Lynsi Snyder's tell-all interview
Lynsi Snyder's tell-all interview News Corp Australia

Billionaire Burger heiress reveals her struggles

SHE'S the billionaire owner of one of the world's most famous fast food chains.

But In-N-Out Burger president Lynsi Snyder has revealed that life as a wealthy heiress has not always been easy.

The normally reclusive 35-year-old has emerged from obscurity to share details of her struggles with addiction, grief and divorce, admitting that she once felt like "a piece of trash".

"After my dad died, my world shattered. I longed for attention, something to fill the huge void," Snyder says in a tell-all interview with I Am Second.

She goes on to reveal that her quest to escape the pain of her father's death led to a string of failed marriages and substance abuse problems, before she found lasting happiness by reconnecting with her Christian faith.

In-N-Out Burgers have sparked an obsessive global fan club.
In-N-Out Burgers have sparked an obsessive global fan club. Instagram

Snyder is the granddaughter of In-N-Out Burger founders Harry and Esther Snyder, who started the $US1.1 billion business with "a little mom-and-pop burger stand" in California in 1948.

The West Coast chain, which has more than 300 stores, is yet to open in Australia despite having a cult following here. It is known for its deceptively simple double-decker burger made with cheese, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, pickles, mustard and signature spread.

A pop-up In-N-Out restaurant at Lil Darlin' in Sydney's Surry Hills had fans queuing around the block to get a taste in January, with wristbands handed out to enforce a one-burger-per-customer rule.

Snyder became president of the company seven years ago and inherited 50 per cent of its shares when she turned 30.

Last Friday - on her 35th birthday - she took full ownership, making her one of America's youngest billionaires.

But the wealth she enjoys has not shielded Snyder from pain, she reveals in the viral video, which has been viewed on Facebook more than 749,000 times.

The death of her father Guy Snyder from a drug overdose in 1999 took a heavy toll. Snyder was just 17 at the time.

"It was really hard for me to see him fail and be weak, because I knew how bad he wanted to be a good husband and good father," she said, recalling childhood visits to a hospital she later learned was a rehab facility.

Her parents had divorced when she was 12, after the drugs and "another woman" impacted on the marriage.

"That's when I really started longing for that attention and that love, because my dad was the greatest source of that," Snyder said.

Guy Snyder had taken over the company six years earlier after his brother Rich was killed in a plane crash.

The original drive-thru burger restaurant, In-N-Out has a global cult following.
The original drive-thru burger restaurant, In-N-Out has a global cult following. Patrick T. Fallon

After her father's death, Snyder rushed headlong into what would be the first of several failed marriages, at just 18-years-old.

"I just didn't want to be alone," she said, but acknowledged the relationship "wasn't right".

"I paid the price with the divorce - and jumped right into the arms of someone else. At that point, I pretty much realised 'I'm the outcast in the family, now I'm divorced'; and I figured, I might as well just embrace this."

Snyder started drinking and smoking pot, both things she "had really wanted to stay away from after watching my dad".

Things got so bad that she began to fear for her future.

"I realised that I'm going to follow in the footsteps of my father, in that I'm going to meet an early death," she said.

But while kicking the substances was one thing, Snyder couldn't seem to ditch her other bad habit: unhealthy relationships.

'THE WORST TIME OF MY LIFE'

A further two marriages ensued, followed by divorces after cheating allegations and vicious arguments took their toll.

While she does not regret having her "precious children", the heiress said, one relationship was so destructive that she started to question who she was as a person.

"I was cheated on off and on for three-and-a-half years," Snyder said. "He cheated on me when I was pregnant, he disrespected me - never had I been talked to the way he talked to me. I was treated like trash; it was the worst time of my life."

After reaching her lowest point, Snyder reconnected with her Christian faith and made peace with her demons.

"God took me to a place that I'd never been before and he showed me in that time where I felt more alone than ever - more of a piece of trash than ever, more of a failure - that he was there and that he was ready to love me and fill that void. And he'd been there all along."

KIDNAPPING ATTEMPTS

Snyder, who for many years was considered a recluse who shied away from the media, has become more open in recent times.

She revealed in a 2014 interview with Orange Coast that she had been the victim of two kidnapping attempts, including one where she ran across a highway to get away from suspicious men in "a van with boarded up windows".

She has vowed never to float the company she now owns outright, telling CBS "I would never do it"- despite the potential financial reward.

In-N-Out Burger is known for looking after its staff, and its one of the only fast food chains in the United States to pay above the minimum wage.

"My heart is totally connected to this company because of my family, and the fact that they are not here," Snyder said.

"I have a strong tie to keep this the way they would want it."

dana.mccauley@news.com.au

News Corp Australia


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