to her former husband. She will also give up her interests in the Washington Post newspaper and Mr Bezos’ space travel firm Blue Origin. Amazon is now vast online retail business.

Last year, it generated sales of $232.8bn and it has helped Mr Bezos and his family amass a fortune of $131bn, according to Forbes magazine. Ms Bezos is a successful novelist who has written two books, The Testing of Luther Albright and Traps. She was taught by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison at Princeton University, who once said of her pupil that she was “one of the best students I’ve ever had in my creative-writing classes... really one of the best”.

Mr Bezos is reportedly in a relationship with former Fox TV host Lauren Sánchez. After Mr Bezos and his wife announced in January that they would part, a US tabloid magazine published details, including private messages, of an extramarital affair with Ms Sánchez.

Mr Bezos has accused the publisher of the magazine, American Media Incorporated, of blackmail. The publisher denies the claim. The divorce deal dwarfs a previous $3.8bn record set in 1999 by art dealer Alec Wildenstein and his wife Jocelyn, who became well-known for her cosmetic surgery. Other notable costly divorces.