The Mars family sits atop a delicious empire. They’re the heirs to the candy throne that is Mars Inc., maker of Snickers, Mars Bars, Milky Way, Twix, M&M’s and more – not to mention a wider portfolio that includes pet care products, drinks and gum. The century-old company has helped the Mars family build a reported fortune of US$94 billion, according to the Institute for Policy Studies’ “Silver Spoon Oligarchs” report. It makes them America’s third-richest family dynasty, per the report, which examined Forbes ’ inaugural ranking of America’s wealthiest clans. Press-shy and limelight-avoidant, the Mars family remains a bit of a mystery. They’ve been known to keep the company “notoriously private”, according to Business Insider, while The Guardian has called their headquarters “anonymous”. However, Mars Inc. has more recently started trying to shed its secretive history. During the last few years, the Mars family and company executives have started to speak out. Here’s what we know about the Mars family and Mars Inc. Inside Shah Rukh Khan’s Delhi home – once part of an Airbnb competition How the Mars family made its US$94 billion fortune The Mars family’s US$94 billion fortune is rooted in its family-owned candy empire, Mars Inc. Founder Frank Mars learned to hand-dip chocolates at a young age; in 1911, he began selling candy from his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington. During the Great Depression, Frank and his wife Ethel became “social luminaries”. They owned a US$20,000 Deusenberg town car and had two getaway homes in Wisconsin and Tennessee. They also opened their Tennessee getaway home, the Milky Way Farms Racing Stables, to the public for fundraisers and public events. Ethel’s horse won the Kentucky Derby in 1940, securing her “station in mint-julep society”. Mars’ son, Forrest Sr., joined the company in 1929 View this post on Instagram A post shared by SNICKERS (@snickers) They made the first chocolate nougat, setting the foundation for Milky Way Bars and Snickers. Then Forrest Sr. fell out with his father; in 1932, he was given the recipe for the Milky Way to start his own business, and he moved to England to do so. Since then, the company has become known for the eponymous Mars Bar (at least in the UK) as well as 3 Musketeers, Twix and M&Ms. More than 400 million M&Ms are produced in the US every day. Mars’ prominent position in pet food began with the 1934 acquisition of a British dog-food firm, Chappel Bros. Today, Mars is a dominant force in both pet food and veterinary medicine, as the owner of major food brands Pedigree, Whiskas and Royal Canin, and the biggest private American chains of veterinary hospitals, Banfield and VCA. The company’s secrecy dates back to when Forrest Sr. patented the method for Uncle Ben’s rice and American military chiefs tried to overturn the patent to supply troops. Around this time, in 1964, Forrest Sr. moved back to the US, and decades later, in 1964, he merged his company with his father’s after the latter passed away. Forrest Sr. reportedly avoided photographers and interviews alike. Crazy rich Indian mansions – from Ambani’s Antilia to SRK’s Mannat Unlike his parents, Forrest Sr. was relatively frugal He raised his children the same way – while they attended exclusive boarding schools, they did chores at home to earn an allowance. However, he did buy a 300-hectare (740-acre) farm in Virginia in the 1940s. He and his wife, Audrey, lived apart for a lot of their marriage – she kept a penthouse flat at The Watergate. Forrest Sr. has been described as having an “extreme temper”, but was separately praised as “one of this century’s most brilliant and successful entrepreneurs” by Fortune magazine in 1984. “He was an iconic leader – dedicated and highly respected,” a Mars spokesperson said. Forrest Sr.’s children inherited a stake in the company When Forrest Sr. died in 1999, his children – Jacqueline, John and Forrest Jr. Mars – inherited a stake in the company. Currently, Jacqueline and John co-own, but don’t actively manage, Mars Inc. They have the biggest share of the family fortune, with US$24 billion each. They rank on the Forbes 400 along with Forrest Jr.’s four daughters, who have US$6 billion each. The collective fortune of all six is US$72 billion, making them the third-richest family dynasty in the US, according to the Billionaire Bonanza report. Jacqueline is the only sibling with a lavish lifestyle Jacqueline is the only sibling with a lifestyle “close to reflecting her billionaire status”, wrote Washingtonian in 2008. She reportedly listed her estate in New Jersey for US$2 million, has a place called Stonehall Farm in Virginia, and maintains her mother’s Watergate penthouse. Like her family, Jacqueline maintains privacy. In 2013, Jacqueline was involved in a car crash in Loudon County. She was driving her Porsche SUV “when her vehicle crossed the centre line and hit an eastbound minivan”, reported The Washington Post . Which Indian billionaire earned more than Elon Musk this year? “According to authorities, Mars told a witness who went to the scene of the accident that she had fallen asleep while driving,” wrote The Washington Post . “Tests revealed no trace of drugs, alcohol or medications that could have caused a blackout. Witnesses said that Mars was not speeding or driving erratically before the accident.” The accident occurred in Loudon County; the driver of the other car lost her unborn son, a passenger died, and other passengers were injured. The victims urged the court not to seek jail time for Jacqueline, who pleaded guilty. She was ordered to pay a US$2,500 fine. “I can’t go back in time. I can’t change what happened,” Jacqueline, who