Google co-founder Sergey Brin, 48, files for DIVORCE from his lawyer wife


Google co-founder Sergey Brin has filed for divorce from his wife of four years, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ in court papers, which also reveal that the pair have been separated since December.

The world’s seventh richest man, who is worth $93 billion, secretly filed for divorce from lawyer and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan back in January, according to Insider, which reports that papers submitted by the billionaire businessman state that details of the couple’s assets and how they will be split ‘are to be determined’. 

The 48-year-old cited ‘irreconcilable differences’ as the reason for the split, while noting that he and Shanahan, whom he secretly wed in November 2018, have been separated since December 15. 

Their divorce news comes just days after it was revealed that Brin had purchased a new home – a sprawling $13.5 million Malibu mansion once owned by popstar Pink. 

Brin and Shanahan, 37, share a daughter, who was born in 2018, and the Google founder has asked to share custody of her as part of the divorce arrangements, which they are fighting to keep private out of fear that their daughter will be put at risk of ‘harassment’ or ‘kidnapping’.  

However he has not asked Shanahan for child support and has requested that she do not receive any from him in the future.

According to Insider, Brin and Shanahan are intent on keeping the details of their divorce hidden from the public, with the outlet reporting that they are fighting to keep many details of the legal proceedings sealed, citing the tech mogul’s status as ‘one of the wealthiest and most famous technology entrepreneurs in the world’ as being behind the need for privacy. 

Google co-founder Sergey Brin – who has a net worth of $93 billion and is the seventh richest man in the world – has filed for divorce from wife Nicole Shanahan (seen in 2018)

Brin, 48, is understood to have quietly filed divorce papers in January, citing 'irreconcilable differences' and revealing that the couple have been separated since December 2021

Brin, 48, is understood to have quietly filed divorce papers in January, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ and revealing that the couple have been separated since December 2021

The documents add that the couple fear for the safety of their daughter, who they claim could be put at risk of ‘kidnapping’ or ‘harassment’ if details of their divorce and custody battle are made public.  

‘Petitioner is a co-founder of Google and one of the wealthiest and most famous technology entrepreneurs in the world,’ the outlet states the papers – which were filed by Brin’s layers – say. ‘Because of the high-profile nature of their relationship, there is likely to be significant public interest in their dissolution and child custody issues.

‘Of great concern is that such publicity puts their minor child at risk of danger, harassment, and even kidnapping, if the specifics of their day-to-day whereabouts are exposed to the public.’ 

The couple are shelling out for a private judge to oversee their divorce in a bid to keep the details closely guarded, with Insider reporting that they are paying $950 an hour to employ the judge, as well as an additional $300 an hour for the judge’s assistant. 

While costly, the use of a private judge can also help speed up divorce proceedings, which can take months, if not years, when handled by the public court system. 

The arrangement is one that Brin is well-versed in; the Stanford-educated tech mogul also employed a private judge for his first divorce from entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki, with whom he shares two children, in 2015. 

Brin and Wojcick split two years before their divorce was finalized, when she discovered illicit email exchanges between Brin and a young Google employee named Amanda Rosenberg, 

According to Vanity Fair, Brin moved out of the $7 million Los Altos home he once shared with Wojcicki – who founded the DNA testing company 23AndMe – and their two children, daughter Chloe and son Benji – after starting a relationship with Rosenberg in 2013. 

The magazine reported that the ‘twenty-something’ Google staffer was something of a ‘public persona’ within the company thanks to her involvement in the launch of the disastrous Google Glass project. She was also said to have been a ‘friend’ of Wojcicki before beginning a relationship with the entrepreneur’s husband. 

Brin and Shanahan, who began dating in 2015, made their public debut as a couple at the 2016 Met Gala, when they walked the red carpet together (pictured)

Brin and Shanahan, who began dating in 2015, made their public debut as a couple at the 2016 Met Gala, when they walked the red carpet together (pictured) 

News of Brin's split from Shanahan comes days after it was reported that the couple purchased a $13.5 million Malibu mansion (pictured) - which was once owned by Pink - back in September 2020

News of Brin’s split from Shanahan comes days after it was reported that the couple purchased a $13.5 million Malibu mansion (pictured) – which was once owned by Pink – back in September 2020

The couple has yet to 'determine' what assets they share and how they will be split, and it is unclear who will maintain ownership of the sprawling property

The couple has yet to 'determine' what assets they share and how they will be split, and it is unclear who will maintain ownership of the sprawling property

The couple has yet to ‘determine’ what assets they share and how they will be split, and it is unclear who will maintain ownership of the sprawling property

Most of the details of the former couple’s divorce remain under wraps and the Google co-founder is no doubt hoping that this will also be the case in his second marriage split. 

The tech mogul began dating Shanahan in 2015 soon after his first divorce was finalized, and they secretly tied the knot on November 7, 2018, only revealing the news of their nuptials to the world in October the following year. 

