A new investigative report claims that Lauren Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, exposed his sister’s alleged affair with Jeff Bezos to the National Enquirer for a payment of $200,000.
UPDATE (3/30/2020, 1:51pm ET): Michael Sanchez filed a defamation lawsuit on March 27, 2020 against the National Enquirer and its parent company, American Media, denying that he told the publication about his sister, Lauren Sanchez‘s relationship with Jeff Bezos. Michael also denied that he gave the National Enquirer nude or revealing photos of his sister and Jeff Bezos, according to our sister site, Variety.
American Media said in a statement to Variety, “The filing by Mr. Sanchez is his latest attempt to ignore the truth and rewrite history. The fact, as we have maintained throughout, is that Mr. Sanchez sold the National Enquirer the story about his sister’s secret affair and was the sole source for its reporting. His frivolous lawsuit underscores what his true motivation is, his own greed.”
UPDATE (3/19/2019): HollywoodLife reached out to American Media, which declined to comment on The Wall Street Journal’s report that claimed the National Enquirer allegedly paid Lauren Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, $200,000 to obtain Jeff Bezos’ texts to Lauren. American Media is the parent company of the National Enquirer.
ORIGINAL STORY: The National Enquirer leaked Amazon CEO’s Jeff Bezos’ racy texts and photos to helicopter pilot Lauren Sanchez on Jan. 10, and people “familiar with the matter” have told The Wall Street Journal that it was Lauren’s own brother, talent agent and Trump supporter Michael Sanchez, who allegedly provided the texts to the tabloid. The Daily Beast, the Associated Press, and even Jeff’s security chief, Gavin de Becker, had already named Michael as the possible source in reports Feb. 2019, but on March 18, a new Wall Street Journal piece put the price tag on the alleged deal at $200,000 and explained how Sanchez struck up a deal with the supermarket publication. HollywoodLife has reached out to reps for Jeff Bezos, Lauren Sanchez, Michael Sanchez and AMI for comment.
Michael, a reported conservative and Donald Trump sympathizer, has “long been a source for the Enquirer and its top editor, Dylan Howard,” according to WSJ’s sources. (Trump is also a critic of The Washington Post, which Bezos owns.) The WSJ’s insiders claim that Lauren’s brother began speaking with the National Enquirer in the fall of 2018. At that time, Bezos, 55, was still married to his wife Mackenzie, 48, of 25 years, mother of the couples 4 children. Sanchez, 49, was married to entertainment and sports world powerhouse Patrick Whitesell, 54, executive chairman of the of the talent agency William Morris Endevour Entertainment. At the same time, the Enquirer allegedly began investigating Lauren Sanchez & Jeff Bezo’s relationship, trailing then to restaurants and hotels, and photographing them together, according to the WSJ report. Still, David Pecker, the chief executive of American Media (which owns National Enquirer), was at first hesitant about running the story out of fear that Jeff would sue, says the report.
Nevertheless, despite with his concerns, the WSJ‘s insiders claim Pecker approved the $200,000 deal between the National Enquirer and Michael Sanchez, which the Wall Street Journal claims was negotiated by “American Media’s chief content officer, Dylan Howard; its general counsel for media, Cameron Stracher; and others.” If true, this pay-off was “higher” than what the outlet’s sources normally received, according to the report. Sanchez allegedly entered into a contract with American Media in Oct. 26, 2018, and was paid the $200,000 upfront.
However, Lauren’s brother Michael has already denied leaking the pair’s texts and intimate photos exchanged by the couple, including one’s of Jeff’s genitalia. “I had nothing to do with [the] leak of the dick pics. That’s the important thing…I never had access. It’s clear they were sent to others. There are, like, 20 dick pics. Lauren likely shared them with multiple girlfriends, not in a malicious way,” he told Vanity Fair in an interview published on Feb. 14. Lauren’s brother wasn’t as straightforward when asked about the romantic messages linked to Jeff: “I’m not saying I didn’t do something…Until I go under oath, what I can tell you now is that ever since April 20, when I met Jeff, my only goal has been to protect Jeff and Lauren.”
Bezos confirmed that the “intimate texts” belonged to him and accused the National Enquirer of attempting to blackmail him on Feb. 7, 2019. “Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten,” he wrote in a lengthy blog post on Medium which drew praise from across the Internet. This followed the announcement that he and wife Mackenzie made jointly on Twitter on Jan. 9, that after a ‘long separation’, the couple would be divorcing.