The news of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce has taken a dramatic turn.
On Wednesday, the billionaire technology exec announced he and wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, were splitting up. Hours later, the National Enquirer, a well-known celebrity-gossip tabloid, said it had conducted a four-month investigation into an affair between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former TV host — and that it plans to publish the full story on Thursday.
The Enquirer said its reporters tracked Bezos and Sanchez “across five states and 40,000 miles, tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and ‘quality time’ in hidden love nests.” The front-page headline, the Enquirer revealed, will be “The cheating photos that ended his marriage.”
The publication also said it has obtained photos of the two “doing the dirty” and suggested it has access to “raunchy messages and erotic selfies — including one steamy picture too explicit to print here.” It said the full report will include “more shocking photos of the pair,” though it has yet to print any.
The New York Post reported Sanchez and Bezos were involved in a relationship shortly before the National Enquirer did so on Wednesday. While the Post did not mention the National Enquirer by name, it suggested that the Bezoses timed their announcement to come ahead of the possible release of photos of Bezos and Sanchez.
The President Trump connection
Commentators have already been watching the divorce with fascination, given what it could mean for Bezos’ $137 billion fortune. The involvement of the National Enquirer — which has a long-standing association with President Donald Trump — adds a new dimension to the story, with some already speculating that the investigation could be politically motivated.
Bezos, who is also the owner of the Washington Post, is a longtime critic of President Trump, and the two have a long-standing public feud.
Meanwhile, David Pecker, the CEO of National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), was known for a long time as an ally of Trump, even before he entered politics, and the publication reportedly squelched several stories that would have reflected poorly on the future president.
MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes tweeted: “Given everything we know about how Pecker’s National Enquirer has functioned as essentially an arm of Trumpworld, this prompts some questions.”
And Erica Orden, a CNN reporter, said: “One of the bylines on this National Enquirer story about Jeff Bezos is Dylan Howard, the AMI editor who was involved in AMI & [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen’s efforts to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump.”
It’s worth noting, however, that Pecker seems to have flipped on Trump and is cooperating with prosecutors investigating payments made to women with whom Trump has been accused of having affairs, even as the National Enquirer is said to have downplayed its coverage of the president.
The National Enquirer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. An Amazon spokesperson also did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Lauren Sanchez is still married to Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEO of prominent Hollywood talent agency WME. Whitesell counts Matt Damon, Christian Bale, and Hugh Jackman among his clients. According to the New York Post, Sanchez and Whitesell separated in the fall, and she and Bezos “became closer” afterward. The National Enquirer, meanwhile, reported that their secret relationship has been ongoing for eight months.
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their separation in a joint statement on Twitter earlier on Wednesday. “We want to make people aware of a development in our lives. As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” they wrote.
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have four children together. Sanchez has three children — two from her marriage to Whitesell and one from a previous relationship.
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