Inside the marriage of billionaire Spanx founder Sara Blakely and entrepreneur Jesse Itzler, who met at a poker game and slow dance to make up after fights

Evan Agostini/AP ImagesThe couple now have four kids.

• Spanx founder Sara Blakely and Marquis Jets founder Jesse Itzler first met at a charity poker tournament in 2006.

• Itzler set up an elaborate scavenger hunt when it came time to propose to his now-wife.

• Today, they have four children and chronicle their family’s adventures on social media.

When Sara Blakely arrived at the 2006 Net Jet Annual Las Vegas Poker Tournament, she didn’t know much about poker.

Still, one of her sales representatives wrangled her a seat at the main table with Jesse Itzler. He was the cofounder of private jet company Marquis Jets, which was later acquired by Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets in 2010, Reuters reported. Blakely was a customer of his – she had a major phobia of heights and the New Yorker reported she figured “she could order the pilot to land” if she panicked while leasing a flight.

As it turned out, he didn’t know much about poker either.

The pair bonded over their lack of knowledge of the game, and a friendship blossomed, according to Atlanta Weddings.

Blakely continued to hold Itzler’s attention when she announced she was heading to bed early. “Who goes to bed at 9:30 at night in Vegas?” he told “That intrigued me. And she loved to laugh, and that intrigued me, too.”

Today, Blakely and Itzler have four children and co-own the Atlanta Hawks basketball team with several other individuals, reported. Blakely is worth $S1.59 billion, according to Forbes.

Here’s a look at their nine-year marriage:

After they first met, Blakely and Itzler emailed back and forth for about seven months. Ultimately, they began to date. Atlanta Weddings reported Itzler would often tell Blakely, “I could marry you,” and she would respond, “Bring it.”

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Source:,Atlanta Weddings,Sara Blakely Foundation

After a year, Itzler kicked off his proposal outside their New York City residence with a gold band engraved with the words “BRING IT!!” In an ensuing scavenger hunt, Blakely collected seven hidden presents —  including three more rings, one engraved with “Jesse Hearts Sara” —  in their apartment

Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Source:,Atlanta Weddings, Sara Blakely Foundation

The couple tied the knot in 2008 at Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca Grande, Florida. Itzler’s father officiated the ceremony, 450 guests attended the festivities, and Blakely wore her grandmother’s restored 1918 wedding gown.

Sara Blakely/Facebook

Source:,Atlanta Weddings,The Gasparilla Inn and Club

Olivia Newton-John was also on hand to serenade the newlyweds with a rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” “The eight-year-old in me is still flipping out that she was at my wedding,” Blakely told Atlanta Weddings.

Source:,Atlanta Weddings, The Gasparilla Inn and Club

In the early years of their marriage, the couple travelled quite a lot. Itzler was mostly based in New York City, while Blakely ran Spanx in Atlanta. The couple told Marie Claire they typically didn’t talk about work together. “We’re older now and have other things we’re interested in,” Blakely said.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Source: Marie Claire

“As long as she gets seven hours of sleep and has her Starbucks in hand when the sun comes up, life is good,” Itzler told Marie Claire, discussing his wife’s schedule. In the interview with the magazine, Itzler said he trusted his wife to take the reins when it came to their finances —  purchasing a new Lexus or putting their La Jolla, California property up for sale without telling him.

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Source:,Marie Claire

Itzler is known for trying out different adventures, from going off to live with monks for two weeks to inviting a Navy SEAL to move in and train him. He’s written about his adventures in “Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet” and the upcoming “Living with the Monks.” He included a note to his wife in the dedication of the former: “To my wife, who continues to teach me about unwavering support and love. Plus, she has the patience to put up with me.”

Source: New York Post, “Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet,” “Living with the Monks

Blakely wrote about the “opposites attract” nature of their relationship in a Facebook post. “He eats fruit until noon, I don’t. He likes old school rap, I like old school 70s & 80s. He’s a New Yorker, I grew up on Clearwater Beach, Fl. He can run 100 miles, I can run 1. I live to eat, he eats just to live. When we disagree, we Rock Paper Scissors , and if we get really mad at each other we have a rule that we stop and slow dance. 4 kids later.”

Source: Facebook

They do have one thing in common, though. “We respect that each of us moves at a fast pace,” Blakley told Marie Claire. “That might bother some, but we get it.”

Source: Marie Claire

Blakely and Itzler now have four young children. The couple frequently documents their family adventures on social media, from adventures with the four little ones…

Source: Facebook, Instagram

… to trying on group Halloween costumes…

… to artistic escapades at family dinner time.

Source: Facebook

Blakely previously told Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback about a parenting strategy she’s passed down from her father. He often encouraged her and her brother to look on the bright side of failure. “Failure for me became not trying, versus the outcome,” she said.

Source: Business Insider

“One of the parenting things I think is so important is not praising the child, but praising the effort,” Blakely told Business Insider.

Source: Business Insider

Itzer has described his wife as “the Michael Jordan of women’s underwear.” “She’s just the most amazing person, and I’m so lucky to have a front-row seat in her life,” Itzer told


In a post wishing her husband a happy anniversary, Blakely wrote, “4 kids, lots of laughs, 9 years, and still climbing … Happy to be on this journey with you @the100mileman. You make everything more colourful and fun. And thank you for thinking ambition in a woman is sexy! Your support both at work and at home has meant the [world] to me. [Love] u. #TruePartnership #JustLoveHim #9yrs #Anniversary #MarriedLife #TwoEntrepreneurs #OneFamily #5KidsUnder50.”

Source: Facebook

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