Mark Zuckerberg pretended he was getting kicked out of Harvard – How Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos made the first move to woo their future wives – Bernard Arnault nervously played the piano

Billionaires who found time for love too – Bill with Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg with Priscilla Chan, and Jeff Bezos with MacKenzie Scott: Photo: @thisisbillgates, @zuck/Instagram, @SunSentinel/Twitter

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Billion-dollar businesses to run and endless meetings to attend – the world’s wealthiest might always seem to have a lot on their plate. But as any billionaire will tell you, money won’t keep loneliness at bay, and even the most cloistered individuals have to let down their guard and find time to park their commitments when it comes to looking for someone to spend the rest of their lives with.

So perhaps it’s not so surprising that the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have fascinating meet-cute stories to tell about their equally accomplished wives. Let’s take a look at how some of these uber-richest billionaires crossed paths with their better halves.

Via Instagram / @melindafrenchgates

Bill and Melinda Gates (1994 – present)
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates met his wife Melinda French at a business dinner soon after she was hired as the company’s product manager in 1987. Gates eventually tried to make a play for her – only she turned him down! Apparently, Melinda thought he wasn’t “spontaneous enough”. He then called an hour later and asked if that was spontaneous enough. Fast forward to 1994, and the philanthropic couple secretly wed in Hawaii, going on to have three kids.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Photo: AP

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (2012 – present)
As if straight out of a romcom, Mark and Priscilla ran into each other in line for the restroom in 2003. They were at a party hosted by his fraternity at Harvard University. The Facebook CEO made his move by saying he was going to be kicked out soon. Mark did not get expelled, but he did score a date with the future paediatrician! After Priscilla finished med school in 2012, they privately tied the knot in their backyard. This power couple has since had two daughters.

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Jeff Bezos and then-wife MacKenzie Scott arrive at the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: AP

Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott (1993 – 2019)
Like the Gateses, Jeff and MacKenzie came across one another at work. Their offices at the New York hedge fund D.E. Shaw were next to each other. The critically acclaimed novelist was captivated by his laughter, calling it “love at first listen”. Jeff and MacKenzie got married in 1993 and moved to Seattle the following year, starting Amazon from their garage. After 25 years together, they ended their marriage amicably in 2019. The couple share four children.

Elon and Justine Musk (2000 – 2008)
The often eccentric CEO of Tesla and SpaceX met his first wife while they were both attending Queen’s University in Canada. He invited Justine out for ice cream upon laying eyes on her in their dorm. When the future author chose to stay in and study instead, Elon surprised her with “two chocolate-chip ice cream cones”. Their whirlwind romance led them to the altar in 2000 and they went on to have a set of twins and a set of triplets together. When they divorced in 2008, she chose to keep his last name.

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Via Instagram / @backstagebombshell

Bernard Arnault and Hélène Mercier (1991 – present)
In 1989, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault got his second chance in love at a dinner party. He chanced upon Hélène Mercier, who is a renowned concert pianist. Not long after, Bernard tried to woo her by playing classical works on the piano. She realised that the French billionaire was serious about her because he was visibly nervous, according to accounts. Since marrying in 1991, the two are often spotted side-by-side at international fashion events. Bernard has two kids with his first wife, Anne Dewavrin, and three more with Hélène.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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First published in 1903, the South China Morning Post is Hong Kong’s premier English language newspaper, providing news 24/7, in-depth and quick scan reads, informative infographics, critical analysis, community discussions plus access to the most comprehensive news archive in Hong Kong. Over the decades it has built an enviable reputation for authoritative, influential and independent reporting on Hong Kong, China and the rest of Asia.