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Jeff Bezos And Ex-Wife Mackenzie Scott Only Dated For 6 Months Before Getting Married: 'I Wanted A Woman Who Could Get Me Out Of A Third-World Prison'

Jeannine Mancini
November 27, 2023

Amazon.com Inc.Founder Jeff Bezos and ex-wife Mackenzie Scott had a whirlwind romance that culminated in a brief three-month courtship before they got engaged. Reflecting on their relationship, Bezos once expressed his criteria for a life partner in a unique way. 

“I wanted a woman who could get me out of a third-world prison," he said in a 2017 Summit Series interview. "Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.” 

This statement highlighted his desire for a partner who was not only supportive but also capable and resourceful.

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In the interview, Bezos explained he prefers the term “work-life harmony” over “work-life balance,” as he believes the latter suggests a rigid trade-off. Bezos said productivity and satisfaction in one aspect of life positively influence the other. Being an effective member of his work team, he said, enhances his role at home. 

The couple met in 1992 while working at D.E. Shaw & Co., a New York-based hedge fund. Bezos, who conducted Scott’s job interview, was immediately taken by her. Their connection was instant and deep, leading to their engagement within three months of dating. By 1993, they were married and soon after embarked on a life-changing journey, moving to Seattle to start Amazon. 

Scott’s contribution to Amazon’s early days was significant. She was instrumental in its establishment as a bookseller and played a crucial role in its early years. Scott was Amazon's first employee working as the accountant. 

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Despite the brevity of their courtship, Bezos and Scott’s marriage spanned 26 years. In 2019, they announced their divorce, which, according to Bezos, followed a “long period of loving exploration and a trial separation.” The couple remained largely private about the reasons for their separation but maintained a cordial relationship post-divorce. They have four children. 

In a 2013 Vogue interview, Scott opened up about her marriage with Bezos, noting that their contrasting personalities complemented each other. She characterized Bezos as an extrovert, a stark contrast to her more reserved nature. Scott believed that this interplay of traits was crucial to the longevity and success of their relationship. She also disclosed that Bezos’s laugh was a significant reason she fell in love with him. Their marriage took place just three months after the engagement, which was only six months after their first date. 

The couple’s journey from a rapid engagement to building one of the most successful companies in the world and their eventual amicable divorce reflects a partnership grounded in mutual respect, ambition and the ability to overcome challenges together. 

Bezos and Scott did not have a prenuptial agreement. This was because Amazon did not exist at the time of their marriage, and the future billions the corporation would make were not anticipated. The absence of a prenup resulted in Bezos reportedly paying Scott $38.3 billion in the divorce settlement​​​​.

Following the divorce, Scott emerged as a prominent philanthropist, making substantial donations to various charitable causes. By March 2022, she had donated $3.9 billion to 465 nonprofits in nine months. This was part of her broader philanthropic efforts, which included a donation of $2.7 billion to nearly 300 organizations. Scott’s generosity extended to various sectors, with significant donations to institutions like Goodwill of North Florida, where her contribution was the largest in their history, and to three Florida schools.

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