Warren Buffet is most well known for his fortune and advice to others on building wealth. Not a lot of people know much about his personal life. Astrid Menks is his second wife, but they lived together for years while he remained married to his first wife. That’s not even the most interesting thing about Astrid. Whether you’re a fan of her husband, or you know a bit about the elusive and fascinating Astrid Menks herself, you’ll enjoy learning twenty things you didn’t know about her.
1. She Was a Waitress
The wife of the third wealthiest man is not the person you might expect. She isn’t a socialite or a jet-setter. In fact, Astrid moved around a bit before she landed in the job where she met Warren. Astrid was a waitress when she met Warren and his former wife, Susan. Specifically, she worked at The French Cafe cocktail bar in Omaha, Nebraska. Buffet’s wife Susie sang at the French Cafe and was friendly with the staff who worked there.
2. Not the Love Triangle You Expected
By all appearances, Astrid and Warren’s first wife Susie were either the best of friends or also in love. While Warren Buffet remained married to his wife, she often lived far away while pursuing her own career and interests. She was not only aware of his connection with Astrid but also clearly approved. The women had been seen together in public on many occasions, sometimes even holding hands. Though we don’t care to speculate in any disrespectful way, it’s obvious the women were close, and they may have had a more than friendly bond.
3. Forty Year Engagement
According to most sources, Astrid and Warren lived together happily for three or four decades before they married. Susie passed away in 2004, and the other Buffett couple married in 2006, a respectful two years after Susie’s death. When it comes to patience, Astrid certainly had plenty to spare.
Astrid is originally from Latvia, which is a small country on the Baltic sea right between Lithuania and Estonia. If you’re still not sure where that is, somewhere near Russia would be a fair answer for the geographically disinclined. The country is known for its beaches, forests and beautiful art nouveau architecture in the large city of Riga.
Like so many other Americans, Astrid is an immigrant. While it’s not likely that she dreamed of working as a waitress, it certainly seems she found her path to an American dream. Not every woman from a small country can move here and end up married to one of the most wealthy men on earth, but it does happen.
6. The Way to a Man’s Heart
There is an old cliche about the way to a man’s heart. They say it is through his stomach, which means that you can cook your way into love. That’s probably not true for any but the most diehard foodies. However, as odd as it may seem, soup was a part of Astrid and Warren’s early courtship. She would take him soup and bring it to his home. We don’t know what kind of soup she made, but we’d love to have the recipe.
Some multi-billionaires throw themselves insanely opulent extravaganzas for their birthdays. That’s certainly one way to party. Instead of celebrating himself, for his 76th birthday, Warren married his longtime companion Astrid. The pair got married on August 30th, 2006 for Warrens 76th birthday. Perhaps the only gift you can give a man with everything is love. We certainly like to think so.
8. Wedded Bliss
Just like those famously massive birthday parties, many of the wealthy throw insanely expensive festivities for their wedding. We’ve reported on weddings where the dress alone cost over a million dollars. It may surprise you to know that Warren and Astrid did no such thing. Instead, they opted for a very cozy and private ceremony where they exchanged vows in front of a few friends and his children.
9. What About The Children?
You might suppose that Mr. buffet’s children had a problem with Astrid moving into their home and spending so much time around their father. However, all evidence points to the opposite. Howard, Peter, and Susan Alice all appear to enjoy and appreciate their stepmother. There has never been any public indication of problems with regard to Astrid’s integration with the family.
10. Marching Orders
You might say that Astrid and Warren met by design. Susan’s design. When she decided to go off and pursue her musical interests, Susan specifically told the staff (her friends) at the French Cafe to take good care of Warren. She didn’t want him to be alone so she could have a career. Though their relationship was far from traditional, there seems to be a lot of love between Susan and Warren.
11. Billionaire Caretaker
Astrid began her relationship with Warren by doing exactly what his wife had told her to do. She took care of him. Often Astrid would bring him food and go check in on him. Whether there was more to it in the early years is not known, and we have no basis for speculating one way or another. What was undoubtedly true is that she cared for him.
12. Christmas Cards
Many men would have tried to hide the fact that they were happy with two women. Warren Buffet was never one of those, or perhaps Susie and Astrid would have none of it. In fact, the Christmas cards sent out from the Buffet home were often signed from Warren, Susie, and Astrid. The trio clearly had no trouble working together. They showed their pride in the unorthodox arrangement by never hiding it, but neither did they particularly seek to flaunt it.
