- The National Enquirer’s exposé on Jeff Bezos’ romance with former TV star Lauren Sanchez has set off an extraordinary chain of events.
- Scroll on to find out the main players in the saga of the Amazon CEO’s love life.
Jeff Bezos dropped a bombshell on Thursday night, accusing the National Enquirer of trying to extort him using intimate photos of himself and former TV host Lauren Sanchez.
In January, the Enquirer broke the news of Bezos’ affair with Sanchez, just a day after Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced they were divorcing. The Enquirer published photos of the couple together as well as leaked texts.
It set off an extraordinary chain of events that has cast a bright light on the personal life of Amazon’s CEO and the richest man in the world, and embroiled the US president, Donald Trump.
Scroll on to find out about the key players in the Jeff Bezos saga.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and world’s richest man
On January 9, Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos announced on Twitter that they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage and a trial separation.
On the same day, the National Enquirer said it had conducted a four-month investigation into an affair between Bezos and former TV host Lauren Sanchez. The Enquirer published its front page splash on Bezos the next day, featuring photographs of Bezos and Sanchez together.
Later, the paper published intimate texts sent from Bezos to Sanchez. According to his blog post, Bezos then mounted an investigation into how the texts leaked, telling his head of security Gavin de Becker to “proceed with whatever budget he needed to pursue the facts in this matter.” Bezos is the richest person in modern history.
On Thursday, Bezos published an extraordinary blog post on Medium, claiming the Enquirer tried to extort him into dropping his investigation by threatening to publish explicit photos of himself and Lauren Sanchez.
He published the written threats he had received from the Enquirer, which included details of the images it has of Bezos, such as him wearing nothing but a white towel.
A former TV anchor and licensed pilot, Sanchez was photographed with Jeff Bezos by the Enquirer. She is currently married but separated from Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell.
According to the emails published in Bezos’ Medium post, the Enquirer threatened to publish photos of Sanchez as well as Bezos. Sanchez has yet to speak out about the story.
David Pecker, CEO of National Enquirer publisher, American Media Inc.
In his Medium post, Jeff Bezos addresses David Pecker directly, entitling it “No thank you, Mr Pecker.” Pecker is the chairman and CEO of American Media Inc (AMI), which owns the National Enquirer.
Bezos played up Pecker’s links to US President Donald Trump in his blog post, referring to its role in the “so-called ‘catch and kill’ process.” This involved the Enquirer buying the story of playmate Karen McDougal, who had an affair with Trump, in order to keep it under wraps.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Pecker’s association with Trump caused him to hit pause on the Enquirer’s first story about Bezos and Sanchez.
Three people familiar with the matter told The Post that the piece was ready to publish in early autumn 2018, but Pecker wanted to wait until after the midterm elections so as not to draw further attention to his links with Trump.
AMI has consistently denied its reporting on Bezos is politically motivated. “American Media emphatically rejects any assertion that its reporting was instigated, dictated or influenced in any manner by external forces, political or otherwise,” it told the Post this week.
Bezos said in his blog post that an “AMI leader” told him Pecker was “apoplectic” about Bezos’ investigation.
US President Donald Trump, friend of Pecker and “enemy” of Bezos
Donald Trump also got a namecheck in Jeff Bezos’ blog post.
Bezos said that Donald Trump “wrongly” thinks of him as an “enemy” due to his ownership of The Washington Post, a paper which Trump often criticises as being bias against his administration.
Bezos said Trump’s animosity was evidenced, “by his many tweets.” It’s true, Trump has tweeted antagonistically about Bezos – at one point praising the Enquirer for its investigation and mocking Bezos for his divorce, giving him the moniker Jeff “Bozo.”
Gavin de Becker, Bezos’ private investigator and friend of 20 years
Gavin de Becker has known Jeff Bezos for 20 years, and is his head of security. Bezos said in his blog post that he hired de Becker to conduct a private investigation into who leaked his texts to the Enquirer.
De Becker went on the record with The Daily Beast about the investigation last week, saying he believed the leak and the investigation were politically motivated, and said he was questioning Lauren Sanchez’s brother.
In the AMI emails Bezos published, the Enquirer demands that both Bezos and de Becker, release public statements, “affirming that they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AM’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
Dylan Howard, AMI’s chief content officer at and the man who threatened Bezos with a “below the belt selfie”
According to the Washington Post, AMI’s chief content officer Dylan Howard first started looking into Bezos and Sanchez’s relationship after he saw a photograph of them on a VIP viewing platform for a rocket launch at Bezos’ company Blue Origin.
Howard was also reportedly furious that Bezos pre-empted the Enquirer’s story on him by tweeting his divorce first.
One of the emails published in Bezos’ blog post is from Howard. In it, Howard describes the photos The Enquirer “obtained,” including a picture of a “‘below the belt selfie.'”
Marty Singer, Gavin de Becker de Becker’s lawyer
Marty Singer has a fearsome reputation as a Hollywood lawyer whose client roster at one point included Bill Cosby. Singer is Gavin de Becker’s attorney, and the conduit to both de Becker and Bezos as evidenced in the published emails.
AMI’s Deputy General Counsel Jon Fine emailed Singer laying out its terms – namely that Bezos and de Becker release statements that the Enquirer’s investigation was not politically motivated in return for the intimate pictures being kept under wraps.
Lauren’s brother, Michael Sanchez.
Michael Sanchez became a part of the story when Gavin de Becker said he’d questioned Sanchez about the leaked texts.
Sanchez has been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, and has links to former Trump campaign figures Carter Page and Roger Stone.
Sanchez denies leaking the texts, and on Tuesday told The Washington Post that he believes de Becker may have been behind the leak in an effort to sabotage Bezos and Lauren Sanchez’s relationship.
- Read more on the Jeff Bezos-National Enquirer saga:
- Here are the six craziest things we learned from Jeff Bezos’ blog post accusing the National Enquirer of ‘extortion and blackmail’
- Read all the emails Jeff Bezos says the National Enquirer sent to ‘blackmail’ him
- These are the main players in the explosive saga of Jeff Bezos’ love life and his war with the National Enquirer
- Jeff Bezos essentially accused the National Enquirer of having a political motive for exposing his affair, and insinuated a Trump connection
- Jeff Bezos annihilated the National Enquirer’s bid to blackmail him, using a playbook perfected by pop stars, Kim Kardashian, and ordinary women
- ‘Now the reality is hitting them, and they’re freaking out’: The National Enquirer’s former LA bureau chief says the tabloid is in over its head with Jeff Bezos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.