Astrid Menks is a Latvian-American philanthropist and former cocktail waitress who is married to billionaire business magnate Warren Buffett. After spending a considerable part of her early life in her home country of Latvia, Menks moved to the US in pursuit of the proverbial American dream. In the 1970s, she was working as a waitress at a cocktail bar when she met Buffett for the first time. Incidentally, his first wife, Susan Thompson, had previously resumed her career as a nightclub singer at the same bar. Thompson later decided to move to San Francisco to further her career and told the girls at the club to take care of Buffett. In time, Menks emerged as the most consistent among them. She would bring him soup and within a year, she moved in with him. In the subsequent years, Buffett, Thompson, and Menks shared a complex relationship. He never divorced Thompson but had a relationship with Menks as well. As Buffett became one of the richest men in the world, Thompson took the helm of his charitable foundation. Menks, on the other hand, took care of him at home. In 2004, Thompson passed away. Menks and Buffett married two years later, after spending nearly three decades together.
Childhood & Early Life
Menks was born in 1946 in Latvia. Little is known about her childhood or her family background. She later came to the US and chose Omaha, Nebraska as the place to live in. Menks soon found employment at a local cocktail bar / French Cafe.
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Meeting Buffett & Later years
In the 1970s, Buffett was emerging as a multi-millionaire investor with a golden touch. According to the people who were close to the couple, there were certain contentions between Buffett and his then-wife, Susan Thompson, over his rapid rise to success, which she apparently found to be overbearing. Thompson returned to her long-dormant career as a nightclub singer and began working at the same cocktail bar where Menks worked.
In 1977, after having been married to Buffett for nearly 25 years, Thompson chose to relocate to San Francisco so she could pursue her career as a signer. Before she left Omaha, however, she requested the girls at the bar to look after her husband. She understood Buffett better than most people and knew that he yearned for female companionship. He needed people to take care of him.
Among those girls, Menks soon grew close to him with her caring attitude and bowls of homemade soup. A year later, she started living with him at his white stucco house in Omaha. However, Buffett never divorced Thompson and they continued to see each other; in the ensuing years, they would spend months together and collaborate on various projects.
Menks knew that Buffett was not looking to remarry and apparently was at peace with that decision. She, Buffett, and Thompson shared a loving, if unorthodox, relationship. They would appear at events together, often holding hands. They would even send out Christmas cards signed “Warren, Susie, and Astrid.” While Thompson ran Buffett’s charitable foundation, Menks provided him with a good home.
Thompson died in 2004. Two years later, Buffett and Menks married in a quiet ceremony held at his house. All of Buffett’s children with Thompson, Susan, Howard, and Peter, hold Menks in high regard and that speaks volumes about the relationship they themselves have with her.
She is involved in her own charity works and contributes to the local zoo. Being as frugal as her husband, she is still seen shopping in the thrift shops and not in luxury stores and boutiques.