On Saturday, the lifestyle expert turned 78 years old and had some very special guests on hand to help her celebrate.
Stewart’s grandchildren, Jude, 8, and Truman, 7, were right by her side as she prepared to blow out the candles on her glorious birthday cake. The domestic guru shared a sweet snapshot of daughter Alexis’ children on Instagram, offering fans a rare glimpse into her life out of the spotlight.
Who Is Martha Stewart?
Martha Stewart rose to prominence as the author of books on cooking, entertaining and decorating. She then expanded her brand to include a magazine and television program, serving as CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Stewart resigned her post in 2002, following charges of insider trading and was sentenced to five months in prison.
Early Life and Education
Stewart was born Martha Kostyra, on August 3, 1941, in New Jersey. The second of six children, Stewart grew up in Nutley, New Jersey, a working-class community near New York City. She worked as a model from the age of 13, appearing in fashion shows as well as television and print advertisements.
Stewart attended Barnard College in Manhattan, where she earned a degree in European and architectural history in 1962. While at Barnard, she met Andy Stewart, a Yale law student, and the two married in 1961. Six years later, after the birth of their daughter, Alexis, Stewart went to work as a stockbroker for the boutique firm of Monness, Williams, and Sidel. She worked on Wall Street until 1972, when the family moved to Westport, Connecticut.
Growing Her Lifestyle Brand
After the Stewarts restored the 19th-century farmhouse they had bought, Stewart decided to focus her energy on gourmet cooking, having trained herself by reading Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She started a catering business in the late 1970s, and soon became known for her gourmet menus and unique, creative presentation. Within a decade, Martha Stewart, Inc., had grown into a $1 million business serving a number of corporate and celebrity clients.
Stewart expanded into the world of publishing with her first book, Entertaining, which became a bestseller and was followed in quick succession by such publications as Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus, Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres, Martha Stewart’s Christmas and Martha Stewart’s Wedding Planner. Her newfound fame took its toll on her personal life, as her marriage to Andy ended in divorce in 1990, after a bitter three-year separation.
In 1991, Martha Stewart, Inc., became Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., with the release of her magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Stewart’s lifestyle empire soon grew to include two magazines, a checkout-size recipe publication, a popular cable television show, a syndicated newspaper column, a series of how-to books, a radio show, an Internet site and $763 million in annual retail sales.
On October 19, 1999, America’s most famous homemaker returned to Wall Street to see her company through its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. At the end of the day, the price of each of 72 million shares in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. had jumped more than 95 percent and raised almost $130 million. Stewart herself controls 96 percent of the voting shares in her company and is worth $1.2 billion.