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Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott files for divorce

MacKenzie Scott. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

MacKenzie Scott, a billionaire philanthropist who has donated vast sums of her wealth in recent years, has filed for divorce from her second husband, a science teacher whom she married in 2021.

The petition was filed in King County, Wash., on Monday, 18 months after Scott and Dan Jewett announced their marriage. The filing requests that the couple’s property be divided according to a separation contract, the details of which were not included in the petition. Jewett and his lawyer also signed the filing, which was first reported by the New York Times.

In 2019, Scott and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (who owns The Washington Post) ended their 25-year marriage, with Scott being awarded about 4 percent of Amazon, a cut worth roughly $36 billion at the time. Since then, Scott has been donating her fortune at an astonishing rate — an estimated $12 billion to more than 1,200 groups in three years, the Times reported in March.

Most recently, Scott donated $15 million to the Health Forward Foundation and $20 million to the Episcopal Health Foundation, the organizations announced Tuesday. Earlier this month, Scott donated two Beverly Hills homes worth a combined $55 million to the California Community Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charitable organization.

Jeff Bezos, in divorce settlement, retains 75 percent of the Amazon stock he held with Scott

Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index estimates Scott’s net worth at $28.9 billion, making her the 39th-richest person on that list.

Scott’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the divorce filing. Through a legal assistant, Jewett’s lawyer declined to comment.

The couple’s marriage was made public in March 2021, when Jewett — then a science teacher at Seattle’s Lakeside School, where Scott’s children have attended classes — posted a letter to Scott’s profile on the Giving Pledge. Philanthropists make pledges through the organization to donate most of their wealth during their lifetimes or after they die.

In the letter, Jewett wrote that he had been a teacher for most of his life and learned from “the generosity of those around me.”

“And now, in a stroke of happy coincidence, I am married to one of the most generous and kind people I know — and joining her in a commitment to pass on an enormous financial wealth to serve others,” he wrote.

That letter now is missing from the site, as is Jewett’s name. A photo of him and Scott posing together has also been replaced by a photo of only Scott. Scott’s Amazon author page, where her two novels are featured, no longer mentions “her husband, Dan,” as the Times reported. And Jewett’s name has been edited out of a June 2021 Medium post in which Scott discussed her donations, as the Times noted.

It’s unclear what, if anything, the divorce filing means for the Giving Pledge commitment. The organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Wednesday.

The divorce petition notes that Scott and Jewett were married in California, and they both live in King County, which includes Seattle.

Praveena Somasundaram contributed to this report.

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