But I digress. Let’s go back to the beginning.
Gotta give the man his kudos. His first wife was a fellow (or rather female) brainiac. Mileva Maric was one of the first women to study both mathematics and physics in Europe, thus the collusion of two mega-brains. Which might lead one to ask, don’t these two geniuses know where babies come from? Apparently not, because Mileva gave birth to a baby girl before they married.
After two sons, this couple lost their chemistry, but Mr. Smarty Pants Al suggested he and the missus stay together for the sake of the children (Way to go, genius). And here’s where it gets ugly—and where I lost respect for my former idol. Mr. E demanded Mileva still remain in the kitchen—a.k.a. drawing up an agreement that demanded she bring him three meals a day, do his laundry and, of course, expect nada in return. The really sad part is that silly Mileva agreed. In the beginning anyway.
Such a union was doomed for a big bang, and Mileva filed for divorce five years later. Our intellectual playboy was not immune to alimony disputes either. The terms of the divorce dictated that Albert deposit his Nobel payment of $21,000 (equivalent to ten times that amount today) in an account for Mileva and the boys. Einstein didn’t comply.
Perhaps the man who understood the secrets of the universe should have had a chat with Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, because Smart Al married his first cousin Elsa in 1919—after an affair that had been going on during the five years his wife was kept barefoot and in the kitchen. And get this: before marrying Elsa, Einstein considered marrying her daughter Ilse instead! Fortunately, the eighteen year old was much smarter than her mamma and had the good sense to not get involved with the theorist. Maybe the union with Elsa was too much kinship, because playboy Al was involved with his secretary Bette within four years. And a series of mistresses followed. It’s enough to make a person say, “I think I’ll write a book.”
How do we know all of this about our love-mad scientist? In 1980 Elsa’s daughter gave 1,400 letters to Hebrew University. I repeat—1,400. All this while lecturing, researching, and publishing papers. Mr. Einstein clearly made no excuses for “not having time to write.”