Mark Zuckerberg's surprise wedding: Why now?
The Facebook founder made billions on Friday, then tied the knot on Saturday. Why wait until his company went public to make the big change in his private life?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had quite the momentous week. He turned 28 last Monday, the same day longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. The rest of the week he was gearing up one of the most-anticipated IPOs ever, which on Friday turned Zuckerberg's theoretical Facebook billions into real money — about $19 billion — officially making him one of the world's wealthiest people. And somehow, amid all of this activity, he and Chan managed to secretly plan their wedding, so that when 100 or so guests showed up at the couple's Palo Alto residence for Priscilla's graduation ceremony on Saturday, they were treated to surprise nuptials. After nine years of dating, why choose such a ridiculously bountiful week to get hitched?
The timing makes good financial sense: "Congratulations to the happy couple — no doubt they married for love," says Deborah L. Jacobs at Forbes. But let's not be naive: They almost certainly "spent more time with lawyers and financial planners than with a wedding planner." Under California law, if Zuckerberg had wed Chan before Friday's IPO, half of his Facebook billions would be hers if they got a divorce; now, it's all his. Meanwhile, they both get the tax benefits of marriage.
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They planned this around Chan, not Facebook: The wedding may seem like gilding the lily of an already bountiful week, says Marcus Wohlsen of The Associated Press, but "the seemingly well-coordinated timing was largely a coincidence," according to an unidentified guest "authorized to speak for the couple." Nobody knew when the IPO would happen, so the couple secretly set the date months ago to coincide with Chan's graduation from medical school.
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Let's save the cynicism for Facebook: When I went to Zuckerberg's public Facebook profile, says Chris Matyszczyk at CNET, I saw that he had updated his relationship status, and it was "liked" by hundreds of thousands of "friends." But I also saw ads for car insurance, heart attack prevention, and constipation. If Facebook serves up such inappropriate ads "even on this blissful page," I'm worrying about Facebook, not the newlyweds. "The company has done little to show it actually knows or even understands either its users or the context in which it is shoveling ads."
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