Ama­zon hypocrisy at heart of happy di­vorce

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - COMMENT -

WHEN Don­ald Trump heard about bil­lion­aire Ama­zon founder Jeff Be­zos’s im­pend­ing di­vorce from his wife MacKen­zie, he re­vived his old rat­ings-hun­gry re­al­ity TV per­sona, sali­vat­ing about how this was ‘go­ing to be a beauty’. The US Pres­i­dent knows some­thing of which he speaks. So far he has two spec­tac­u­lar splits un­der his belt, both pre­dat­ing the cur­rent celebrity fad for pre­sent­ing di­vorce as the tri­umphant sum­mit of golden cou­ple­dom.

Hol­ly­wood roy­alty Gwyneth Pal­trow and Chris Martin may have pi­o­neered the barmy act of ‘con­scious un­cou­pling,’ but the Be­zoses, Sil­i­con Val­ley’s royal cou­ple, stretched pub­lic credulity to the limit, gush­ing in their state­ment about be­ing ‘cher­ished friends’ who were ‘di­vorc­ing af­ter a long pe­riod of lov­ing ex­plo­ration and trial sepa­ra­tion’.

The cha­rade of their har­mo­nious di­vorce might have lasted had it not been fol­lowed in a mat­ter of hours by news that the Na­tional En­quirer was about to break the scan­dal of Jeff’s af­fair with his wife’s friend Lau­ren Sanchez, a for­mer TV pre­sen­ter with an ad­ven­tur­ous side­line in fly­ing he­li­copters.

Far from a split framed as the nat­u­ral end to a hal­cyon union be­tween two hip­pie soul­mates, the ex­cru­ci­at­ing sexts and pho­to­graphs of his gen­i­talia that were sent by dig­i­tal pi­o­neer Be­zos to his mis­tress ex­posed him as just an­other stink­ing rich cliché play­ing out his mid-life cri­sis in pub­lic, re­gard­less of the cost to his wife of 25 years and their four chil­dren.

TIME will tell whether de­spite their up­beat PR, the Be­zoses’ di­vorce plays out just like any other split caused by in­fi­delity. They might be able to keep a lid on pas­sions un­leashed af­ter such a be­trayal: re­venge, bit­ter­ness, jeal­ousy and hu­man mis­ery, not to for­get guilt.

Be­zos’s for­tune stands at $140bil­lion and un­der com­mu­nity law in Wash­ing­ton state it will be halved, with his wife be­com­ing one of the rich­est women on the planet and him top­pling down the rich list.

They will be anx­ious to avoid any­thing like the all-out war that was fought be­tween Don­ald and Ivana Trump.

When Ivana dis­cov­ered that her cheat­ing hus­band had brought his mis­tress on the fam­ily ski­ing hol­i­day, she vowed to take him for ev­ery last bil­lion, com­pound­ing his hu­mil­i­a­tion with a cameo in the movie First Wives Club, where she mer­rily ex­horted women ,’not to get mad – but to get ev­ery­thing’.

The Trumps’ larger than life per­son­al­i­ties were a fac­tor in their di­vorce be­com­ing such a sen­sa­tion, but even for con­trol freaks like Jeff Be­zos, there is rarely such thing as an am­i­ca­ble di­vorce.

He may al­low no cracks in his brand’s ve­neer of per­fec­tion but while the guff churned out by his PR ma­chine man­aged to turn a pasty-faced in­ter­net nerd into a glam­orous su­per­star fig­ure, it can’t erase the emo­tional up­heaval or raw pain caused by di­vorce.

In the early days of Ama­zon, both MacKen­zie and Jeff looked like quin­tes­sen­tial tech geeks in their sen­si­ble clothes, glasses and earnest ways. No more. Cos­metic surgery, ve­neers and ex­ten­sive work in the gym have trans­formed MacKen­zie into a sleek clothes horse, wor­thy of the fash­ion pages.

Jeff’s ex­treme makeover turned him into a perma-tanned shaven­headed mus­cle man in avi­a­tor sun­glasses, who has been com­pared to Vin Diesel in ap­pear­ance.

MacKen­zie, who en­cour­aged him to take a gam­ble on his mad­cap scheme for in­ter­net shop­ping and did the book­keep­ing for Ama­zon in the early years, is cer­tainly not the first woman to find her­self traded in af­ter her hus- band hit the big time.

For her sake, it’s a pity that Be­zos, the re­tail rev­o­lu­tion­ary who blazed a trail through the in­for­ma­tion age, wasn’t quite so vi­sion­ary at home.

YANN Moix, the French in­tel­lec­tual who caused a storm when he said he had no in­ter­est in women over 50, has de­clared he can’t stand white women ei­ther. ‘They make my hair stand on end,’ he says. Given his re­ced­ing hair­line, it’s safe to say it’s been a very long time in­deed since any of his hair stood on end.

HATS off to ra­dio leg­end Larry Go­gan who, aged 84, con­tin­ues to work de­spite un­der­go­ing stress­ful dial­y­sis treat­ment. Larry’s sole con­ces­sion to his med­i­cal con­di­tion is mov­ing from 2fm to RTÉ Gold as the lat­ter’s sched­ule fits in bet­ter with his thrice-weekly treat­ments. No of­fence to Larry, but per­haps re­tire­ment would suit his con­di­tion even bet­ter.

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