Brin and Shanahan went public with their relationship in 2016, when they made a glamorous debut as a couple at the Met Gala, appearing on the red carpet alongside the Google co-founder’s ex wife Wojcicki and her then-boyfriend Alex Rodriguez. 

The tech baron is being represented by law firm Hanson, Crawford, Crum Family Law Group, LLP in his second divorce, while Shanahan has enlisted the services of two law firms: Spector Law Firm, APLC and Meyer, Olson, Lowy & Meyers, LLP.

Despite the secrecy surrounding the couple’s split, there is no question that Brin’s divorce will be among the most expensive in the world given his expansive personal wealth. He will join several other billionaire tech entrepreneurs on the list, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. 

When Bezos split from his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott in 2019, he had to hand over $38 billion to her, quickly rocketing her to 22nd richest person in the world, while Gates is understood to have split his $130 billion fortune with his ex-wife Melinda when they finalized their divorce in August 2021. 

It is currently unclear which assets Brin and Shanahan will be divvying up during their divorce proceedings – however property will likely play a key role in the arrangement. 

In fact, news of their divorce comes just days after it was reported that the couple had purchased a $13.5 million Malibu mansion, which was once owned by chart-topper Pink, back in September 2020. 

According to Dirt, Brin – who has also owned homes in Los Altos, California, and in New York – purchased the property from French investment banker Matthieu Pigasse, who bought it from Pink for $12.5 million in 2016, before flipping the property and putting it back on the market.  

Brin's split from Shanahan marks his second divorce and comes seven years after his first marriage to entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki (seen in 2014) ended

Brin’s split from Shanahan marks his second divorce and comes seven years after his first marriage to entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki (seen in 2014) ended

The former couple (seen in 2012), who share two children together, hired a private judge to handle their divorce - a tactic that Brin has employed once again for his split from Shanahan

The former couple (seen in 2012), who share two children together, hired a private judge to handle their divorce – a tactic that Brin has employed once again for his split from Shanahan

He is understood to have sold his New York penthouse in 2020 – 12 years after he purchased it for the relatively low sum of $8 million. 

According to a listing on Zillow, Brin made a hefty profit on the Greenwich Village property, selling the three-bedroom, four-bathroom property for $12 million, two months after he is said to have snapped up Pink’s former home. 

News of Brin’s second divorce comes two and a half years after he and his Google co-founder Larry Page announced that they were stepping down from their roles as CEO and President of the website’s parent company, Alphabet. 

Page and Brin started the search engine giant in 1998 three years after they met as students at Stanford University, and it went on to become one of the biggest tech companies in the world, earning the former college pals billions and skyrocketing them to the forefront of Silicon Valley’s elite. 

However Shanahan also boasts her own prior business success; she was a well established Silicon Valley player before she met her soon-to-be ex-husband, having founded the patent management and valuation company ClearAccessIP in 2013.

The following year she was also named a Code X fellow at The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics.

Shanahan was a Asian Studies major at the University of Puget Sound, and after graduating attended law school at Santa Clara University

She also studied international trade at the National University of Singapore post-law school, and attended the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies just before enrolling at SCU.

In 2018, Shanahan and Brin founded the Buck Institute’s Center for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality, after going through their own infertility struggles. Both Brin and Shanahan invested in the project, which was aimed at researching how to prevent aging women from becoming infertile. 

Shanahan was told by doctors at age 29 that she had a low number of active ovarian oocytes and would unlikely be able to conceive naturally, prompting her to try IVF, which failed. 

You’re in good company! As multi-billionaire Sergey Brin announces his second divorce, a look at the world’s OTHER most expensive splits 

1. MacKenize Bezos ($36 BILLION)

The ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was rewarded for her decades of loyalty with a settlement that gave her 25 per cent of the couple’s Amazon stock. Far less then the 50 per cent she is legally entitled too, but far more than any other spouse has received in a divorce. As a result, she became the 22nd richest person in the world. The novelist was married to Bezos for 26 years, and by his side when he launched Amazon from their garage.

2. Melinda Gates (share of $130 BILLION) 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates finalized his divorce from Melinda in August 2021, just three months after they announced they were splitting. The ex-couple, who were married for 27 years, did not have a prenup and instead divided their assets based on a separation contract with undisclosed terms. The settlement between Gates, whose net worth was then estimated at more than $130billion, and his ex Melinda could well have left her with over $65billion. 

