Jeff Bezos and his wife are divorcing after 25 years — why decades-long relationships end

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Twitter account usually revolves around business endeavors (most recently, a a new cargo jet plane), but on Wednesday morning, it took a decidedly different turn. In a tweet signed “Jeff and MacKenzie,” Bezos revealed that he and his wife of 25 years are officially divorcing.

“After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” the couple said. “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,” the statement continued. “If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”

Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, met and got married while working at D.E. Shaw, a New York-based hedge fund, in the early 1990s, CNN reports. Bezos, who now has an estimated net worth of $137 billion, launched Amazon not long after. MacKenzie is the author of multiple books, including Traps and The Testing of Luther Albright.

The Bezos are hardly the first famous couple to break up after spending years together. Robert DeNiro and his wife, Grace Hightower, shared in November that they were divorcing after more than 20 years of marriage, as did Real Housewives of Miami’s Larsa Pippen and her husband, Scottie, formerly of the Chicago Bulls, who had been married for 21 years.

But with recent reports showing that divorce rates have reached their lowest in decades, what’s causing couples to split after spending decades — or more — together?

Couples who have been together for a long time face a lot of the same obstacles that other couples do, licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The biggest challenges I have found in working with couples are keeping your relationship fresh, exciting, and romantic, and being attentive, intellectually stimulating, and growing as you spend time together,” he says. “Breakdowns in communication — meaningful and stimulating communication — is also a death knell to couples.”

Jeff Bezos and his wife, author Mackenzie Bezos, have chosen to split up. (Photo: Jorg Carstensen/AFP/Getty Images)
Jeff Bezos and his wife, author Mackenzie Bezos, have chosen to split up. (Photo: Jorg Carstensen/AFP/Getty Images)

A lack of excitement and attention is often a huge issue for couples who have been together for decades. “The excitement that you had for each other has died, and that stimulation leaves a huge emotional void,” Mayer says, adding that feeling that your partner isn’t paying as much attention to you as he or she once did is also a major factor. “That often starts with little things, such as no longer dressing well for the other, being sloppy, not helping with household chores, and in general, taking your partner for granted in ways that you didn’t do when you were first attracted to this person.”

If you’re in a long-term marriage, Mayer says it’s important to do what you can to try to be attractive to each other, and on more than a physical level. “That includes emotional, behavioral, and intellectual ways,” he says. “Then, you keep your relationship growing and moving forward.”

The Bezoses, who have four children, said in the statement that they plan to continue to work together as “parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures.”

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