Sheryl Sandberg has revealed she was “viciously trolled” after announcing she’d found happiness with another man, five years after the death of her husband.
The Facebook COO recently announced her engagement to Tom Bernthal, who is the CEO and a co-founder of Kelton Global.
They first stepped out as a couple in July 2019 to attend a music festival in Idaho.
Prior to that, Sandberg was in a relationship with Bobby Kotick, the CEO of video game company Activision Blizzard. But they split after three years of dating.
Sandberg, 50, became a widow in 2015 when her first husband, Dave Goldberg, died from a heart attack in a gym during a family holiday.
They had been married for 11 years.
The mother-of-two told The Times her former husband’s family had given “permission” for her to move on.
But members of the public weren’t as supportive and attacked her online for seeing other men.
“I have the data — women get judged much more harshly for dating post-bereavement,” Sandberg told The Times.
“When you have a death, the world doesn’t give you permission to be happy,” she continued.
Sandberg said that, soon after her husband died, her mother-in-law gave her the ‘OK’ to find love again.
“[She said] ‘You are going to get married again and I will dance at your wedding’,” Sandberg said.
“That permission was so important.”
And it was her brother-in-law who helped set them up.
“Rob fixed us up. He was the invisible hand behind it all. Rob talked to us both about what we were looking for and he thought we were a good match, and we got serious very quickly. Tom wasn’t someone I’d met on a dating app, he was someone I knew — we’d been in the same rooms, I knew about his kids. He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met.”
Even her Jewish faith encourages spouses to get on with their lives, with an observed mourning period of just 30 days.
Last month Sandberg announced her engagement to Bernthal, writing on Instagram “Tom Bernthal, you are my everything. I could not love you more”.
In a comment on her Facebook post, Bernthal, 46, wrote: “I love you so much and couldn’t be more excited about spending the rest of our lives together.”
The couple met last year through Tom Goldberg, the brother of Sandberg’s late husband and a close friend of Bernthal, who has three children from a previous marriage.
The former NBC producer proposed to the Lean In author with a ring featuring five tiny diamonds hidden beneath the setting — one for each of their children.