Bill Gates and Melinda Gates are ending their marriage after twenty-seven years, Billionaire benefactors announced in a joint statement on their verified Twitter accounts.
The statement reads that after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on their relationship, they have decided to end their marriage.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has grown one of the powerful and influential forces in global public health, spending over 50 billion dollars over the past twenty years to bring a business approach to combating disease and poverty.
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates’ divorce would entail complex decisions about handing their wealth after 27-years of marriage.
The Gates have backed widely praised programs in polio eradication and malaria, child nutrition, and COVID-19 vaccines. Moreover, last year, the Gates foundation committed some $1.75 Bn to coronavirus relief.
The pair founded their philanthropic organization, the Gates Foundation, together in 2000. Since then, according to its website, the foundation has spent 53.8 billion dollars on a broad range of initiatives related to global health, alleviation, poverty, and more.
The statement says that they have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works globally to enable all people to lead healthy and productive lives. They continue to share a belief in that mission and continue their work together at the foundation, but they no longer believe they could grow together as a couple in this next phase of their lives.
Melinda Gates filed a petition on Monday for divorce in King County, Washington, asking a judge to dissolve the marriage based on the pair’s divorce contract. No monetary details were included in the publicly available documents.
How did the couple get together?
Bill Gates, 65, and Melinda Gates, 56, met at Microsoft, which Bill Gates founded and was, at the time, running as Chief Executive. She began as a product manager as the only woman in the first class of MBA graduates to join the Microsoft company and eventually rose through the ranks to become GM of information products.
The pair met shortly after joining the company in 1987 at a business dinner in New York.
Melinda described the encounter in her book, ‘The Moment of Lift,’ that she showed up late. All the tables were occupied except the one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. She sat in one of them. And a few minutes later, Bill Gates arrived and sat in the other.
The couple married in on the Hawaiian island of Lanai in 1994.
The Gates Foundation
The pair established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 in Seattle
Over the recent year, the Gates, through their foundation, have been involved in the fight against coronavirus and the effort to develop treatments and COVID-19 vaccines and equitably distribute them worldwide. Moreover, the group had committed a sum of 1.75 Bn dollars to the global epidemic response as of December.
Billionaire Bill Gates stepped down from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway Inc in March last year to dedicate additional time to his philanthropic priorities, including work to tackle climate change.
Melinda Gates is also the founder of the investment firm Pivotal Ventures, which confirmed the pair’s separation.
In their statement on Monday, the couple said that they ask for space and privacy for their family as they start to navigate this new life.
The foundation had net assets of over $43 billion in 2019.
Bill and Melinda Gates pumped over 36 billion dollars into the Seattle-based foundation between 1994 and 2018.
However, the Gates Foundation didn’t immediately return a request for a statement from CNN Business.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking, Gates is one of the wealthiest people in the world. His net worth was 137 Bn dollars as of February 2021.