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Meet America's newest billionaire, millennial Lynsi Snyder

CBS News logo CBS News 12/05/2017 Aimee Picchi
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When Lynsi Snyder turned 35 last week, she received an unusually rich gift: most of the remaining shares in her family's business, the cult burger chain In-N-Out. 

Snyder had already inherited 50 percent of the company when she turned 30, and her 35th birthday triggered the inheritance of most of the burger chain's remaining shares. With Forbes valuing her stake at $1.3 billion, Snyder has joined the rarified club of fewer than 300 women who are billionaires -- and is believed to be the youngest of them in the U.S. 

Snyder may not be a familiar name, but her company's business has legions of fans, including top chefs such as Gordon Ramsay. In-N-Out was founded in 1948 by her grandparents, Harry and Esther Snyder, who started the chain as a single drive-through hamburger stand in Baldwin Park, California. Through a series of tragic family deaths -- including her father's demise at 49 from a prescription drug overdose -- Snyder inherited control of the business. 

Keeping a low profile is part of her family's philosophy, she told "CBS This Morning" in a rare interview in 2015.

"We back away from it, because we don't want to be in the spotlight, we don't want a bunch of attention. And we want to do what we do best, and that's serve some good burgers to our customers," she said. 

As president of In-N-Out, Snyder has expanded the chain to six states from four. The chain's menu has remained frozen in time, although fans point to the brand's consistency and dedication to freshness as its appeal. 

Every one of the more than 300 In-N-Out locations are owned by the Snyder family. By comparison, rival McDonald's relies on its franchisees to operate about four out of 5 of its more than 35,000 restaurants. 

"It's about the quality, the friendliness and the cleanliness. We keep it simple," Snyder said.

Below are five things to know about Snyder:

She's been the target of abductions. Snyder told Orange Coast Magazine she was the target of two abductions, the first when she was a 17-year-old high school student. The second was when she was 24 and working at her family's business. The experiences have made her cautious about sharing too much about her family, she said. 

Her fourth husband is a former In-N-Out employee. Snyder first got married when she was 18 to her high-school sweetheart. In an interview with I Am Second, she said her early marriage was her attempt to fill the void after her father's death. Her second and third marriages also ended in divorce. Her fourth husband is former In-N-Out employee Sean Ellingson. 

She said one of her previous husbands married her for her money and treated her "like trash." She noted, "You can see where someone who just wants that love and appreciation was getting further and further away from what she wanted."

She's a race car enthusiast. Snyder's third husband was race car driver Val Torres Jr., and the pair created a husband-and-wife team to compete in drag races. When they divorced, Torres continued to work as crew chief on her team. "I'm a lot like my dad, a little bit of a daredevil," she told Orange Coast magazine. "I like an adrenaline rush. My dad took me to the racetrack for the first time when I was 2 or 3. … Anything with a motor, that was in my blood."

Snyder lives in a $17.4 million estate. Snyder bought the California estate from Adrián Beltré, the former third baseman for the L.A. Dodgers. The house sprawls across 16,600 square feet on 4.16 acres and includes a 2,500 square-foot guest house.

Snyder has vowed to keep In-N-Out a family business. Snyder told CBS she could "never" see a time where she would franchise or go public with In-N-Out, as burger sensation Shake Shack has famously done. "The only reason you would do that is for the money and I, I wouldn't do it. ... My heart is totally connected to this company because of my family and the fact that they're not here, you know. I have a strong tie to keep this the way they would want it," she said.

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