planned to help the family, said in a statement. “I will always live with the grief and loss caused by this tragedy.” Jacqueline’s son, Stephen Badger, is the chairman of Mars Inc Jacqueline and her ex-husband David Badger have three children. Their son, Stephen Badger, is the chairman of Mars Inc. Recently, the company has started to open up about its business to be transparent to consumers and attract talent, Badger said. “For most of our history, in fact, for 99 per cent of our history, we’ve chosen not to be in the public eye and we’ve really wanted our brands to engage consumers. And yet times have changed,” Badger said. Jacqueline’s brother John was made an honorary knight Not much is known about Jacqueline’s brother John, but in March 2015, he was made an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth. Both he and Jacqueline run the Mars Foundation, which donates to educational, environmental, cultural and health-related causes. The company also has a volunteer programme. Both John and Forrest Jr. inherited their father’s tendency to avoid the spotlight. And their father’s frugal ways stuck with them: both brothers reportedly lived in relatively affordable condos. “When I was growing up it felt very normal,” Forrest Jr.’s daughter, Pamela, told Campden FB. “I didn’t feel different to anybody else. We did chores around the house, we went to school. We didn’t live a different lifestyle to any of my friends.” How did Laurene Powell Jobs meet – and marry – late Apple CEO Steve Jobs? Forrest Jr.’s children inherited a stake in the company too Jacqueline and John’s brother Forrest Jr. passed away in 2016. His four daughters – Victoria, Valerie, Pamela and Marijke – each inherited an 8 per cent stake in Mars Inc. Victoria is the former chair of the board of directors of Mars Inc. A spokesperson for Mars said that there are six rotating positions on the board. Growing up, Pamela lived in Holland and France for several years before moving back to the US for her father’s various Mars Inc. jobs. After graduating from Vassar and a stint working in advertising, Pamela joined the family business as an operations supervisor. She moved up the ranks and, after a sabbatical, became chairman of the board, a position from which she later stepped down. According to Forbes , Valerie and Marijke both work at Mars and serve on the company’s board of directors. For years, the family was known for being “notoriously private” The family have mostly kept their personal lives and Mars Inc. out of the public eye. “The Mars company and the family that owns the candy giant have turned secrecy into a way of life,” wrote Washingtonian . Morningstar called Mars a “very, very quiet company”. Nicknamed “the Kremlin,” the Mars Inc. headquarters are based in the Virginia suburbs and have been described as “secretive” and “anonymous”. Today, four business segments comprise Mars Inc Mars Inc. comprises petcare, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, food and edge. In 2008, Mars Inc. branched out from chocolate to gum when it acquired the Wrigley Jr. Company for US$23 billion, and it bought Iams and two other pet food brands in 2014 from Procter & Gamble for close to US$2.9 billion. The US$35-billion firm is the country’s fifth-largest private business, and it was previously ranked as a best place to work by Fortune magazine. Mars Inc. can attribute its success to the five principles that Pamela called the bedrock of the company: quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom. How did Taokaenoi become everyone’s favourite seaweed snack? Mars Inc. also makes hefty donations While the company has previously been criticised for not giving enough, Mars Inc. says it makes anonymous contributions. In 2012, they donated US$5 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for renovations and a new gallery. Jacqueline also supports the US Olympic Equestrian Team and is a trustee of the US Equestrian Team Foundation. She sits on several boards, including the National Sporting Library and Fine Art Museum, the Smithsonian and the American Prairie Reserve. According to a Mars spokesperson, she received the first-ever Foundation for the National Archives’ heritage award, for her support of the National Archives and other arts and cultural institutions in Washington. She also played a role merging the Opera with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and made a multi-year commitment to support the Washington Performing Arts’ programmes. Billionaires in space: who’s winning out of Musk, Bezos and Branson? “The family has always believed that the biggest contribution toward the world we want tomorrow is through the good that Mars Inc. can do every day, and the family reinvests the vast majority of any profit made back into the company,” a company spokesperson said. And in 2017, the company made a US$1 billion investment in a sustainability programme that will contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. It also donated US$26 million in pandemic relief to communities most affected by the crisis. The company itself will always remain private While the Mars family has remained private over the years, it’s helped them keep their anonymity, Joseph Astrachan, an expert in family enterprises, told The Guardian . But one thing will always remain private: the company itself. “The philosophy of the family and the philosophy of the business is that it’s a family business,” Pamela told Campden FB. “More importantly, it’s a privately held business and that’s the way that we’d like to keep it.” This article originally appeared on Business Insider . Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .