Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos are divorcing after 25 years of marriage, the couple announced in a joint statement on Twitter.
Mr and Mrs Bezos first met while working together at a New York hedge fund in the early 1990s and have been together since as Amazon's valuation briefly swelled beyond $1 trillion last year, raising the prospect that a settlement could make her the world's richest woman.
With a personal stake in Amazon estimated to be worth $160bn (£125bn), Mr Bezos, 54, is the world’s wealthiest man. Although the separation is amicable, their separation is likely to prove to be a highly lucrative one for an army of lawyers and advisers.
The couple married in 1993, one year before Mr Bezos started Amazon from his garage in Seattle.
As well as his shareholding in Amazon, Bezos owns a string of other investments as well as homes in Seattle, Washington DC, Beverly Hills, New York and a Gulfstream jet.
Their divorce settlement is likely to be the most expensive in history and may reshape the global wealth rankings.
If the pair file for divorce in Washington, the state where the pair were married and Amazon is headquartered, half of Mr Bezos' wealth could go to his wife under the state's community property law unless there is a pre-nuptial agreement in place.
If the couple split their fortune equally, it could leave Mrs Bezos with around $69 billion. It could also reinstate Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the world’s richest person.
“After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” Mr Bezos wrote in a post on Twitter.
In an interview with Wired in 1999, Mr Bezos described his search for his ideal mate. Calling himself a "professional dater", he devised a system to filter potential partners.
"The number-one criterion was that I wanted a woman who could get me out of a Third World prison", he told the website. "What I really wanted was someone resourceful. But nobody knows what you mean what you mean when you say, 'I'm looking for a resourceful woman'."
MacKenzie Bezos, 48, is a novelist who grew up in San Francisco and founder of anti-bullying organisation Bystander Revolution in 2014.
The former couple met in the early 1990s when they both worked for investment management firm D.E. Shaw. They were engaged after three months of working together and married three months after that.
Mrs Bezos was one of Amazon’s earliest employees and became an accountant for the business when it started as an online book retailer. They have four children together.
The news of the divorce comes two days after Amazon became the world’s most valuable company, overtaking Microsoft’s valuation.
Amazon currently has a market cap of $811.2bn, with analysts speculating that it could reach the trillion-dollar milestone.
Last year the couple launched a $2 billion charitable fund together, called the Day One Fund. Their joint statement released on Mr Bezos' twitter account yesterday suggests they will continue to work on the project together .
"Thought the labels might be different, we remain a family, and we remain cherished friends".