10 Women Who Stand Behind Their Men’s Fame and Success
Mothers, wives, sisters — they all play a huge role in men’s lives. The most successful people like Elon Musk or Steve Jobs were not shy about broadcasting words of gratitude to the dear women in their lives because, without them, everything would probably be very different.
We at Bright Side are inspired by stories of successful men and the contribution that women have made to their lives.
1. Elon Musk and Maye Musk
Maye Musk is the mother of one of the most successful men of today, Elon Musk. She says that when he was 3, she already knew that he was a genius. The only concern was whether he was going to use his talent to do some extraordinary things: “So that’s why I invested in that at the very beginning.”
At 31, Maye was a single mom of 3 children and her priority was to give them an opportunity to have a good future. She opened her own business and was working full time.
Maye says that she taught her children “to be independent, kind, honest, considerate and polite, and to work hard and do good things.” She didn’t check their homework because it was their responsibility. She never told them what to study: “People often ask me how I have raised such successful kids. I did it by letting them follow their interests.”
And one more thing. Maye didn’t spoil them, so they didn’t have a chance to get used to a luxurious lifestyle. Staying humble was a crucial thing for her.
2. Steve Jobs and Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs was Steve Jobs’ wife until he died in 2011. They met in 1989 when he was giving a lecture at Stanford business school and they exchanged numbers.
Later Jobs opened up about their meeting: “I was in the parking lot, with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, if this was my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman? I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she’d have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we’ve been together ever since.”
Steve Jobs’ lifestyle changed a lot after the birth of his first child. He was very serious and came home every evening. It was a special connection between him and Laurene.
Jobs wrote a love letter to her that shows how important she was for him: “We didn’t know much about each other 20 years ago. We were guided by our intuition, you swept me off my feet. It was snowing when we got married at the Ahwahnee. Years passed, kids came, good times, hard times, but never bad times. Our love and respect have endured and grown.”
3. Mark Zuckerberg and Karen Kempner
Karen Kempner (she is on the right in the picture) is Mark’s mother. She is a psychiatrist who stopped practicing and dedicated herself to taking care of her children and working as her husband’s office manager.
Edward Zuckerberg, Mark’s father, shared in an interview: “My wife was a superwoman. She managed to work and be home.”
Mark confessed that his mom raised him and gave him the tools to succeed: “I want to let the world know that I am proud of my mom no matter what. I want to shout it from the rooftops.”
4. Christiano Ronaldo and Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro
Cristiano Ronaldo was born into a poor family. His mother Maria Dolores was just a cook at a school. Despite hard times, she was never far to her son’s side and still supports him unconditionally everywhere.
Maria has played a crucial role in Ronaldo’s life in achieving success as a famous soccer player. When Ronaldo was 14 years old, she supported his decision to drop out of school and focus only on soccer. Maria believed in him and now he is one of the best players in the world, and she is still someone who can influence his decisions about his career.
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver
Although Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are divorced, they still maintain a good connection and celebrate their birthdays together. And that’s easy to explain. They spent 25 years in a marriage and became soulmates. Arnold credits her for that happiness and support that she gave him: “She’s been terrific and keeping everything together. She is a terrific mother.”
The actor said without any hesitation that Maria was the love of his life and gave advice on how to save such treasure: “Don’t make mistakes.”
6. Keanu Reeves and Patricia Taylor
Keanu Reeves and his mother Patricia Taylor have a special connection. When they appeared on a red carpet in 2020, they totally looked like friends.
She doesn’t appear much in public and stays behind the scenes, but after Keanu gave a thankful speech connected to the John Wick release, it was obvious that she has played a huge role in his success: “I said to her when I was 15 ’Is it OK if I’m an actor?’ She said ’Do whatever you want to do, darling.’ And so it began.”
7. Robert and Susan Downey
Nowadays Susan and Robert Downey are a happily married couple. But actually, they have a huge story with ups and downs. In the beginning, Susan wasn’t interested in Robert: “The main thing I remember about meeting him was thinking how strange he was.”
She is known as the Miracle, who saved Downey from bad habits. One day she was about to give up because she met his Darth Vader side. But Susan decided to stay and be there for him.
Robert also has no explanation for what changed him exactly: “I guess the only way to explain it is that I’ve become more like her. I’m still trying to figure out what happened.”
8. Leonardo DiCaprio and Irmelin Indenbirken
“My mother is a walking miracle,” this is how Leonardo DiCaprio talks about his mom Irmelin Indenbirken. The actor credits her for his successful career and shows up with Irmelin at ceremonies: “I didn’t grow up in a life of privilege. I grew up in a very rough neighborhood in East Los Angeles. This woman drove me 3 hours a day to a different school to show me a different opportunity.”
Irmelin was a single mother who had tough times. She is the daughter of a Russian refugee and emigrated to the U.S. when she was almost a teenager. Leonardo shares: “When you see a picture of my mother, it’s heartbreaking. It brings tears to my eyes, knowing what she’s been through in her life.”
9. Jeff Bezos and Jacklyn Bezos
Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon and one of the world’s richest men. And all this wouldn’t have happened if his mother Jacklyn Bezos wasn’t such a strong woman: “My mom, Jackie, had me when she was a 17-year-old high school student in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Being pregnant in high school was not popular in Albuquerque in 1964. It was difficult for her.”
Jacklyn says she was a terrible typist and couldn’t read her own shorthand. But somebody finally hired her and she got a job that paid $190 per month.
Despite all this suffering, she raised a wonderful son who can now take care of her like a queen.
10. Benedict Cumberbatch and Wanda Ventham
Wanda Ventham is an English actress and the mother of Benedict Cumberbatch. The actor was probably influenced by her life and decided to work in cinematography as well.
From an early age, Benedict saw his mother in the theater and was very much a part of the life of actors. Nowadays we see them together often and Benedict is very happy and feels lucky to have had her support over the years while fulfilling his dream.
Who are the most influential women in your life? How often do you say words of gratitude to your favorite people?