos after she separated with Whitesell in the fall. Meanwhile Bezos revealed on Wednesday that he and his wife have been going through a "trial separation."
But the relationship presumably began to blossom after Bezos hired Sanchez - who also works as a helicopter pilot - to work for his "Blue Origin" space exploration company.
Lest readers conclude that the pair had been carrying on a clandestine affair behind their partners' back, the Post noted that Sanchez had been separated from her husband - and presumably Bezos had been separated from his wife - by the time the two had started seeing one another romantically.
"Patrick and Lauren Sanchez have been separated for a while. Their marriage has been off and on for a while, and they tried hard to fix things, but in the fall they officially separated. She had told Patrick that she has been recently seeing Jeff Bezos."
Sanchez has hosted several TV shows, and also runs her own aviation company.
Lauren, a former co-host on Fox 11’s "Good Day LA," has been a guest host on ABC’s "The View" and "Extra." She was also the original host of Fox’s "So You Think You Can Dance." She also runs a company called Black Ops Aviation, which specializes in shooting aerial shots for TV shows, movies and commercials.
But although Bezos and his wife have reportedly been separated for some time - with Page Six noting that the couple hadn't been seen in public together for a long time - the gossip page suspects that Bezos decided to make his announcement on Wednesday to get out ahead of reports about his relationship with Sanchez.
But if MacKenzie has any lingering anger about the breakup, the simple fact that she could soon become the world's wealthiest woman should help soothe her anxieties.
As Bloomberg reports, walking away with half of the Bezos fortune would put MacKenzie Bezos ahead of Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal SA (Bettencourt is worth some $45 billion).
MacKenzie would be in good company among the wealthiest women. Because as it turns out, most of the 66 women on the Bloomberg's list came into their wealth through death or divorce. Out of the 66 women, only six are self-made, compared with 313 self-made men.
But it's still unclear whether the Bezos will evenly divide Jeff's 16% stake in the e-commerce giant he founded, we can't help but wonder: Was his relationship with Sanchez really worth $70 billion?