Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage, saying, “We no longer believe that we can grow up together as a married couple.”
“After a great deal of thinking and a lot of work on our relationship, we made a decision to end our marriage,” the couple said on Twitter.
The couple first met in the 1980s when Melinda joined the Microsoft company that Bell had founded.
The billionaire couple have three children and they jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The foundation has spent billions fighting issues such as infectious diseases and promoting vaccination in children.
The Gates – along with investor Warren Buffett – are behind the “Pledge to Give” campaign, which calls on billionaires to commit to giving up most of their fortunes for good causes.
Bill Gates (65 years) is the fourth richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine, and his fortune is $ 124 billion.
He made his money through Microsoft, which he co-founded in the 1970s, which is the largest software company in the world.
The couple posted a statement announcing their divorce on Twitter.
They said, “Over the past 27 years, we have raised three wonderful children, and have built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy and productive lives.”
They added, “We continue to share faith in this mission, and we will continue our work together in the foundation, but we no longer believe that we can grow up together as a married couple in the next stage of our lives.”
They said, “We ask for the privacy of our family to be respected as we begin to feel this new life.”
How did they meet?
Melinda French, 56, joined Microsoft as a production manager in 1987, and the two had a working dinner together, in New York, the same year.
They started dating, but, according to what Bell said in a Netflix documentary, “We cared a lot about each other, and we had two possibilities ahead of them that were unsurprising: either we would separate or we would get married.”
Melinda said she found Bell methodically even in matters of affection, writing on a whiteboard, “the pros and cons of marriage.”
They got married in 1994 on Lanai Island, Hawaii. It was reported that they rented all local helicopters to prevent unwanted guests from flying over the island.
Bill resigned from Microsoft’s board of directors last year to focus on his philanthropic activities.
How did the Gates Foundation originate?
The couple founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 in Seattle.
The foundation primarily focuses on public health, education and climate change.
Included in its awarding are nearly $ 1.75 billion for vaccine initiatives and research during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, the corporation’s net assets are more than $ 43 billion.
Bill and Melinda Gates pumped more than $ 36 billion into the foundation between 1994 and 2018, according to Reuters.
What role did Melinda play?
“Bill and I are equal partners,” Melinda said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2019. “Men and women should be equal at work.”
In her newly published diaries, she wrote about her childhood, life, and private struggles as the wife of a celebrity and mother and housewife with three children.
She said that working together at the foundation made their relationship better. “He had to learn to be equal to me, and I had to learn to advance and be equal to him,” she said.
Outside of her work with the foundation, Melinda founded Pivotal Ventures, an investment firm focused on women and families, in 2015.
“The world has finally woken up to the fact that none of us can move forward if half of us are disabled,” she said at the time. The data is clear: empowered women transform societies.