There’s a new power couple in town.
Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr has been spotted hand-in-hand with Evan Spiegel, the party boy founder of super app Snapchat.
There’s no doubt Spiegel is something of a boy genius – he founded a billion-dollar company before the age of 25 – but he’s also a contentious figure on the tech scene.
Born in 1990 to two very wealthy lawyer parents, Spiegel is seven years Kerr’s junior.
However he’s achieved a lot in his short life – at just 21, Spiegel built Snapchat with two friends while studying at Stanford University as a method for “sexting” (sending lewd photos).
Unsurprisingly, the self-deleting photo app took off in the younger market. It was renamed from Picaboo to Snapchat and downloads started to spike in early 2012.
Come June 2013, the company was valued at US$800 million.
Spiegel’s quick ascent to success plunged him into a luxurious lifestyle of fast cars, parties and celebrity friends – including a rumoured fling with popstar Taylor Swift in late 2013.
Now he has his sights set on Kerr, whose marriage to Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom ended in 2013.
So what exactly is Kerr getting herself into? Here’s what we know about Spiegel’s colourful past.
Offensive leaked emails
Last year Spiegel was forced to apologise when emails he sent during his college days were made public.
The emails, leaked on Gawker blog Valleywag, contained some pretty derogatory descriptions of women, as well as plenty of references to heavy partying, stripper poles and getting sorority girls drunk.
“I’m obviously mortified and embarrassed that my idiotic emails during my fraternity days were made public,” Spiegel said in a statement to TechCrunch.
“I have no excuse. I’m sorry I wrote them at the time and I was jerk to have written them. They in no way reflect who I am today or my views towards women.”
A wild lifestyle
The wild partying lifestyle Spiegel alludes to in his emails was no front.
After his parents’ divorce in 2007, he began holding parties at his father’s new house, inviting hundreds of teenagers.
When he hit college, he continued to hold out-of-control parties as social chair of Stanford’s Kappa Sigma fraternity.
When Kappa held an alcoholic party during a designated “dry” week in 2010, the fraternity was kicked off campus by administration. This was around the same time the idea for Snapchat was conceived.
Threats from a stalker
Earlier this week, Spiegel made reported a stalker to the Los Angeles Police Department, according to TMZ.
Spiegel reportedly received threats over Snapchat, Twitter and email referencing Molotov cocktails a JFK.
The cyber stalker reportedly also sent a package to Spiegel’s home, filled with “nonsensical messages”.
The matter is currently under investigation.
A spoiled upbringing
To his credit, Spiegel has always been open about his privileged background.
“I am a young, white, educated male,” he once said at a 2013 conference. “I got really, really lucky. And life isn’t fair.”
He often advises young people wishing to become entrepreneurs that, “it’s not about working harder; it’s about working the system,”.
Even before his company made the big time, Spiegel lived a fortunate life, which involved petitioning his parents for a BMW.
According to LA Weekly, in a letter to his father in 2008 Spiegel asked his father for a $75,000 BMW 550i, a $2000-a-month allowance and a $2000 emergency fund.
“Cars bring me sheer joy,” he wrote. “I would really appreciate you validating me and all of my hard work by leasing the BMW. … Boys attach so much value to cars, and it feels so nice to pull up next to all the rich, arrogant a**holes at Crossroads and know that I can still drive a car just as nice as theirs but I didn’t sell out and compromise my integrity.
“I have overcome a lot of difficult obstacles in my childhood (this past year included) and it feels really nice to have you and Mom acknowledge my success.”
While his father refused to give him the car, his mother went on to lease the BMW to him. Spiegel got a speeding ticket days later.
For the majority of Snapchat’s development, Spiegel lived at home but last year purchased a three-bedroom home in the affluent LA suburb of Brentwood for a reported US$3.3 million.
A friendship feud
Spiegel started the app with one of his fraternity brothers Frank Reginald Brown IV, also known as Reggie.
He then brought in an older fraternity brother, Bobby Murphy, to write code for the app.
Later, Spiegel and Murphy edged Brown out, a decision which eventually landed them in court.
According to LA Weekly, Brown wanted 30 percent equity in the company, threatening litigation. When his former frat brothers failed to comply, he filed a lawsuit.
“This,” Brown’s lawsuit stated, “is a case of partners betraying a fellow partner.”
The matter later ended in an undisclosed settlement in 2014.