3. Jocelyn Wildenstein ($2.5 BILLION)

The Swiss-born socialite was the cat that got the milk in the years after her art dealer husband Alec paid out their record settlement. She then managed to squander that money thanks in large part to her love for cosmetic procedures and her affinity for domesticating rare animals. Last May, Wildenstein filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection according to federal court papers which were obtained by DailyMail.com. It was a shocking turn of events for Wildenstein, who first became a fixture in the New York press around the time of her split as she bragged about the high costs of her lavish lifestyle and penchant for plastic surgery.Two decades later, the woman who once purchased a capuchin monkey as a pet finds herself with no checking or savings accounts, no retirement fund or pension plans and no investments according to her filing. 

4. Anna Murdoch ($1.7 BILLION)

The woman who was by Murdoch’s side as he rose to the top of the media world received a small portion of his fortune after their 1999 divorce. It was a shocking split to their children Elizabeth, Lachlan and James, especially when it was learned that their father had been having an affair with soon-to-be-fourth wife Wendi Deng. That all came to a head at Lachlan’s wedding to wife Sarah, with Anna informing her estranged husband that his new wife was not to attend the nuptials. Deng and Murdoch married almost immediately after he finalised his divorce from his second wife.

5. Slavica Ecclestone ($1.2 BILLION)

The Croatian model split from her business magnate beau after 23 years of marriage in 2009, and walked off with a sizable chunk of the Formula One chief’s fortune. That union lasted longer than many initially imagined it would in account of the couple’s difference in age (28 years) and height (Slavica is a foot taller than Bernie). Slavica also spoke no English, while Bernie only spoke English. The couple welcomed two daughters during their marriage, Tamara and Petra, who have also made waves with some of the biog purchases they have made with their father’s money. Petra notably bought the former residence of Aaron and Candy Spelling in Beverly Hills, which for a time was the largest private home in the United States. In the wake of that split, Bernie married a younger and shorter woman.

6. Elaine Wynn ($1 BILLION)

Elaine Wynn helped her husband Steve build his empire, and she was sure to take some of it with her when she left. Her role in the company has been vital ever since, and on Thursday she was in Massachusetts testifying about her split and why she failed to disclose a settlement her husband made with a woman who accused him of sexual assault.

7. Sue Ann Arnall ($974.8 BILLION)

The wife of Harold Hamm was pushed out of the top five with the addition of Bezos, but still made her mark thanks to her ex-husband paying out his entire settlement in one single check. Arnall had appealed that ruling but lost because she had cashed the check. In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled in favor of a motion filed by Hamm, chief executive officer of oil company Continental Resources Inc, to dismiss Arnall’s appeal. Earlier that month, Arnall had cashed Hamm’s check for $975 million, the vast majority of the lower court’s award in the case.The majority of the justices said Arnall also took possession of the marital property awarded to her. Those actions, the court ruled, caused her to forfeit her right to appeal the judgment. 

How Larry Page and Sergey Brin went from college kids in a rented garage to Silicone Valley royalty

When Sergey Brin first met Larry Page at Stanford University in 1995, it was hardly love at first sight.

Brin, then a second-year grad student, was giving a tour of the campus to prospective students, Page among them.

The pair spent the time arguing incessantly, and told Wired that their first impression of each-other was as ‘obnoxious’ personalities.

Page and Brin pictured in 2004, the same year Google's IPO made them billionaires

Page and Brin pictured in 2004, the same year Google’s IPO made them billionaires

‘Obviously we spent a lot of time talking to each other, so there was something there. We had a kind of bantering thing going,’ Brin said.

Page showed up at Stanford a few months later to study human-computer interaction, reconnected with Brin, and the pair soon began working on a search engine from their door room.

The breakthrough moment came when they hit upon the idea of ranking search results by how many other pages linked to them, crowd-sourcing other web users’ own confidence in the pages to inform their own.

Brin earned his Masters from Stanford the same year, but went on leave from the doctoral program to concentrate on the search engine.

In 1998, the pair founded Google – a misspelling of planned name googol – from a garage they renting for $1,700 a month off Anne Wojcicki – one of Google’s first employees who later married Brin and founded site 23andMe.

They initially raised around $1million in funding from family and friends, among others, before receiving another $25million in 1999.

Page worked as Google CEO until he handed over the reins to Eric Schmidt in 2001, though remained close to the company, while Brin’s job title was president of technology.

Sergey Brin (left), Larry Page (centre) and Eric Schmidt (right), then CEO of Google, pictured together at a conference in 2010

Sergey Brin (left), Larry Page (centre) and Eric Schmidt (right), then CEO of Google, pictured together at a conference in 2010 

Google went public in 2004 with an IPO that valued it at $23billion.

In 2011 a management reshuffle saw Page take back his old role as Google CEO, while Brin stepped down as president of technology, becoming director of special projects.

With the creation of Alphabet in 2015, Page and Brin moved positions to become CEO and President of the parent company, respectively.

On Tuesday they announced their departure from Alphabet, but will remain heavily invested in the company with shares though to be worth $100billion between them.

The pair will also retain 51 per cent of voting shares, meaning they still hold power at the company, if not a public position. 



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