How do you woo a married, voluptuous, semi-famous TV star if you’re a married, bald, middle-aged multi-billionaire nerd?
Well if you’re Jeff Bezos, you take her to a conference for the world’s most successful geeks.
In March 2018, the billionaire Amazon founder invited Lauren Sanchez to Mars, his own exclusive three-day event in Palm Springs, California where she watched him play table tennis with a Japanese robot.
Among the other ‘romantic’ enticements was a four-legged robot named SpotMini from robotics company Boston Dynamics that Bezos walked around with.
The exclusive event was a computer nerd’s dream, teeming with rocket scientists, theoretical physicists, tech experts and astronauts – but it seemed to work on Sanchez, according to a new book.
It was from there that her relationship with Bezos blossomed, and three years on, after both divorced their spouses, they are still together, going strong.
Three years after their affair made national headlines, Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez’s relationship is still going strong. The two are pictured together last February attending a Hollywood event
According to a new book, Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, courted his mistress, who was married at the time, by taking her to the annual Mars Conference, an exclusive tech event hosted by Amazon in Palm Springs, California, in 2018. He was seen walking around with a four-legged robot named SpotMini (pictured) from robotics company Boston Dynamics
At the time, Bezos’s affair was not known to the public, however, Sanchez’s could be heard laughing in the background of one video showing him playing table tennis with a Japanese robot
The details of their courtship are revealed in Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire, by Bloomberg journalist Brad Stone, published Tuesday.
It also reveals for the first time the identity of the voice artist for ‘Alexa,’ the virtual assistant behind voice-enabled Amazon devices like the Echo, that have been sold worldwide.
The book charts the last decade of Amazon’s explosion into the biggest online retailer in the world and details just how its founder became the world’s richest man with a fortune of $191billion.
As Amazon continued to see success, Bezos, 57, became somewhat of a polarizing figure due to his unbelievable wealth which critics believed came at the expense of his low-level employees.
Details of Bezos’s scandalous affair as well as his rise to the top of the tech industry are detailed in Brad Stone’s, Amazon Unbound, published May 11
But in 2019, it was his affair with a 51-year-old former TV presenter that had everyone talking, throwing both his professional and personal life into the spotlight.
His relationship with Sanchez dates back to their first meeting through her then-husband, talent agent Patrick Whitesell.
They reconnected in 2016 at an Amazon Studios party in LA for the film Manchester by the Sea where Bezos, Sanchez, and Whitesell posed for photographs together.
And when Sanchez’s marriage ‘faltered’, she and Bezos grew close over their ‘love of flying.’
Sanchez, who was a helicopter pilot, shared a passion for aviation with Bezos, who launched his own rocket company, Blue Origin, in 2000.
But on the surface, the relationship seemed like an unlikely pairing and both Bezos and Sanchez had spouses that appeared to be poles apart from their lovers.
Bezos’s wife MacKenzie, 51, a former novelist, was known to be ‘zealously protective of her privacy,’ according to Stone, and typically shied away from the spotlight.
Meanwhile, Sanchez was ‘ebullient and curvaceous, with a penchant for walking into a room and embracing everybody in it.’
Friends considered her an ‘exuberant extrovert’ who was ‘supremely comfortable’ under the intense glare of the media in Los Angeles, where Bezos was spending more of his time.
After all, publicity was the basis for Sanchez’s career as an entertainment reporter and media personality in Los Angeles.
The relationship was an unlikely pairing as both Bezos and Sanchez had spouses that appeared to be poles apart from their lovers. Bezos’s wife MacKenzie, 51, a former novelist, was known to be ‘zealously protective of her privacy,’ while Sanchez was known for being an ‘exuberant extrovert’
Sanchez is said to have met Bezos through her husband, a talent agent and executive for talent agency, Endeavor. They reconnected in 2016 at an Amazon Studios party in LA for the film Manchester by the Sea where the three posed for photographs together (pictured)
‘If Bezos were ever imprisoned in Venezuela, she would likely march into the jail, beguile all the guards and persuade at least one into unlocking the door voluntarily,’ the book states.
The Mars conference in March 2018 was one of their first dates and was Bezos’s invite-only symposium for luminaries of the space industry. MacKenzie did not attend.
Instead, Sanchez took the role as Bezos’s number one fan and was heard laughing in a video of him playing table tennis with a Japanese robot.
The guests included philosophers, Nobel prize winners, and gravitational-wave astrophysicists, and each guest was given a Patagonia vest, a nod to Bezos’s own modest fashion sense.
