Inside Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez's Relationship
On Thursday, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos published an essay on the blogging site Medium accusing the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc., of threatening to publish intimate pictures of him and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, unless he called off an investigation into the tabloid.
Bezos says the company attempted to extort and blackmail him after he hired a security consultant to find out how they obtained text messages revealing his romance with Sanchez, a pilot and former news anchor. The National Enquirer published those messages the same day he announced his divorce from MacKenzie Bezos in January.
Although Bezos and Sanchez have only been together for a short while, their relationship has already led to an astonishing chain of events that now involves a serious cast of characters including AMI's CEO David Pecker, private security guru Gavin de Becker, and even President Donald Trump.
Here's what you need to know about the new couple—and how they've handled the emerging scandal.
BEZOS MET HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND THROUGH HER HOLLYWOOD AGENT HUSBAND.
Bezos, 55, and Sanchez, 49, got to know each other through her husband of 13 years, Patrick Whitesell, a family friend and Hollywood agent supposedly repping Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Kevin Costner and Hugh Jackman.
They had run in the same social circles for years, and were spotted attending parties together, including a December 2016 Manchester By The Sea holiday event hosted by Matt Damon, who produced the film.
Bezos even reportedly hired Sanchez, who earned her helicopter pilot’s license in June 2016 while co-hosting Fox’s Good Day LA, as a pilot to shoot aerial shots for his project, ‘Blue Origin,’ a space-launch company, according to Page Six. Blue Origin was created in 2000 by Bezos to develop private access to space by lowering the cost of travel and increasing reliability.
Bezos and Sanchez struck up a working relationship while collaborating on projects like Blue Origin, before gradually falling for each other last year.
Patrick Whitesell, Lauren Sanchez, and Jeff Bezos in December 2016.
OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS, BEZOS AND SANCHEZ HAVE BEEN SPOTTED SPENDING TIME TOGETHER.
Sanchez reportedly became very close to Bezos around the time she and Whitesell separated last fall.
“Lauren and Jeff have been spending a lot of time together over the last year and especially the past few months,” a source told People. “At first it was socially at parties… here and there. But their time together has definitely seemed to evolve, raising some eyebrows. Jeff has met a small group of Lauren’s girlfriends, too.”
They were even seen together in Los Angeles on the day of the Golden Globes on January 6 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Page Six reports.
THEIR RESPECTIVE SPOUSES KNEW ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP.
Bezos's wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, and Whitesell were aware of the relationship for a while and "dealt" with it sometime in the fall of 2018, a source told People.
"The world is catching up to it, but it has had zero impact on their relationship," the insider said. "They've never been stronger."
BEZOS ANNOUNCED HIS DIVORCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
On January 9, Bezos and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, issued a statement via Twitter announcing their divorce. It read:
“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. 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. If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again. We’ve had such a great life together as a married couple, and we also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures. Though the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends.”
Sanchez is also divorcing Whitesell.
JUST HOURS LATER, THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER REVEALED BEZOS WAS DATING SANCHEZ.
The National Enquirer published a story revealing that Bezos had been having an extramarital affair with Sanchez for eight months. The tabloid also published intimate text messages between Bezos and Sanchez and photos of the couple.
Bezos's lawyer apparently told The Enquirer that it was "widely known" that he and his wife had been "long separated."
SANCHEZ HEADED BACK TO WORK SHORTLY AFTER THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER PIECE WAS PUBLISHED.
A week after the news broke, Sanchez went back to work at Black Ops Aviation, the aerial film and production company she founded in Los Angeles.
“She’s doing really well,” a source told PEOPLE. “She did what is like breathing to her: She went up in her helicopter for 45 minutes. It was a rainy day but she was determined to go up and she did. Then she went back to work.”
According to the publication, Sanchez was a consultant on Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and worked as an aerial producer on director Catherine Hardwicke’s upcoming film Miss Bala, starring Gina Rodriguez.
BEZOS ASKED SECURITY EXPERT GAVIN DE BECKER TO LOOK INTO AMI.
As Sanchez returned to work, Bezos—who owns The Washington Post—tasked Gavin de Becker, an established security expert, with finding the person responsible for the leak to the National Enquirer's parent company AMI. The 64-year-old is known for consulting on the OJ Simpson trial, authoring New York Times-bestselling book titled The Gift of Fear, and appearing on "Oprah" to discuss security.
According to the Daily Beast, de Becker was investigating the possibility that Michael Sanchez, Lauren's brother and a fervent Trump supporter, leaked messages for political reasons:
Gavin de Becker, the Amazon chief’s longtime personal security consultant and the point person for the investigation, confirmed to The Daily Beast on Wednesday that his probe has scrutinized Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos mistress Lauren Sanchez and a personal and business associate of Trump world figures including Roger Stone, Carter Page, and Scottie Nell Hughes.
Michael Sanchez denied playing any kind of role in leaking the messages and claimed his priority was to protect his sister, he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
BEZOS CALLED OUT AMI IN A BLOG POST.
On January 7, Bezos penned a lengthy post on the blogging site Medium claiming that AMI approached him about dropping the investigation.
In it, Bezos says he was told that David Pecker, the CEO of AMI was “apoplectic” about the investigation, and he was approached by the company "verbally at first, with an offer."
"They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation," Bezos writes. A striking description of the intimate photos is available over on Medium.
According to USA Today, AMI responded in a statement saying it "believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story."
The company reportedly says at "the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him."
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.