Billionaires’ Divorce: Bill and Melinda Gates Announce Divorce after 27 years
Bill and Melinda Gates have announced they are to divorce after 27 years of marriage, saying they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.
The Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist and his wife have built up a combined $124bn (£90bn) fortune, making them among the top five richest couples in the world.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the pair said in a joint statement posted on Twitter on Monday.
The couple who jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a huge funder of global health and disease prevention initiatives including the fight against coronavirus, said they would continue to run the foundation together.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
“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,” they said.
The couple have three children, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.
Melinda, 56, has in the past said their marriage has been “incredibly hard”, and said Bill, 65, regularly works 16-hour days and can find it hard to make time for the family.
“Believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, ‘Can I do this?’” she said in she said in an interview with the Sunday Times in 2019 to mark their 25th anniversary.
Bill, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, was already a billionaire when the pair got married in 1994. He met Melinda when she joined the company when he was 31 in 1987.
Melinda said that Bill spent weeks debating whether or not they should marry, and even made a list of pros and cons for marriage on a whiteboard.
“When he was having trouble making the decision about getting married, he was incredibly clear that it was not about me, it was about, ‘Can I get the balance right between work and family life?”’ she said.
Their foundation has over $51bn in assets, according to a tax filing, reported CNBC.