They became what some called the Bill and Melinda Gates of Generation X, but it didn’t last. When Anne Wojcicki and Sergey Brin met in 1998 through his older sister, the two were young and ambitious, sharing similar values and interests.
They started seeing each other soon enough and Sergey went on to found Google with his business partner Larry Page. We all know how that went and now Google is one of the biggest companies in the world.
With that came a lot of money and whilst both Sergey and Anne came from modest backgrounds, it was mostly Sergey who decided to splash about a little bit. Anne had no desire for art or jewellery and didn’t even want Sergey to buy planes or boats. He did anyway.
Anne eventually made a name for herself by founding genetic testing company 23andMe. The company became quite successful, but hit a snag with the FDA last year.
Be that as it may, for the most part Anne’s and Sergey’s relationship was incredibly successful. They became a Silicon Valley power couple and eventually married in 2007. They had two children in subsequent years and were apparently so good together that Anne never would have believed that Sergey might step out on her.
But he did – with Google employee Amanda Rosenberg. There was evidence that the two were seeing each other before Anne and Sergey split up. That must have been especially hard on Anne, because she considered Amanda close enough to buy her a Christmas present the previous Christmas.
By the time the couple formally announced their separation, Sergey had already moved out of their family home a few months earlier.
Apparently Larry Page was furious over the news. Google’s dating policy among employees is not very strict, but this particular situation likely didn’t fall under what might have been imagined.
To make matters worse Amanda had continued to date another high profile Google employee, Hugo Barra. He eventually left for a job for China, but would have to have been quite humiliated by the situation.
Ultimately one wonders, why Sergey left his wife for a younger woman, who he eventually stopped dating anyway. Anne and Sergey were in many ways a perfect match. They had their differences and Anne tried to have a “normalized life” (which is what it’s called in Silicon Valley). She could be difficult as well, but with two young children to look after, the divorce seemed untimely.
Anne didn’t even want a divorce, which is likely one of the reason it took 2.5 years before it was finalized.
It has been speculated that Sergey’s somewhat existential crisis was brought about by the fact that genetic testing by his wife’s company has revealed that he has a genetic mutation that would result in him getting Parkinson’s eventually. Two family members had both developed the condition.
Sergey threw himself into a healthier life style; knowing that he only had so many good years left might have resulted in his desire to live more vigorously.
It may not have been a lack of love for his wife or children that moved him into the affair, but excessive selfishness. That’s understandable, at least to a degree.
Ultimately what’s done is done. Both have since moved on to dating other people and the divorce was finalized in accordance with their prenup; there can be little doubt of that.
The details have not been disclosed, but given Sergey’s net-value of an estimated $30 billion, Anne likely received a fair share and the kids will be looked after. Anne is reasonably wealthy herself, but nowhere near Sergey.
The two now live in houses close to each other, which enables them to co-parent their children. That suggests that they have remained friendly enough, which is all that can be hoped for in the end.