Afternoon activities included falconry, Navy SEAL training, sausage making and meditation.
That Sunday night Bezos held court around a fire pit with a glass of whiskey in hand, Sanchez doubtless sitting by his side, according to a New York Times report of the event.
A few weeks later, Sanchez introduced Bezos to her brother Michael at a dinner at the hip LA restaurant Hearth & Hound and they hit it off.
According to the book, Bezos had been so caught up in his affair with Sanchez, he continued ‘the relationship with curious disregard for public reaction’
Both Bezos and Sanchez ultimately split from their respective spouses, but remain together to this day. They are pictured visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra, India last January
Contrary to Mackenzie, who married Bezos in 1993, Sanchez was ‘ebullient and curvaceous, with a penchant for walking into a room and embracing everybody in it’
Another date followed: bringing Sanchez, her brother and their mother to Washington to show off the presses of the Washington Post, which Bezos bought in 2013.
Things spiraled after that, and Sanchez attended the launch of the ninth New Shepard Blue Origin rocket and began to produce aerial videos for the space company.
According to book, Bezos was so caught up with Sanchez he continued ‘the relationship with curious disregard for public reaction.’
The OTHER woman in Jeff Bezos’s life: Alexa
Among the other revelations in the book is the identity of the woman who voices the Amazon Echo and other voice-controlled devices developed by the company that have risen to popularity in recent years.
‘Alexa’, is actually voice artist Nina Rolle, who is based in Boulder, Colorado,
But according to her website, Rolle is ‘more than a pretty voice.’
Voice artist Nina Rolle is the woman behind virtual assistant, ‘Alexa,’ the book reveals
Her previous work includes Absolut vodka and Chase bank but there is no mention of Amazon on her website and when Stone contacted her she declined to comment.
The book reveals Stone had learned of Rolle by inquiring around in the voiceover community.
The Amazon Echo
A photo on Rolle’s website shows her lying on a couch in a black pantsuit with an animated thought bubble of Dolly Parton coming out of her head.
‘Taking direction is my voiceover superpower, and I am dedicated to giving you and your project the exact read you need,’ she states.
In an excerpt already made public, Stone explained how the affair became public when the National Enquirer revealed it in a series of stories in 2019.
Bezos held a meeting with his top executives, known as the S-team, where he addressed the rumors of his personal life that he said were ‘very distracting.’
‘Raise your hand if you think you’ve had a harder week than I’ve had,’ he reportedly told his colleagues.
‘The story is completely wrong and out of order.
‘MacKenzie and I have had good, healthy, adult conversations about it. She is fine. The kids are fine. The media is having a field day,’ he said.
Bezos had responded to the tabloid story with a blog post in which he accused the Enquirer of trying to extort him as part of a plot linked to Donald Trump, who was an ally of the Enquirer’s publisher at the time, David Pecker, in retaliation for unflattering articles about the former president in the Washington Post.
The Post turned the narrative around and made Bezos out to be standing up to scurrilous tabloid journalist, distracting from the fact he had been a married man having an affair with a married woman.
In tech circles, Bezos is said to have a competitive leadership style and has been criticized for his aggressive business practices.
In the book, Stone reveals how the billionaire put pressure on the bosses of Amazon Studios, Amazon’s media development unit, to produce the next great TV series.
‘I want my Game of Thrones,’ he reportedly shouted at his underlings, but they failed to give him anything even close.
In frustration, Bezos harangued Roy Price, who at the time was head of Amazon Studios, and said: ‘I know what it takes to make a great show.
‘This should not be that hard. All of these shows have basic things in common’.
Bezos then reeled off the list of the elements of great storytelling which were written down.
The included: ‘A heroic protagonist who experiences growth and change’, ‘moral choices’, ‘humor’, ‘betrayal’, ‘positive emotions (love, joy, hope)’, negative emotions (loss, sorrow) and ‘violence’.
Other factors Bezos mentioned were: ‘Urgency to watch the next episode (cliffhangers) and civilizational high stakes (a global threat to humanity like an alien invasion)’.
If this sounded vague then it was the job of Bezos’ staff to make sense of it.
Their boss apparently thought that by reducing great filmmaking to specific metrics he could make a film just like he turned Amazon into an online retail colossus.
For months after Bezos had to be given updates with spreadsheets on how close they were getting to each metric, such was his demand for a hit.
If one element was missing they ‘had to explain why,’ the book says.