News of Bill and Melinda Gates’ decision to divorce has shocked many across the globe. The philanthropic couple, married for 27 years, announced the end of their marriage in a statement via Twitter. Microsoft founder and former CEO Bill was the one to tweet out the statement late on the afternoon of May 3, 2021.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the statement read. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world … 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.” The news of their divorce has, of course, sparked intrigue into the couple’s amassed financial state. According to Forbes, Bill is worth $124 billion and with it started the “world’s largest private charitable foundation.”
“Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point,” Bill is quoted to have said. “Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.”
Bill and Melinda Gates have had a very eventful marriage
Bill and Melinda Gates first met in 1987 at a Microsoft dinner conference for employees. In an interview with Salesforce, Melinda recalled arriving at the dinner at the urging of her roommate. She took the second to last empty seat in the room, with Bill shuffling in and sitting beside her 15 minutes later.
“I could sense that he was interested. It took him quite a few months before he asked me out,” she said.
The two were married in 1994 in Hawaii (per CNBC). They share three children: 25-year-old Katharine, 21-year-old Rory, 18-year-old Phoebe (per People). In 2000, the two founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in the two decades since, the organization has spent $53.8 billion on various philanthropic pursuits in the areas of the environment, global health, and more — Bill has also been a prominent voice in the political arena, weighing in on Donald Trump to the coronavirus vaccination efforts.
There’s no word on how the divorce will impact the couple’s organization or how their vast shared wealth will be divided. For now, it seems amicable and calm, but other splits have shown things don’t always stay that way.
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