Warren Buffett started dating his second wife, Astrid Menks, while he was still married to his first wife — and neither of them minded.
The “Oracle of Omaha” spent years in an unconventional marriage until his first wife Susan died in 2004. Family members said the unusual arrangement worked for all those involved. The trio would even send out Christmas cards together — signed Warren, Susan, and Astrid — according to The Daily Mail.
“Unconventional is not a bad thing,” Buffett’s daughter, Susie Buffett, told The New York Times. “More people should have unconventional marriages.”
Here’s a look inside Warren Buffett’s married life.
Buffett’s connection to his first wife goes back long before they were even born.
Susan’s grandfather once ran a campaign for Republican United States Representative Howard Buffett, Warren’s grandfather. It apparently didn’t go well.
Their daughter, Susie Buffett, told Business Insider in 2017 that it was “the only time my grandpa Buffett lost.”
Before he met Susan, Buffett busied himself trying to win the heart of a woman named Betty Gallagher in 1949.
She happened to be dating a ukulele player, so Buffett took up the instrument, too.
Betty wasn’t swayed.
But Buffett’s hobby — which he continues to showcase at parties and meetings — paid off in the long run.
The next year, Buffett met Susan Thompson.
She was the roommate of Buffett’s sister, Roberta, at Northwestern University.
Like Betty, she was also already seeing someone else.
Buffett formed a friendship with her father, Bill, a professor and mandolin player who knew his parents.
They would jam out together in the Thompson residence, giving Buffett the opportunity to call on Susan.
He continued to visit the Thompsons, even after he left to go to business school at Columbia University.
Eventually, Buffett’s musical wooing paid off.
The two were married in 1952.
The couple had three children together. Susie, the eldest, is a philanthropist. Howard, the middle child, is a businessman and former sheriff of Macon County, Illinois. Peter, the youngest, is a musician.
The couple got along well in many regards, but their relationship was strained by Buffett’s intense work ethic, Time reported.
After Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in The Washington Post, publisher Katherine Graham and Buffett struck up a flirtatious relationship, with Susan Buffett’s permission.
They would reportedly jaunt off to Martha’s Vineyard together, and Graham even had a habit of throwing her keys to the investor during charity events and parties. Susan was reportedly furious and began an affair with a tennis instructor.
The Buffetts began living separately in 1977, when Susan left for California to pursue a singing career.
Buffett was reportedly devastated by her departure.
“It was definitely 95% my fault … I just wasn’t attuned enough to her, and she’d always been perfectly attuned to me,” Buffett said.
“She kept me together for a lot of years … It shouldn’t have happened,” Buffett said.
Buffett’s children worried that their father would not be able to get along without their mother.
“I was concerned about him being able to function in the normal world,” Susie Buffett said.
Then, the following year, Susan introduced her husband to restaurant hostess and Latvian immigrant Astrid Menks.
They had become friends when Susan began singing at the restaurant. Astrid quickly moved in and became Buffett’s companion.
The three remained close and essentially functioned as a trio.
“Astrid and my mother were very close — really loved each other,” Susie Buffett told The New York Times.
Buffett would often say, “Susie put me together and Astrid keeps me together.”
After a battle with cancer, Susan passed away from a stroke in 2004. She and Buffett were visiting friends in Cody, Wyoming, at the time.
Buffett and Astrid got married in a five-person ceremony at Buffett’s daughter Susie’s house in 2006 on his 76th birthday.
The wedding was a modest event followed by a reception at upscale seafood chain restaurant Bonefish Grill in Omaha, Nebraska.
According to his daughter Susie, Buffett had been thinking about marrying Astrid for some time after his first wife’s death. “He’s been talking about this for a while,” she told The New York Times. “It’s something he wanted to do.”
“Who you marry, which is the ultimate partnership, is enormously important in determining the happiness in your life and your success and I was lucky in that respect,” Buffett once said.
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Source Business Insider