Disney CEO Bob Iger's Wife Willow Bay Helped Convince Him to Return as CEO

Bob Iger said that his wife also discouraged him from trying to run for president in 2020 after leaving Disney.


Mar. 6 2024, Published 3:31 p.m. ET

Bob Iger and Willow Bay at the 2023 Met Gala.
Source: Getty Images

When Bob Iger first retired as the CEO of Disney, many noted that he had presided over one of the most successful tenures in the company's history. He had brought Marvel into Disney and transformed it into a behemoth, and had done the same with Star Wars.

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Bob Iger's departure led to trouble for the company, though — so much so that he returned the the job in 2022. As he's continued to work as the company's CEO, many have wanted to learn a little more about Bob's personal life. Among the things they're most curious about is his relationship with his wife, Willow Bay.

Bob Iger and Willow Bay at the 2023 Academy Awards.
Source: Getty Images
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Who is Bob Iger's wife?

Bob Iger's wife is Willow Bay, who was born in New York City in 1963 as Kristine Carlin Bay. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate education and went on to earn an MBA from NYU. She spent her career working as a television journalist and model, and she now works as the dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

When she worked as a journalist, she appeared on Today, MSNBC, Good Morning America, and CNN. She was also an editor with The Huffington Post, and prior to that journalism career, she worked as a spokesperson for Estée Lauder cosmetics from 1983 to 1989.

She married Bob in 1995 in Bridgehampton, N.Y., a year after his divorce from his previous wife.

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Does Bob Iger have any kids?

Willow and Bob share two children: Robert Maxwell "Max," who was born in 1998, and William, who was born in 2002. He also has two children from his previous marriage, Kate and Amanda.

Bob has just been married twice over the course of his life, and it seems like his marriage to Willow might stick. The two have been together for almost 30 years now, and she was instrumental in his decision to return to Disney.

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Willow encouraged Bob to return to Disney.

Although Bob retired in 2020 as an insanely wealthy man, he returned to the CEO role two years later, in large part because the company was floundering.

“She said you ran the company for over 15 years, you were at the company for almost 50 years — you kind of owe it to the company,” Bob said of Willow. “If the board wants you back because they obviously don't feel they have an alternative, at least not at that moment, then you owe it to them to say yes.”

“I realized as I heard her words she was absolutely right,” Bob continued.

Clearly, then, Bob returned to his role as CEO in part out of a feeling of obligation to a company that had given him so much over the course of his career. Of course, Disney was also enormously successful during Bob's tenure as CEO, which is exactly the reason they wanted him back. As for how long he'll be the CEO this time around, that still remains to be seen.

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