05.21.12

Who Is Priscilla Chan, New Wife of Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg?

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg married his longtime girlfriend Saturday. So who is this woman in the lacy white gown? From her “relationship contract” to her inspiration for becoming a pediatrician, 11 facts about the lucky lady.

Where She’s From

A self-proclaimed “simple creature,” Priscilla Chan was born in the Boston suburb of Braintree, Mass., unaware that 27 years later she become be the wife of one of the world’s youngest billionaires.

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Where She Studied

Chan attended Quincy High School in Massachusetts and graduated as valedictorian in 2003. She went on to Harvard, where she majored in biology and graduated in 2007. It was there where she met Mark Zuckerberg. She was quoted in a 2005 article in The Harvard Crimson, published just after Zuckerberg announced that he would be dropping out of the school indefinitely. “‘Hey Priscilla, do you want a job at the facebook?’ Zuckerberg asked a passing friend. ‘I’d love a job at facebook,’ Priscilla Chan ’07 responded, offering him a Twizzler.” Chan did not end up taking a job at “the facebook,” but it appears they still managed to keep in touch.

How She Met Mark

When Their Relationship Status Changed

As the Rihanna song goes, “We found love in a hopeless place.” And it doesn’t get more hopeless than the basement of a Harvard frat on a Friday night. But that’s exactly where Chan first met Zuckerberg—waiting in line to use the bathroom in the basement of Zuckerberg’s fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi. They struck up a conversation, and the rest is history. She later recalled her first impressions: “He was this nerdy guy who was just a little bit out there. I remember he had these beer glasses that said ‘pound include beer dot H.’ It’s a tag for C++. It’s like college humor but with a nerdy, computer-science appeal.”

In The Social Network, Zuckerberg famously sits unfazed through a disciplinary administrative-board hearing meant to discipline him for creating the site Face Mash, which had Harvard students judge one another’s attractiveness. In real life, a few days after his hearing, Zuckerberg and Chan started officially dating. But the man behind the site’s “relationship status” feature didn’t even make Chan his “Facebook official” girlfriend until 2011—seven years after they got together.

What They Named Their Dog

True to form, Priscilla and Mark’s dog has his very own Facebook page. The mop-haired pup, Beast, is a type of Hungarian sheepdog and frequently posts pictures and insight into his family life. “I live in Palo Alto with Mark and Cilla. I like cuddling and herding things,” says his “About Me.” Beast makes appearances at the Facebook offices too. One caption on a picture of him propped in an office chair, tongue inches away from a computer keyboard, reads, “Recently got a job as an engineer at Facebook.”

Where She’s Worked

Following her graduation from Harvard, Chan worked at the Harker School in San Jose. According to her Facebook profile, she taught fourth and fifth graders science there from August 2007 to June 2008. She describes the job as “hanging out with the little ones and trying to explain how the world works.”

Which Languages She Speaks

Though she studied at sciences at school, Chan has not had trouble learning new languages. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Cantonese. It was also Chan who encouraged Zuckerberg to learn Mandarin. He spent a year studying with a tutor in preparation for a trip the couple took to China. In the end, he did not become fluent, but he at least learned enough to talk to Chan’s grandmother.

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Getty Images (2); AP Photo (2)

What Her ‘Relationship Contract’ Entailed

If you think it might be stressful entering into a serious relationship with the billionaire founder of one of the world’s biggest Internet companies, you are not alone. Apparently, Chan was so concerned about it that before she agreed to move to Palo Atlo to be with Zuckerberg, she held a series of negotiations and wrote strict rules into a contract for Zuckerberg to sign. Most of the contract’s details are secret, but one of the items did leak. The contract stated, “One date per week, a minimum of a hundred minutes of alone time, not in his apartment and definitely not at Facebook.”

How She Inspired Facebook’s Organ Donation

Facebook showed that it could exercise even more influence in May 2012, when the social network announced that its users would now have the option to become organ donors simply by signing up on the site. More than 100,000 people did just that within a day of the announcement. But it turned out that it was Chan, to pediatrician-to-be, who had inspired the effort. Zuckerberg said of his then girlfriend, “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.”

Where She Became a Doctor

After her teaching stint, Chen enrolled at the University of California, San Francisco’s medical school. She’s quoted on the school’s website as being attracted “by the faculty’s honesty and warmth and the curriculum’s interdisciplinary approach. San Francisco’s quirkiness and diversity sealed the deal.” Chen graduated from med school Monday, the same day Zuckerberg turned 28.

How She and Mark Tied the Knot

When 100 guests showed up at Zuckerberg’s backyard Saturday, they were expecting a graduation party for Priscilla. Instead they got a wedding. An anonymous guest told The Associated Press that everyone was “shocked.” Zuckerberg himself designed the ring, which is said to be a simple ruby. Guests ate family style, and the event included food from the couple’s favorite local sushi restaurant. Though Zuckerberg’s company went public just a day before, the nuptials were actually planned around the graduation, not the IPO.