- Jordan Nickerson, 7-Year-Old Cancer Patient Taylor Swift Serenaded, Is in Remission (VIDEO)
- The Best Photos from the Week of Dec. 15- Dec. 21, 2014
- Missing College Student's Keys Found Almost One Month After He Went Missing
- Camila Alves Blogs: My 5 Easy-to-Make Holiday Recipes
- Jackie Chan's Son, Jaycee, Indicted on Drug Charge in China
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Monday December 22, 2014 04:10PM EST
- October 25, 2010
- Vol. 74
- No. 15
Mark Zuckerberg: Boy Wonder
A Hit Movie Casts Him as the Bad Guy, but Pals Say the Facebook Tycoon is All Heart
No kidding. At just 26, Zuckerberg is the tycoon behind Facebook, the social networking website he founded as a Harvard undergrad that's now worth more than $20 billion with 500 million users-1 out of every 13 people on Earth. But being a mogul has a downside. This month The Social Network, the movie version of Zuckerberg's story, hit theaters-and it's hardly a flattering portrayal. As played by Jesse Eisenberg, Zuckerberg creates Facebook to win girls and popularity. Says Eisenberg: "The character is a guy who is desperately trying to fit in."
Zuckerberg has called the film "fiction." Loved ones say he's nothing like the jerk onscreen. He lives a frugal life with college girlfriend Priscilla Chan in Palo Alto, Calif., where they rent a sparse house, shop at Target, and he drives an Acura. Aside from Mandarin lessons and a personal trainer, "Mark is not somebody who has a lot of interest in spending money-to put it mildly," says friend Matt Cohler.
One of four children of Karen, a psychiatrist, and Edward, who still pulls teeth in Dobbs Ferry, Zuckerberg recalls, "My parents worked really hard to make sure me and my sisters could go to good schools." At the elite Phillips Exeter Academy, Zuckerberg was socially "awkward," says a classmate. And a workaholic. On Saturday nights, "he'd be hammering away at the computer or with a math book."
In his sophomore year at Harvard, Zuckerberg launched Facebook. Then things got sticky: In 2004 a trio of former classmates sued him for co-opting their idea. (They settled out of court.) Tyler Winklevoss and his twin brother, Cameron, now 29, were among the three. "The idea that Mark was this genius among geniuses is not true," says Tyler, who shared an early version of a social networking site with Zuckerberg. Still, pals say Zuckerberg was far from Social's calculating drone. Mark "is a lot more emotional than he's portrayed," says Randi. Adds dormmate Rebecca Davis O'Brien: "What's missing from the movie is his fun side."
The other thing friends say is missing from the movie? His heart. Zuckerberg just made a $100 million donation to the struggling public schools of Newark, N.J. Critics slammed the donation as a PR move to counter the film. But Zuckerberg says he just wants other kids to have the same shot at mega-success. How does he see his legacy? He shrugs: "Ask me again in like 20 or 30 years."
- With reporting by Kathy Ehrich Dowd/Newark.
December 22, 2014
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!