Astrid Menks is a Latvian-American philanthropist and former cocktail waitress, known for her marriage to billionaire business magnate Warren Buffett.
She spent a significant portion of her early life in her native country of Latvia before relocating to the United States in pursuit of the American dream. Born in January 1946, she is currently 77 years old as of 2023. She is 16 years younger than her billionaire husband, Warren.
Meeting Husband, Warren Buffett Through His First Wife
Astrid Menks and Warren Buffett first crossed paths in the mid-1970s when Warren's first wife, Susan, took on a job as a nightclub singer at the French Café in Omaha, where Astrid worked as a waitress. The café offered a faux-French menu, featuring dishes like "le surf and turf."
During this time, Warren's ex-wife Susan decided to separate from him in 1977 after being married for 25 years. She moved to San Francisco to pursue her own career, and some reports suggest that the increasing attention Warren was receiving played a role in their separation. Despite the separation, Warren and Susan maintained a close relationship and continued to spend time together, both socially and professionally.
Even after their separation, Susan asked friends in Omaha to keep an eye on Warren, which included Astrid Menks. Astrid discreetly started delivering homemade soup to Warren and eventually moved in with him a year later. Susan, who later passed away, introduced Astrid to Warren, expressing her appreciation for Astrid's care and companionship. Speaking about Astrid, Susan remarked, "He appreciates it, and I appreciate it. She's a wonderful person."
Not A Lavish Wedding Ceremony
Astrid, the Latvian-American woman, and Warren Buffett had a simple and intimate wedding ceremony that lasted only 15 minutes. The ceremony was officiated by Judge Patricia Lamberty, and the only witnesses present were Buffett's daughter and Astrid's sister. The event was kept low-key, with no paparazzi in attendance, which aligns with Buffett's preference for avoiding glamour.
Their wedding took place in August 2006, coinciding with Buffett's 76th birthday. The ceremony was held at Buffett's white stucco house in Omaha, a city located in the prairie region. Even after their marriage, Astrid and Warren continue to reside in the same home that Buffett purchased for $31,500 back in 1958.
Despite Warren's billionaire status, their wedding was notably frugal. Buffett reportedly wore an everyday business suit, and the wedding ring was purchased at a discount through his own company. The reception consisted of a meal at the Bonefish Grill, a seafood chain with locations throughout the United States.
Decade-Long Marital Journey
In August 2019, Astrid and Warren celebrated their thirteenth year of marriage. However, it is likely that they marked the occasion in a simple and unostentatious manner. They are not known for extravagant celebrations or expensive gestures. Instead, they may have chosen to spend a quiet evening at home or have a modest dinner at a casual restaurant.
Astrid and Warren do not seek out lavish experiences or extravagant gifts for every special occasion. Their happiness lies in their companionship and the love they share, rather than in material possessions. While some billionaires' wives may expect luxurious presents like diamonds or extravagant trips on their anniversaries, Astrid and Warren find contentment in each other's presence.
Astrid, the wife of the third wealthiest man, defies the typical expectations associated with such a position. She is not a socialite or a jet-setter, but rather someone who took a more unconventional path before meeting Warren Buffett.
Astrid worked as a waitress when she encountered Warren and his former wife, Susan, at The French Cafe, a cocktail bar in Omaha, Nebraska. Susan, who was also friendly with the staff at the cafe, used to sing there.
Astrid's background as a waitress and her connection to Susan through their work at The French Cafe eventually led to her meeting Warren. Their initial meeting and subsequent relationship highlight the unexpected ways in which life can bring people together, even in seemingly ordinary circumstances.
Astrid Menks is Step-Mother To Three
During Warren Buffett's marriage to his first wife, Susan Thompson, the couple had three children together: Susan Alice Buffett, Howard Graham Buffett, and Peter Buffett.
However, it is worth noting that Peter Buffett became a stepfather to twin girls, Erica and Nicole, after marrying their mother, Mary Buffett. In 2006, Nicole, one of the twins, appeared in a documentary called "The One Percent" by Jamie Johnson, which focused on wealthy individuals.
In the documentary, Nicole made a comment suggesting that money appeared to be important to her step-grandfather, Warren Buffett. This remark offended Buffett, leading him to sever his personal and financial ties with Nicole and her twin sister Erica, who did not appear in the film.
In a statement, Warren Buffett clarified that he had not legally or emotionally adopted Nicole and Erica as his grandchildren, nor had the rest of his family formally embraced them as nieces or cousins. This incident caused a rift in their relationship, resulting in a separation between Buffett and the twins.