It’s shocking but true – one of the world’s wealthiest men, Bill Gates is set to divorce his wife, Melinda Gates, over obviously irreconcilable differences.
The man himself revealed this much via a tweet on Monday:
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.
“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.” Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in a statement that Bill Gates tweeted out.
It’s shocking reality coming after 27 years of marriage, for a couple known globally for their wealth and philanthropic works.
The couple met in 1987, soon after Melinda joined Microsoft. Melinda recalled, in a 2019 Netflix documentary, how she found Bill compiling a list of the pros and cons of marriage on a whiteboard before he proposed.
Financial Times reports that depending on the terms of any divorce settlement, Melinda Gates could immediately rival Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife, Scott MacKenzie, whose fortune is put by Forbes at $60bn, for influence in the philanthropy world in her own right. The two will keep working together on philanthropic efforts, which have addressed education, gender equality and health care.
For many, it’s shocking the couple are separating having run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, together with an endowment of $50.7 billion, and global fame arising therefrom.
On Tuesday, they released their 2019 annual letter , in which they broke down the nine ” biggest surprises” of the past year.
Melinda, now 56, joined Microsoft as a product manager in 1987, and the two sat together at a business dinner that year in New York.
They began dating, but as Bill told a Netflix documentary: “We cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married.”
It is shocking because Melinda herself had once said she found Bill – methodical it seems even in matters of the heart – writing a list on a whiteboard with the “pros and the cons of getting married”.
They got married in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, reportedly hiring all the local helicopters to stop unwanted guests flying over.
Bill, 65, stepped down from Microsoft’s board last year to focus on his philanthropic activities.