"I didn’t realize the Wall Street Journal trafficked in warmed-over drivel from supermarket tabloids." That was how a rep for Amazon responded to the Journal when it requested an interview with CEO Jeff Bezos for what would become a piece titled "Jeff Bezos’ Journey From Private Family Man to Tabloid Sensation." The piece does sway into the gossipy realm, exposing a perceived schism in Bezos' life that materialized with Amazon's push into the world of TV and film. Even after becoming a billionaire shortly after Amazon's 1997 IPO, he kept things decidedly unflashy, at least per interviews: He upgraded a Honda Accord for a Volvo in 1999; in 2014 he said he was in charge of the dinner dishes whenever he was home. The full-court press into the entertainment industry came that same year, with the expansion of Amazon Studios into LA.
Bezos is a self-professed movie lover and has become more involved in the Studios' workings, with one source saying he personally emailed JRR Tolkien's estate after securing the rights to turn Lord of the Rings into a TV series for a staggering $250 million. "As Amazon’s interest in entertainment grew, Mr. Bezos’ association with celebrity did, too," writes the Journal, which says he started regularly being snapped by TMZ photographers in 2017. His trips to LA increased, he bought another property in Beverly Hills. He also met Patrick Whitesell, who runs the WME talent agency with Ari Emanuel and has had a heavy hand in careers like that of John Krasinski, who stars in Jack Ryan for Amazon. Sources say Bezos and his wife would occasionally double-date with Whitesell and wife Lauren Sanchez; the two have separated and Bezos and Sanchez are now dating. (Read more Jeff Bezos stories.)