Billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, has announced he is getting divorced from his novelist wife MacKenzie after more than two decades together.
With an estimated net worth of $US160 billion ($A223 billion) according to Forbes, Mr Bezo’s split from his wife of 25 years is set to become the most expensive divorce in history.
The pair announced their divorce on Twitter on Thursday morning (Australian time), saying in a joint statement, “After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends”.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) January 9, 2019
Washington state, where the Bezos live, has state-specific divorce laws whereby any money made during their marriage could be divided equally between the couple.
Bezo, 54, who is the world’s richest person according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index topping $100 billion ($A139) in 2018, only founded Amazon after he married his wife, 48, meaning she could contest for half of Bezos’ entire earnings from the retail giant.
According to NBC News, that means she could be entitled to receiving about $66 billion based on the current value of the company.
The couple decided to divorce after a long period of “loving exploration” and trial separation, and expect to continue as partners in joint ventures and projects, according to their joint statement.
“We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years we have been married to each other,” the statement read.
“Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends.”
Mr Bezos has credited MacKenzie for her support when he uprooted the young couple from New York to Seattle so he could launch the online bookseller that grew into one of the world’s largest retailers.
The couple have four children together, including three sons and an adopted daughter.
They had reportedly met when Mr Bezo’s interviewed his future wife for a job at an offshore investment fund while in New York and wed six months after he first asked her out.
Although Amazon shares were down 0.2 per cent in midday trading on Wednesday, DA Davidson & Co analyst Thomas Forte said the divorce should have no material impact on the company and its shares.