13. Never a “Homebreaker”
There is a lot of stigma for women who “break up” marriages. Astrid knew from the beginning that Warren was never looking to replace or remove Susie from his life, nor from their children. The two were happy. They just weren’t quite like other couples. After 25 years together, Susie welcomed Astrid into their lives. Astrid, it seems, was always okay with the idea that she wasn’t going to be Warrens wife on paper, even though she fulfilled many of the same functions.
It may surprise you to learn that Astrid and Warren still shop at thrift stores. Money is not the source of their happiness despite having an abundance of it. One of the traits they share is a certain thriftiness. Rather than spending like there’s no tomorrow, Warren enjoys a McDonald’s burger and cherry coke rather than eating every meal in some lavish setting. The home they live in, in Omaha, was only worth around $31,000 when he purchased it and they’ve never moved. This is one ‘power couple’ that refuses to live like the world is their oyster. Warren has even pledged to spend the majority of his fortune on charity when he passes away.
15. Animal Lover
Among her other interests, Astrid is known for her charitable contributions to the local Zoo. It’s hard to fault a woman who loves animals and shops at Goodwill. We can only imagine that Astrid has a huge heart and is far more invested in the well-being of others, whether they are billionaires or ostriches than she is in being known as a wealthy wife. Astrid, along with her husband, has helped to donate millions to the zoo. She’s also contributed to and helped organize charities that were once Susan’s before she passed away.
16. You Can Ask…
Some things about Astrid are simply not public information. You won’t find information about much of her career, and you certainly won’t find a listing of her net worth anywhere. It’s entirely possible that Astrid is the wealthiest woman on earth who may technically have nothing. If she has savings or any other money, none of the usual places to discover someone’s net worth is sharing her info.
17. She Helped Create a Billionaire
Warren made the money that made the billions. The billions are the reason anyone cares who the Buffets are. However, if you ask Warren, the people who made his life are his mother, who gave it to him, and his two wives Susie and Astrid. He credits both women with shaping him into the man he is today. So whether or not she holds a huge bank account, Astrid helped make billions in her own way.
18. Astrid Saved Warren
Susie, Warrens daughter (named for his wife), credits Astrid with basically saving him. While she never came right out and said it, the implication was there. When her mother left to pursue her own interests after two and a half decades, Susie was upset. She says it wasn’t because her mother wanted to be happy doing her own thing, but instead that her father needed her mother so he could function. Astrid was the one who came in and filled that role, and Susie was happy to see someone could. She’s said she doesn’t think it would work for everyone but is glad that it worked out for her parents.
19. Thirteen Years of Marriage
In August of 2019, Astrid and Warren celebrate their thirteenth year of marriage. What will they do to mark the occasion? Probably noting crazy or expensive. In all likelihood, they’ll spend a quiet evening at home, or go out for supper somewhere not-too-fancy. They aren’t the type to need caviar and champagne for every special occasion. Some billionaires wives expect diamonds and yacht trips for an anniversary, but Astrid and Warren are happy with each other. In our book, that means Warren Buffet is the wealthiest man on earth even if he doesn’t (quite) have the highest net worth.
20. She’s so Low Key
Astrid is not one of those women who want to be famous. As far as we can tell, she doesn’t care how much her husband has or makes, no does she care how he spends his money. As a philanthropist, she has a minor reputation, mostly because she doesn’t make a big deal out of the vast sums she gives to worthy causes. You won’t find pictures of Astrid in on your grocery magazine rack, or a website for her online. She keeps to herself, has never been part of a scandal, nor has she been to rehab. She’s never been to court for mistreating staff or for any sort of traffic violations like many rich women have. In fact, she’s almost boring. Only her extraordinary heart and patience marks Astrid out from the crowd. She is the sort of woman you want for a friend because you just know she’d always be there if you need her.
Finding information on Astrid Menks was incredibly tricky. It doesn’t seem like she’s necessarily hiding anything, it’s just that she doesn’t care for fame or any of its trappings. We don’t think she cares about wealth either. It seems that the love of her life and her motivation is merely caring, for Warren, his children, and the various charities she supports. What a lovely person to write about, we are happy to report that Astrid seems perfectly nice.
Astrid Menks is one of the more unusual people we’ve ever written about, and that is certainly saying something. She is living proof that an immigrant girl from a small country can come to America and end up married to one of the wealthiest men on earth. That’s the Hollywood version of a fairy tale to be sure. More importantly, Astrid and Warren are living proof that a couple, at any age, with any amount of money, can find real love with each other. Some things are certainly worth waiting for, and Astrid waited most of her life to be Warren’s wife, but she didn’t have to wait alone, she had him the whole time.