Inside billionaire Warren Buffett’s unconventional marriage, which included an open arrangement and 3-way Christmas cards

The

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The “Oracle of Omaha” married his second wife, Astrid, in 2006, but they’ve been together since 1978.
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Scott Olson / Getty Images

  • Warren Buffett married Susan Thompson in 1952.
  • She ultimately left Warren to pursue a singing career, but they remained amicably married until her death in 2004.
  • Susan also introduced her husband to Astrid Menks, who became his companion. Buffett and Menks married in 2006.

Warren Buffett has had a less-than-conventional marriage for much of his life.

While the investment guru remained married to his first wife, Susan, from 1952 till her death in 2004, he lived with Astrid Menks. Menks and Buffett didn’t tie the knot until 2006, two years after Susan died.

But family members said the unusual arrangement worked for all those involved. According to the Daily Mail, the trio would even send out Christmas cards together – signed Warren, Susan, and Astrid.

“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, Susan, goes back to long before they were even born.

Source: Business Insider


Susan’s grandfather once ran a campaign for Republican United States Representative Howard Buffett, Warren’s grandfather. It apparently didn’t go well.

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Congressman Howard Buffett.
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Wikimedia Commons

Source: Business Insider


Their daughter, Susie Buffett, told Business Insider that it was “the only time my grandpa Buffett lost.”

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Paul Morigi / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Before he met Susan, Warren busied himself trying to win the heart of a woman named Betty Gallagher in 1949.

Source: Hear Nebraska


She happened to be dating a ukulele player, so Buffett took up the instrument, too.

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Warren Buffett.
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Matt Schifrin/Youtube

Source: Hear Nebraska


Betty wasn’t swayed.

Source: Hear Nebraska


But Buffett’s hobby — which he continues to showcase at parties and meetings — paid off in the long run.

Source: Hear Nebraska


The next year, Buffett met Susan Thompson.

Source: Hear Nebraska, Washington Post


She was the roommate of Buffett’s sister, Roberta, at Northwestern University.

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Northwestern University.
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Wikimedia Commons

Source: Hear Nebraska, Washington Post


Like Betty, she was also already seeing someone else.

Source: Hear Nebraska, Washington Post


Buffett formed a friendship with her father, Bill, a professor and mandolin player who knew his parents.

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Buffett can play the ukulele.
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Carlo Raso/Flickr

Source: Hear Nebraska


They would jam out together in the Thompson residence, giving Buffett the opportunity to call on Susan.

Source: Hear Nebraska


He continued to visit the Thompsons, even after he left to go to business school at Columbia University.

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Columbia University.
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LENS-68/Shutterstock

Source: Hear Nebraska


Eventually, Buffett’s musical wooing paid off.

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Warren Buffett.
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Paul Morigi/Getty

Source: Hear Nebraska


Susan and Warren were married in 1952.

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Warren Buffett.
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Alex Wong / Getty Images

Source: Hear Nebraska


The couple had three children together. Susie, the eldest, is a philanthropist. Howard, the middle child, is a businessman and politician who was recently sworn in as sheriff of Macon County, Illinois. Peter, the youngest, is a musician.

Source: NBC, Herald and Review


According to a Time article, the couple got along well in many regards, but their relationship was strained by Buffett’s intense work ethic.

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Warren Buffett.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Source: Time


After Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in The Washington Post, publisher Katherine Graham and Buffett struck up a flirtatious relationship.

Source: CNBC


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.

Source: CNBC


The couple began living separately in 1977, when Susan left for California to pursue a singing career.

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Susan Buffett became a singer.
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John Moore/Getty Images

Source: CNBC


Buffett was reportedly devastated by her departure.

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Warren Buffett.
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Scott Olson / Getty Images

Source: CNBC


“It was definitely 95% my fault … I just wasn’t attuned enough to her, and she’d always been perfectly attuned to me,” he said, according to the New York Daily News.

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Warren Buffett.
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Bill Pugliano/Stringer/Getty Images

“She kept me together for a lot of years … It shouldn’t have happened,” Buffett said.

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Warren Buffett.
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Bill Pugliano / Stringer / Getty Images

Buffett’s children worried that their father would not be able to get along without their mother.

Source: Business Insider


“I was concerned about him being able to function in the normal world,” Susie Buffett said.

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Warren Buffett and Susie Buffett.
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Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Then, the following year, Susan introduced her husband to restaurant hostess and Latvian immigrant Astrid Menks.

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Astrid Menks.
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Scott Olson/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


They had become friends when Susan began singing at the restaurant. Astrid quickly moved in and became Buffett’s companion.

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Warren Buffett and Astrid Menks.
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Scott Olson / Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


The three remained close and essentially functioned as a trio.

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Warren Buffett.
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Steve Pope / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Time


“Astrid and my mother were very close — really loved each other,” Susie Buffett told The New York Times.

Source: Time


According to Time, Buffett would often say, “Susie put me together and Astrid keeps me together.”

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Warren Buffett.
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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Source: Time


After a battle with cancer, Susan passed away from a stroke in 2004.

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Susan Buffett.
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Wikimedia Commons

Source: CNBC, CNN


She and Warren were visiting friends in Cody, Wyoming at the time.

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Cody, Wyoming.
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Charles Willgren/Flickr

Source: CNBC, CNN


Buffett and Astrid married in 2006 on his 76th birthday.

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Astrid Menks and Warren Buffett.
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Scott Olson/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


The wedding was a modest event followed by a reception at the Bonefish Grill, a casual seafood chain.

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Bonefish Grill.
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Mike Mozart/Flickr

Source: The New York Times


According to his daughter Susie, Buffett had been thinking about marrying Astrid for some time after his first wife’s death.

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Warren Buffett.
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Steve Pope/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


“He’s been talking about this for a while,” she told The New York Times. “It’s something he wanted to do.”

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Astrid Menks and Warren Buffett.
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Brendan Hoffman / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The New York Times