It was a second walk down the aisle for both, and when New York Times publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. married investment executive Gabrielle Greene in August 2014, the partnership seemed like a sound one.
She was eight years his junior, sure, but already into her 50s. As a general partner with a top-shelf, bicoastal investment firm who sat on the boards of Whole Foods Market and Stage Stores, and with Arthur already deep into planning for his eventual retirement from his career in journalism and publishing, the partnership made a kind of power-couple, egalitarian sense.
But since we’re writing about it here, it’s fair to note that Arthur and Gabrielle are no longer together after a February 4 divorce filing. While these records are private under New York law, the Post has been able to ascertain that the docket for the suit indicates that the divorce is contested, meaning that whatever prenuptial agreement they went into the marriage with is now somehow in dispute.
Helpfully, the Post gives a run-down of the lawyers the parties have retained for the matter. Sulzberger has hired Adria Hillman, who previously represented Ron Perelman in his uber-intense split from Patricia Duff, as well as the former Mrs. Rudy Giuliani, Donna Hanover, who walked away from her marriage to the philandering mayor some six million dollars richer.
Gabrielle has hired attorneys from the Blank Rose law firm, who’ve been busy lately with another high-dollar divorce, that of art moguls David and Libbie Mugrabi. They’ve been making headlines for a year or more, ever since David allegedly hosted a skinny dipping party and then fought with his now-estranged wife over a Keith Haring sculpture they own.
A lawyer not associated with either party in the Sulzberger-Greene divorce told the Post, “If there’s no kids, the only issue is going to be alimony and distribution of assets. Equitable distribution of assets can get messy.”
Indeed, Arthur Sulzberger didn’t spring to the heights of America’s media pantheon on his own steam alone, and a family fortune certainly changes the stakes in a divorce. On his father’s side, the Sulzbergers, and before them, the Ochs, have held an intimate interest in the New York Times for well over a century.
Arthur’s great-great grandfather, Adolph S. Ochs, was a southern newspaperman who, in the 1880s, purchased a controlling interest in Tennessee’s Chattanooga Times for just $250, becoming its publisher at the age of 19. When he was 38, in 1896, he borrowed $75,000 to purchase The New York Times, a paper that was, at the time, actually failing.
Stiff competition in the New York media market and high pricing for the paper had nearly ruined it. Ochs formed the New York Times Co., moved the paper to a newly built building on Longacre Square (which the city then renamed Times Square), and cut the price from three cents per paper to one cent. By the 1920s, Ochs’s turnaround of the paper was indisputable. The paper’s readership had been just 9,000 when he took it over. Two decades on, nearly 800,000 were reading “All the News That’s Fit to Print” – his enduring contribution to the paper’s masthead.
As for our current Sulzberger, he was born to Och’s grandson Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger and Barbara Winslow. They spent a year in Wisconsin, where Arthur Senior was a cub reporter. A year later, the family was shipped to Paris by the Times to study the fine art of being a foreign correspondent.
Barbara was unhappy with the moves while raising two tiny kids, and was ultimately hospitalized for depression. An affair followed, and when Punch learned of it, it spelled the end of the marriage. They divorced in 1956, when young Arthur was just five.
He dreamed of being a newspaperman from an early age, and as a teenager, he announced to his mother and step father that he wanted to move in with his dad and step mother to follow in his footsteps. He studied at Tufts in the 1970s, which led to several key life events.
First, he met his first wife, Gail Gregg, another journalist, at the end of his time in college, while visiting his mother in Topeka, Kansas. He and Gail were married on May 24, 1975, and set up house in North Carolina, where he was a reporter for the Raleigh Times.
Then they were off to London for two years as an AP correspondent there. He wouldn’t formally join the New York Times until 1978, when he joined the Washington D.C. bureau, and wouldn’t make it home to New York City until 1981, as a metro reporter.
As the boss’s son, his star would always be on the rise, but he worked to earn it. He attended the Harvard Business School’s program for management development in the 1980s, and was active on the business side of the Times.
Meanwhile, he and Gail had two children, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, who is today’s Times publisher, and Annie Sulzberger. Their marriage lasted until 2008, when the relationship, described as “emotionally cool,” came to a quiet end. “We have made the difficult decision to separate after 33 years of marriage,” they disclosed in a brief statement published by the Times. “We are fortunate to have the love and support of our two children, other family members and close friends and colleagues. This is a private matter and we will not discuss it further.”
More or less, they didn’t. When Arthur and Gabrielle walked down the aisle on Martha’s Vineyard that May day in 2014, both likely believed they’d found their co-star for life’s second act, but just a few years later, they’re headed for what could be an ugly divorce.
With the legal firepower the parties have assembled, it seems very likely that this jaunt through divorce court will go very differently for Arthur Sulzberger than his first one did. If your marriage in Queens is ending, an experienced Queens divorce lawyer can make a big difference for you. Call the team at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino today at 718-523-1111 for a free consultation with an experienced divorce and child custody attorney.