Lindell was born in 1961 in Mankato, Minnesota. He was raised in Chaska and Carver, Minnesota. He went to the University of Minnesota but dropped out shortly after starting.
Lindell invented the My Pillow pillow in 2004 and grew the business into a major Minnesota manufacturing company.
Lindell launched and operated a number of small businesses in the 1980s including carpet cleaning, lunch wagons, and a few bars and restaurants in Carver County, Minnesota. During the 1980s and 1990s, he was addicted to cocaine, crack cocaine, and alcohol, leading to the foreclosure of his house, and his wife filing for divorce. Lindell stated that he achieved sobriety through prayer in 2009 and has been clean since then.
Michael James Lindell (born 1961) is an American businessman, conspiracy theorist, and the CEO of My Pillow, Inc., a company he founded in 2009. Lindell is an prominent supporter of, and advisor to, former US President Donald Trump. He has, without evidence, promoted the toxic plant extract oleandrin as a COVID-19 cure, and supported attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election.
Lindell has been married twice. His first marriage ended in divorce after about 20 years, and he has children from this marriage. He married Dallas Yocum in June 2013 and filed for divorce in mid-July 2013 after she left him. Lindell stated that they had a prenuptial agreement.
In August 2016, Lindell met with then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and became an avid supporter, calling Trump "the most amazing president this country has ever seen in history", following his 2016 election. In a speech at Liberty University in August 2019, Lindell said "When I met with Donald Trump, it felt like a divine appointment, and when I walked out of that office I decided I was going to go all in."
On October 19, 2016, Lindell attended the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. He spoke at a Trump campaign rally in Minneapolis on November 6, 2016, and attended the Official Donald Watch Party on November 8. He attended Trump's inauguration, and Trump gave him an inauguration lapel pin as a personal gift.
In a March 2020 appearance on Fox News, Lindell said that his company's bedding factories had been refocused on face mask production at the behest of the Trump administration. Later that month, Lindell appeared with Trump at a White House coronavirus press conference, at which Lindell praised Trump: "God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on. God had been taken out of our schools and lives, a nation had turned its back on God. I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the word. Read our Bible and spend time with our families."
In 2017, Lindell sat next to Trump at an industry roundtable event at the White House.
In 2017, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) revoked accreditation of My Pillow, lowering its rating to an F based on a pattern of complaints by consumers. The BBB cited a Buy One, Get One offer that became a continuous offer and therefore the normal price of the product, not a sale price or free offer. In a statement, Lindell said, "Naturally, I am terribly disappointed by the BBB's decision."
At a rally in Fargo, North Dakota, on June 27, 2018, Trump complimented Lindell for his "business acumen." Lindell spoke at a Trump rally on October 4, 2018, in Rochester, Minnesota. Lindell spoke at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference, in which he promoted Trump as "the greatest president in history" and "chosen by God."
Lindell is an evangelical Christian and received an honorary Doctor of Business from Liberty University in 2019. He self-published a book that year about his religious journey, titled What Are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO.
In 2020, Lindell named his son Darren as the company's chief operating officer, citing possible future political ambitions.
In January 2020, the Daily Mail alleged a nine-month relationship between Lindell and actress Jane Krakowski. Both Lindell and Krakowski denied the allegation. Lindell retained attorney Charles Harder and sued the Daily Mail for libel on January 25.
Lindell has considered running for governor of Minnesota in 2022 against Democratic incumbent Tim Walz, reportedly at Trump's urging. He attended a Republican Governors Association meeting, at which he was encouraged to run. In May 2020, he became the campaign chair for Trump's reelection campaign in Minnesota. In July 2020, Lindell said he was "99% sure" about running for Minnesota governor.
On January 25, 2021, Twitter permanently banned Lindell for perpetuating the unfounded claim that Trump won the 2020 election. A Twitter spokesperson explained that Lindell violated the company's civic integrity policy implemented in September 2020 to fight disinformation. After his personal account was banned, Lindell circumvented the ban by using the corporate MyPillow Twitter account to issue several tweets, including a call for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to "be found out and should be put in prison when all is revealed!" Following the tweets, Twitter permanently banned the MyPillow account for violating the platform's ban evasion policy.
In November 2020, Lindell was identified as among those who paid for the bail of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse.
Lindell helped sponsor a bus tour that sought to challenge the election results. The two-week tour ended in Washington, D.C., on December 14, 2020, and Lindell spoke at five stops along the way. Lindell said that "he did not help finance subsequent trips to promote the Jan. 6 rally," referring to the rally that was followed by the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Lindell attended this rally, but did not go to the Capitol. Following the Capitol storming, Lindell was among those who advanced the false conspiracy theory that people associated with antifa were responsible for the attack, saying they had probably "dressed as Trump people".
In 2021, some major retailers stopped carrying My Pillow products. Lindell has implied he thinks that this is a result of false claims promoted by him in relation to the 2020 United States presidential election results, although outlets like Kohl's and Bed, Bath and Beyond have stated this is due to market research and low customer demand.
On January 15, 2021, Lindell carried a document into the West Wing of the White House; the document, as seen in an enhanced photo, appeared to refer to martial law and the Insurrection Act, as well as replacing Gina Haspel with Trump loyalist Kash Patel as the CIA director.
Lindell promoted a conspiracy theory, popular with Trump supporters, that falsely claimed that voting machine companies Smartmatic and Dominion conspired with foreign powers to rig voting machines to steal the election from Trump. In January and February 2021, Dominion warned Lindell that they planned to sue him, stating in their letter: "You have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign." (The two companies sent similar letters to others as well.)
After Newsmax had broadcast a "clarification" of its false reporting on voting machine fraud in response to a demand letter from Dominion, followed by a defamation suit from a company executive, Lindell appeared on the network on February 2, 2021, to repeat the false claims, as network anchor Bob Sellers tried to stop Lindell before reading a disclaimer and walking off the set.
Lindell purchased three hours of airtime on One America News Network, which had also been threatened with legal action, to broadcast Absolute Proof, a documentary filled with false claims about the election, which aired on February 5, 2021. OANN broadcast a lengthy disclaimer before the program to assert that the claims were Lindell's alone. YouTube removed the documentary from its platform that same day for violating its policy against election disinformation.
On February 16, 2021, Dominion announced that it would be filing a lawsuit against Lindell. The defamation complaint was filed 6 days later on February 22, with Dominion suing Lindell and MyPillow for $1.3 billion USD. Dominion claimed that Lindell and MyPillow used "defamatory marketing campaign—with promo codes like “FightforTrump,” “45,” “Proof,” and “QAnon”—[which have] increased MyPillow sales by 30-40% and [continued] duping people into redirecting their election-lie outrage into pillow purchases"; Dominion further stated its intent was to "stop Lindell and MyPillow from further profiting at Dominion’s expense".