Any lawyer worth their salt will insist that clients stay far away from social media during a divorce. Clearly, Jeff Bezos didn't take that advice.
At the beginning of the year, the outspoken Amazon founder took to Twitter to announce to his 975,000 followers that he would be splitting from his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie.
"We want to make people aware of a development in our lives," he wrote as part of a joint statement with his ex-wife.
"After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," the statement read.
Bezos' single tweet, racking up almost 40,000 "likes", left him in complete control of what should have been a personal relations crisis.
MacKenzie sent her own tweet, which received 28,000 likes. "Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff with support from each other and everyone who reached out to us in kindness, and looking forward to next phase as co-parents and friends."
The divorce, due to be finalised this week, will be the most expensive split in history. MacKenzie is set to receive 25pc of the couple's Amazon stock, or a 4pc stake in the company, which will amount to around $38 billion.
'He got ahead of the story'
"It was perfect," says a high profile New York celebrity crisis communications consultant, who spoke on the promise of anonymity.
While they recommend their clients stay away from social media in this case, "he handled it well...he knows the media, he owns a paper. He knows his audience - his customers are of a certain generation." But most importantly, they add, "he got ahead of the story".
The reason behind Bezos' uncharacteristic transparency or rather, "the story", swiftly became apparent. By the morning, the 55-year-old's face was splashed across new-stands across the world, accompanied by: "Bezos' divorce: The cheating photos that ended his marriage."
According to the National Enquirer, which had spent four months following the Amazon founder, Bezos had been sneaking around with married TV host Lauren Sanchez in a whirlwind of "text sex and wild romps" on his $65m private jet.
By any other standards, Bezos would have been lambasted in the press, seemingly betraying his loyal wife, and the mother to his four children as she, a novelist, watched him turn his e-book startup into a retail empire.
But by perfectly crafting his online interaction with the media and communicating with digital-savvy Amazon customers, he just manage to save his reputation.
Once the initial Enquirer story came out, Bezos, worth around $150bn, let the dust settle for some weeks before selecting another online outlet to publish a tell-all blog post.
In the now legendary Medium essay, he accused the Enquirer of blackmail and revealed that the tabloid was in possession of a number of deeply embarrassing pictures, including a "below the belt selfie" in which his wedding ring, and something else of significant importance could be seen.
The bold move saw him branded him a public relations "hero" among the industry, even though he had skipped the classic public relations route.
"He couldn't have been more transparent," Stu Zakim, president of Bridge Strategic Communications and former spokesperson for American Media Inc, which owns the Enquirer told PR Week, a publication for those working in the public relations industry. "He doesn't like being in the spotlight. But if the richest man in the world couldn't stand up to people like that, who can?"
Bezos claimed that AMI threatened to publish sexually graphic photographs that he sent to Sanchez so he retaliated by letting the world know first, "despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten".
Notably, Bezos did not use the newspaper he owns, the Washington Post, to sling mud.
Many would expect nothing less from the founder of a retail giant who began building his empire in the dot com boom.
"I didn't know anything about the newspaper business. But I did know something about the internet," he said in an interview in 2013, when he bought The Washington Post for $250m. Five years on and he has masterfully manipulated not just the internet, but his presence on it.
Take Bezos' Instagram account. With diverse followers like Wendi Murdoch, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, he has catered for all tastes and used the outlet to create a personal connection with fans, investors and shareholders.
A selfie with his father on father's day; Amazon headquarters flying the rainbow flag for Pride. A dramatic zoom on a video of him wearing a hardhat and smashing a champagne bottle on a wind turbines in an Amazon wind farm, an initiative to offset the huge amounts of energy consumed by his cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services. His posts hit all the right notes.
No input, just output
It is telling that Bezos does not follow anyone on Instagram. On Twitter, he only follows his wife. Mackenzie, similarly, has no interest in reading what anyone else is up to on Twitter. These accounts are purely to benefit his investments in Amazon, Blue Origin and the Washington Post.
Unlike Elon Musk, Bezos is highly professional on Twitter. Well connected, Bezos managed to ensure Mackenzie was given a verified Twitter account even though the company has suspended blue ticks for several months.
The silent partner
More-so in Silicon Valley than in high profile Hollywood divorces, splitting couples act more similarly to departing employees from technology companies, who have signed non-disparagement agreements.
Their grace is impressive, almost hard to believe. Perhaps it is because no mother wants to see shares, her children's livelihoods, descend upon a malicious 280 character statement. Indeed, when the divorce was first announced Amazon's share price took a dip, but recovered soon after.
This new form of Silicon Valley, social media friendly divorce will forge a mould for future splits. But it comes with a caveat: sending personal messages on a public platform means anyone is entitled to write back. Of the 42,000 followers Mackenzie has picked up since posting her single tweet in April, a number of suitors are already eager to prove their worth to the former Mrs Bezos.
- Telegraph Media Group