'You will leave my bedroom.' The list of demands Albert Einstein imposed on his first wife.

Albert Einstein has long been a celebrated figure in history, lauded for his academic achievements, specifically his Theory of Relativity.

But history has conveniently ignored a troubling fact about the German-born physicist – he was something of a misogynist, who imposed a series of downright offensive and controlling demands on his first wife, Mileva Maric.

Einstein met Maric – an accomplished mathematician in her own right – while they were both studying at Zurich Polytechnic.

They married in 1903, when Einstein was 24 and Maric was 28.

Some historians even claim Maric contributed to some of Einstein’s most famous work, including his Theory of Relativity. Feeling threatened by her talents though, he allegedly omitted her name from his studies.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein may have been a brilliant scientist, but he was also a misogynist. Image: Wikipedia

Although Einstein and Maric initially bonded over a mutual interest in physics, historians say the famed scientist was difficult to live with, claiming he was obsessed with his work, and would often turn reclusive and neglectful of his personal hygiene.

Furthermore, Einstein began cheating on Maric almost as soon as they were married, and later left her for his cousin, Elsa Lowenthal... who he also cheated on.

Einstein and Maric's marriage was a turbulent one, and they temporarily split in 1914, after 11 years of marriage.

It was then that Einstein presented his wife with a list of demands, claiming he would only return to the marriage if she agreed to his guidelines.

The rules basically worked in favour of Einstein and were demeaning for his wife, reducing her to nothing more than his personal servant:


A. You will make sure:

1. that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
2. that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
3. that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.


B. You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, You will forego:

1. my sitting at home with you;
2. my going out or travelling with you.

C. You will obey the following points in your relations with me:

1. you will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
2. you will stop talking to me if I request it;
3. you will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.

D. You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.

Shockingly, Maric agreed to his rules, reportedly for the sake of the couple's two children, Eduard and Hans, but they divorced five years later in 1919, when Einstein left her for Elsa.

Mileva Maric
Einstein's first wife, Mileva Maric, was a talented mathematician, who apparently collaborated with her husband on some of his most famous work. Image: Wikipedia

On the plus side though, Einstein promised to give Maric his Nobel Prize winnings after they divorced - even though he hadn't actually won a Nobel Prize yet:

The Nobel Prize  -  in the event of the divorce and in the event that it is bestowed upon me  -  would be ceded to you in full a priori. Disposal of the interest would be left entirely to your discretion. The capital would be despited in Switzerland and placed in safe-keeping for the children.

So, basically, Maric was just as intelligent and gifted as her husband, who systematically worked to belittle her and treat her as nothing more than background noise in his life and celebrated career.

What a guy.