Jeff Bezos forced to announce divorce after learning National Enquirer has been tailing him

Jeff Bezos forced to announce divorce after learning National Enquirer has been tailing him
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WASHINGTON —  Jeff Bezos , the Amazon founder, was forced to announce his divorce before a tell-all story about his eight-month affair with a former television presenter, it was reported Thursday.

The National Enquirer said it had tailed the billionaire for four months across five states as he engaged in what the Enquirer described as trysts with Lauren Sanchez.

The magazine claimed to have obtained an embarrassing exchange of texts between Bezos, 54, and one-time Fox presenter Sanchez, 49, who is married to Patrick Whitesell, a Hollywood talent agent.

The Enquirer said it contacted Bezos and informed him of its investigation 48 hours before he publicly announced he was divorcing wife MacKenzie. The pair have been married for 25 years and have four children. MacKenzie Bezos, who is a novelist, is expected to become the richest woman in the world after their divorce settlement.

A lawyer representing Bezos told the Enquirer that it was “widely known” the businessman and his wife had been “long separated”.

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Inc., and his wife MacKenzie Bezos, arrive for morning sessions at the 28th annual Allen and Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Saturday, July 10, 2010. Matthew Staver/Bloomberg

Bezos has an estimated net worth of $140 billion and under divorce laws in Washington state, where the family live, couples without an existing agreement split any assets down the middle.

According to the National Enquirer, Bezos has been using his private jet for secret meetings with Sanchez, taking her on exotic trips, sending her explicit text messages and even sexual images of himself.

The liaisons included one romantic getaway at the very same hotel in Boston, where the Bezos family stayed when attending an event at their son’s university, the magazine claimed.

Bezos is thought to have met Sanchez through her husband, who represents stars including Matt Damon, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, and the two couples have reportedly socialized for a few years.

Sanchez and Whitesell are thought to have separated in the autumn, but have not formally filed for divorce. According to one source, Sanchez was hired to work on Bezos’s space-launch company.

Asked about the divorce Thursday, President Donald Trump, a vocal critic of Bezos, told reporters, “It’s going to be a beauty”.

Bezos has been a regular target of the president, in part due to his ownership of the Washington Post, which frequently criticizes the current administration.

David Pecker, the National Enquirer’s publisher, is a long-standing friend and key media ally of the president, and the magazine enjoyed a close relationship with Trump leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Last year, it was revealed that Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc, had been granted immunity by U.S. prosecutors in exchange for help during the prosecution of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, over hush payments to women during the 2016 election.

Pecker reportedly met with prosecutors and gave details about the payments, including information relating to Trump’s knowledge of the deals.

Dylan Howard, chief content officer of AMI, was also given immunity, according to the Wall Street Journal. Howard was one of the authors of Thursday’s tell-all on Bezos.

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