By Áine Cain/Business Insider
November 2, 2017

For much of his life, investment guru Warren Buffett has had a less-than-conventional marriage.

While he 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.

Warren Buffett (L), chairman and CEO of [f500link]Berkshire Hathaway[/f500link], arrives with his wife Susan at the White House 05 February for a state dinner in honor of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.
CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images

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

Warren Buffett speaking during a employee meeting at Benjamin Moore Paints in Montvale, N.J.
Gabe Palacio—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. She happened to be dating a ukulele player, so Buffett took up the instrument too.

Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Source: Hear Nebraska


Betty wasn’t swayed. But Buffett’s hobby — which he continues to showcase at parties and meetings — paid off in the long run.

Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Source: Hear Nebraska


The next year, Buffett met Susan Thompson. She was the room mate of Buffett’s sister, Roberta, at Northwestern University. Like Betty, she was also already seeing someone else.

Prospective students are led on a tour at Northwestern University's main campus.
Chicago Tribune—MCT via Getty Images

Source: Hear Nebraska, Washington Post


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.

Lee Balterman—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Source: Hear Nebraska


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. Susan and Warren were married in 1952.

Nati Harnik—AP

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.

Warren Buffett (C) poses for a picture with his children Peter Buffett and Susie Buffett.
Bennett Raglin—WireImage

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.

Warren Buffett in his Berkshire Hathaway office in Omaha, Nebraska. He has been known to read six national and local newspapers a day, TIME magazine reported in its July 6, 2015, issue.
Clair Popkin—Courtesy of HBO

Source: Time


After Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in The Washington Post, publisher Katherine Graham and Buffett struck up a flirtatious relationship — which included jaunts to Martha’s Vineyard and Graham throwing her keys to the investor during parties. Susan was reportedly furious and began an affair with a tennis instructor.

Nati Harnik—AP

Source: CNBC


The couple began living separately in 1977, when Susan left for California to pursue a singing career. Buffett was reportedly devastated by her departure.

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, attends the company's annual shareholders' meeting with his daughter (left) and his wife, both named Susan.
mark peterson—Corbis via 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. “She kept me together for a lot of years … It shouldn’t have happened.”

Warren Buffet
Chris Goodney—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Source: The New York Daily News


Buffett’s children worried that their father would be able to get along without their mother. “I was concerned about him being able to function in the normal world,” Susie Buffett said.

Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., left, listens as his son Howard Buffett, president of Buffett Farms Inc., speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. Warren Buffett and his late first wife, Susan, gave and pledged billions to each of their three children to fund charitable foundations. Howard, an Illinois farmer, picked global hunger as his target. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


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.

Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


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

Scott Olson—Getty Images

Source: Time


After a battle with cancer, Susan passed away from a stroke in 2004. She and Warren were visiting friends in Cody, Wyoming at the time.

Warren Buffett attends the company's annual shareholders' meeting with his daughter (left) and his wife, both named Susan.
mark peterson—Corbis via Getty Images

Source: CNBC, CNN


Buffett and Astrid married in 2006, on his 76th birthday. The wedding was a modest event followed by a reception at the Bonefish Grill, a casual seafood chain.

Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

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

Courtesy of HBO

Source: The New York Times

This article originally appeared in Business Insider.

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