Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos talk about how much they value each other…

… but show that they don’t value marriage per se?

The jointly signed tweet from the soon-to-be-divorced Amazon founder and wife is full of mutual praise. These two people say that they’re friends, so presumably they like each other. Mr. Bezos earned more than $130 billion that the two friends could spend during their years together, for which they say they are both “grateful.”

The situation in which they found themselves, thus, was one where they had near-infinite spending power and were free of any forced disagreeable associations.

They’re not divorcing because they were miserable, in short, due to poverty or arguing. They’re divorcing because one or both believe that yet greater life enjoyment can be achieved without the encumbrance of marriage to the other.

Doesn’t that make their commitment to marriage contingent on “until I can find something at least slightly better”?

If someone says “I love my Honda Odyssey, but the new Sienna has an extra cupholder so I am trading in the Honda,” you wouldn’t consider that person an example of brand loyalty.

A woman in our home suburb said that she was divorcing her husband because he was abusive and addicted to alcohol and/or drugs (not so bad that he couldn’t go to work every day!). So she showed that she was committed to the idea of marriage, but had to escape this particular intolerable situation for the safety of her four children (who would, after she pulled the ripcord, be guaranteed to spend 4/14 nights completely unsupervised with the addict). [Once the cash was flowing, though, it turned out that when she was busy with Tinder dates the addict was the go-to babysitter for the brood of four.]

Readers: What do you think? Does the act of talking up the value of the to-be-ex have the effect of talking down the value of permanent marriage? (And what does “marriage” mean in a jurisdiction offering no-fault on-demand divorce?)

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11 thoughts on “Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos talk about how much they value each other…

  1. Wasn’t buying the “cherished friends” phrase, and then the “exploration” with connotation of swinging??? Paltrow was probably more sincere in her conscious uncoupling statement. Elon Musk chose more wisely after separating from starter wife as this twice-divorced strumpet who shares Bezos’ texts with her gfs is trouble.

  2. It is pathetic that people feel the need to release this sort of tripe to the public but there is probably a logic to it. He is probably the more clever of the two and it is in his interest to keep hostility to a minimum because he hopes that he will be hosed less if she is less angry — that is surely what his lawyers advised him and he has no doubt been receiving legal advice for quite some time before the story broke to the public. The “we will always be friends” line is not the way the world usually works and unless she has already been bought off she will likely rebel in the future.

  3. Last things first: My transcription of their statement, which was Tweeted as a JPEG with 624Hx620W came out to 607 characters (741 characters with spaces) and 130 words if MS Word is to be believed. So they’re waaaaaay over the 280 character limit. Is this a thing now on Twitter – going far beyond the character limits by….using bitmaps…?

    I really think you nailed it: “They’re divorcing because one or both believe that yet greater life enjoyment can be achieved without the encumbrance of marriage to the other.”

    And yes, personally, I found their joint statement peculiar and strangely exuberant in a hollow and emotionally vapid sort of way. I think it reduces their marriage to, as they say themselves, a “label” that on that got stuck on at one event, stayed there for 25 years, and is now being peeled off their lapels and discarded as new upcoming events are contemplated. Nothing has really changed about the relationship except to discard a label that no longer means anything to them. And they would do it again!

    The legal ramifications are something else. Was the whole thing just some kind of legal and societal formality to them, or is there some other motivation for trying to make the divorce sound as happy as possible?

    It spares everyone the machinations of those who traffic in gossip about an “open marriage” because…there is no more marriage. It’s over. You’re either married or you’re not. Now each of them is free to conduct their adulthood from this point forward however they so choose, with whomever they so choose, doing whatever they so choose, minimizing the possibility of a tabloid magazine (for instance) splashing up pictures of the world’s richest man *cheating on his wife*, or vice-versa. It certainly reduces the possibility of blackmail being effective in the event someone out there has photos, or ever will in the future. Now all anyone can say is: “Rich Single Man/Woman Sleeping Around.” And hey, now it’ll be “Bezos seen with new girlfriend.” Which some people find kinda cool for an older bald guy, I suppose. Or woman. So it’s risk management.

    Is there anything else? Some deeper motivation? Some heartrending emotional turmoil that’s being camouflaged or swept under the rug for the sake of maintaining control over the narrative? That’s a tantalizing possibility, but they evidently don’t want to discuss it in public beyond this statement. It’s prophylactic. They want the public not to think much about it, so they’ve walled it off and compartmentalized it for everyone in a 130 word joint statement. He’s the richest man in the world and they want to define the divorce for the public mind on their terms, possibly to preclude as much speculation and “theorizing” as possible. Does it give them room to sue people who try to construct and promulgate an alternate narrative? I don’t know.

    You advise in the “moderation” section:
    ” For some reason, human beings often are confident that they can discern the hidden motivation for another person doing or saying something. Trained psychiatrists and psychologists, however, do very poorly at this task, so what hope is there for a lay person?” I’ll leave my attempts to discern any such motivations there.

    But it’s damn strange, Jim. The rich are different.

  4. Elon Musk has enjoyed similar amicable divorces. Marriage of convenience & access to women has always been a privilege of rich men. If he was an Uber driver or a programmer instead of a CEO, she would block him on twitter & no more spaceships for hubby.

  5. I don’t know, they did 25 years. I assume their kids are older. It’s not like they can be inconspicuous, either. I suspect that she doesn’t want to be publicly cuckolded, but is realistic.

  6. Mrs Bezos looks attractive, but c’mon … what’s the point of being the (formerly) richest man in the world if you can’t at least bang a few pornstars? (see also: Emporer Trump) Is there any able bodied man (Bezos is actually muscular and ripped) with billions$ and the urge to procreate wired into his DNA who could remain faithful to one woman for 25+ years?

    • Strip both Bezos of their fortune and the wife is more desireable.

      Maybe it was McKenzie, not Jeff, who wanted freedom to play the field.

      Consider this as a scenario:
      She cuckolded him, and this whole helicopter floozie story is a red herring to preserve Jeff’s dignity.

  7. Isn’t it funny that Bezos, genius and ruthless businessman himself, got conned into marriage and divorce?

    How he expected it to go down? On the other hand he might have a good prenap.

  8. Also, they can always write a book later, expanding on the tweet and telling the rest of the story. They could even have competing narratives!

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