Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg finally got married at the age of 28 last weekend. Since then, we have been hearing a lot about his wife, Priscilla Chan. So who is this lucky woman, in a white in Zuckerberg’s wedding images, who came out of the blue and became the wife of the youngest billionaire in the world?
Apparently, Chan didn’t come out of the ‘blue’. Rather, it’s us that have been in the dark. Chan was actually Zuckerberg’s girlfriend for the past 9 years! But the couple kept their relationship private from their fans. In fact, Zuckerberg didn’t announce his relationship status until 2011, eight years after the beginning of this relationship. Nor did he announce the wedding to anyone. This accounts for the confusion among his fans regarding the new bride.
Who is Priscilla Chan?
Priscilla Chan is a Chinese-American who was born in the Boston suburb of Braintree, Massachusetts. According to herself, she is a “simple creature” who loves “cooking and soft stuff”. She loves children and is herself a pediatrition. Chan, or should I say Dr. Chan, has been Mark Zuckerberg’s sweetheart since 2003, almost a decade now. Although she majored in sciences, she can fluently speak English, Spanish, and Cantonese, her native tongue.
Chan attended Quincy High School in Massachusetts, from where she graduated in 2003. In 2003, she got admitted to Harvard, one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. Mark Zuckerberg happened to be there as well, although in different majors. Zuckerberg was majoring in Computer Science, while Chan was studying Biology. Not a match you’d normally expect to see, especially not in an under-grad college. The two met in her freshman year.
Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in 2004 to work on Facebook. But Chan stayed on, and graduated in 2007. According to her Facebook profile, she started working at the Harker School in San Jose, as a 5th and 6th grade science teacher. It was her desire to become a pediatrition, so she decided to warm herself up and understand children before taking it on as her field. She worked as a teacher for an year, and she describes the experience as “hanging out with the little ones and trying to explain how the world works.”
After teaching, she enrolled in University of California, San Francisco college of medicine in 2008. She graduated four years later in May 2012, the same day as mark Zuckerberg turned 28. This was the same week the couple got married.
How she met Mark Zuckerberg
This is quite an interesting story, actually. The two reportedly met in Zuckerberg’s fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi’s basement, during a party waiting in line to use the bathroom. There, they got to talking, and eventually became friends. Chan recalls here first impression of Zuckerberg as a “nerdy guy who was just a little bit out there.” She also recalls him drinking beer off glasses that said “pound include beer dot H,” a C++ statement with computer-science appeal.
Zuckerberg officially started dating her after his disciplinary board meeting for his involvement in creating “Face Mash”, a website comparing girls on the campus. The two eventually got married 9 years after meeting each other. And although much was expected from the world’s youngest multi-billionaire, the wedding was quite plain, with fewer than 100 family and friends invited. The guests were under the impression that they were going to attend Chan’s graduation. Instead, they were shocked when the couple broke the news about their wedding.
Her involvement in Facebook
During an on-campus recruitment drive for Facebook in 2005, Zuckerberg is quoted to have said “Hey Priscilla, do you want a job at the Facebook?” To which she replied, “I’d love a job at Facebook.” Although she never worked for Facebook as such, she has had some in the company. She has been with Zuckerberg during the struggles, and understands what it took for the company to rise such great heights. She has helped out Zuckerberg and gave him advice on many things, most notable of which is the organ donation program.
Facebook’s Organ Donation
In May 2012, Facebook introduced an organ donation program, in which people could sign up and donate organs. Since Facebook is the world’s largest sharing website, around a 100,000 people signed up for the program on the very first day. And it helped out many people who were in need or organs such as kidneys, etc. All thanks to Chan, who was the inspiration behind this project. On this occasion, Zuckerberg said about her; “Our dinner conversations are often about Facebook and kids, and the kids that she’s meeting. She’ll see them getting sicker, then, all of a sudden, an organ becomes available, and she comes home and her face is all lit up because someone’s life is going to be better because of this”
Some on-going controversies
Ever since the wedding, many controversies have popped up regarding the couple. These aren’t so much of debated topics as they are talked-about topics.
The relationship “contract”
Yep, that’s right! There was a relationship contract Zuckerberg had to sign in order to date Priscilla. Odd, isn’t it? The very foundation of such a relationship is trust. But Chan needed more than just spoken words. Why? No one’s sure. But if you put yourself in her boots, you will begin to realize the difficulty of her situation. Her boyfriend owns one of the largest Internet companies in the world. That means he is a very busy man. He has to travel to places, and meet other people, other women in particular. Obviously, she might feel a little uncomfortable around a man of such influence. She’d want to safeguard her own rights. Which is why she made Zuckerberg sign a contract prior to their relationship.
The contents of this relationship are unknown, but one of the points has leaked out. It says “One date per week, a minimum of a hundred minutes of alone time, not in his apartment and definitely not at Facebook.” This says a lot about Chan’s calculating mind. And don’t be surprised if you learn about some “marriage terms” that the two signed upon. After all, Zuckerberg is a billionaire all by himself, since Facebook’s IPO was before the wedding. Hence, Chan will get no share of his $20 billion, should the couple (god forbid) end in divorce.
The wedding ring
Although I talked about this in detail in yesterday’s post, here’s what you need to know. The wedding ring given to Priscilla by Mark was a ruby ring, as compared to the traditional, more expensive diamond rings. Experts estimate the ring’s worth at around $25,000 to $50,000, which is kind of a let down, considering the vast amount of wealth Zuckerberg enjoys.
But when two people love each other, none of that matters. A ruby, after all, is a symbol of love and wisdom in many Asian cultures, especially the one from where Priscilla belong. The couple has been together for nine years. It wouldn’t have lasted that long had they been as selfish as they appear to be. As they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. What’s underneath the cover is two people in love, who are not unlike each other. Both have similar hobbies, both are vegetarians, and both love dogs. In fact, they have collectively raised a Hungarian sheepdog, which they named beast. He even has his own Facebook page, which Chan loves to decorate with his pictures.
In the end, we’d like to wish the newly-wed couple a very happy lifetime together. May God bless them 🙂