Microsoft founder Bill Gates to divorce Melinda after 27 years of marriage

Bill and Melinda Gates announced their split after 27 years of marriage on Monday

Bill and Melinda Gates announced their split after 27 years of marriage on Monday

Bill and Melinda Gates announced their split after 27 years of marriage on Monday

Bill Gates, the fourth richest man in the world with a fortune of about $130billion, and his wife Melinda are divorcing after 27 years of marriage. 

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife announced the split via Twitter on Monday, both posting the same joint statement which read: ‘After a great deal of thought and a lot of work, 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 to 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.’ 

The couple have three kids: Jennifer, 25; Rory, 21; and Phoebe, 18.  

The announcement comes less than two weeks after they made their last public appearance, virtually, at a COVID event for healthcare workers. 

Gates was already a billionaire he married Melinda in the early 1990s. He founded Microsoft in 1975 and became the world’s youngest billionaire in 1987 at the age of 31. He also met Melinda that year when she was working at the company where he served as CEO. 

They married six years later but he deliberated over it and, according to previous interviews given by Melinda, even made a list of pros and cons for marriage on a whiteboard. 

The reason behind their split after over a quarter-century remains a mystery but Melinda has previously suggested her husband had trouble balancing work and family. 

It also remains unclear if the couple have a prenuptial agreement to help them navigate dividing their wealth – which includes properties in five states, a private jet, an astonishing art collection and a fleet of luxury cars.  

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife announced the split on Twitter. They both posted the same joint statement

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife announced the split on Twitter. They both posted the same joint statement

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife announced the split on Twitter. They both posted the same joint statement

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife announced the split on Twitter. They both posted the same joint statement

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife shared the news with identical joint statements on Twitter

The couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2019 family photo. The kids  - Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 25, 21 and 18

The couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2019 family photo. The kids  - Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 25, 21 and 18

The couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2019 family photo. The kids  – Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 25, 21 and 18

The pair are pictured during a Zoom appearance on April 19 at One World: Together At Home, a broadcast special to support healthcare workers

The pair are pictured during a Zoom appearance on April 19 at One World: Together At Home, a broadcast special to support healthcare workers

The pair are pictured during a Zoom appearance on April 19 at One World: Together At Home, a broadcast special to support healthcare workers 

The divorce, though one of the most expensive in history, is not the most expensive. 

That title goes to Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who split his $150billion fortune with his wife MacKenzie in 2019 after his affair with Lauren Sanchez was revealed.

Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975, almost 20 years before he married Melinda. The company made $1million in sales by 1978 and by 1987, he had become the world's youngest ever billionaire. He met Melinda that year. They are pictured in 1998

Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975, almost 20 years before he married Melinda. The company made $1million in sales by 1978 and by 1987, he had become the world's youngest ever billionaire. He met Melinda that year. They are pictured in 1998

Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975, almost 20 years before he married Melinda. The company made $1million in sales by 1978 and by 1987, he had become the world’s youngest ever billionaire. He met Melinda that year. They are pictured in 1998

They, unlike Bezos, are both part of The Giving Pledge – a collection of the world’s richest people who have all vowed to devote at least half of their fortunes to charity. 

In 2000 they founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the most influential private foundation in the worth with an endowment work nearly $50billion.  

Over the last year the foundation has focused on the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. 

As of December, the foundation had committed a total of $1.75billion to the global pandemic response. 

In their statement on Monday, the Gates vowed to continue that work together after their split. 

The couple met in 1987 when Melinda was working at Microsoft as a project manager and was seated next to Gates at a business dinner.   

Melinda described the meeting in her 2019 biography The Moment of Lift, writing: ‘I showed up late, and all the tables were filled except one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. I sat in one of them. A few minutes later, Bill arrived and sat in the other.’

After a year of dating, Gates made a list of the pros and cons of getting married.  

‘You know, 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,’ Bill said in a Netflix documentary about his life. 

She has playfully told how he made a pros and cons lift of whether or not they should get married on a whiteboard. They eventually tied the knot on a golf course on the Hawaiian island of Lanai in 1994, and welcomed their first child together, Jennifer, in 1996.  

In 2019, shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary, Melinda gave a rare interview to The Sunday Times in which she revealed how Bill struggled to balance work with family. 

‘We’ve just gotten to a point in life where Bill and I can both laugh about more things. 

‘And, 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 her memoir published that same year Melinda wrote about her private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. 

Bill founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen. He served as CEO until 2000 then moved into a director role while gradually scaling back his involvement to dedicate more time to philanthropy. 

He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014. Last year he stepped down from the board of Microsoft entirely, as well as the board of Berkshire Hathaway.

Melinda – the daughter of an aerospace engineer and a housewife – was born Melinda Ann French in Dallas, Texas, in 1964 and attended the elite Duke University in North Carolina before joining Microsoft in 1987.  

Bill also grew up privileged in Seattle, where he was born in 1955. His father was a prominent lawyer and his mother was on the board of the financial holding companies. He dropped out of Harvard to pursue Microsoft in the 1970s.

In 2015 Melinda founded investment firm Pivotal Ventures, which confirmed the couple’s separation on Monday. 

Bill Gates made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest ever billionaire. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year

Bill Gates made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest ever billionaire. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year

Bill Gates made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest ever billionaire. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year

Bill Gates made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest ever billionaire. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year

Bill Gates made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest ever billionaire. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year. He is shown, left, in 1985, aged 29, and she is shown, right, in 1995, the year after they married

The biggest divorce since Bezos: Bill and Melinda Gates will have to divide his $130BILLION fortune including Da Vinci artworks, a fleet of cars, jet, and properties in five states 

Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce will be the largest division of assets since Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie split in mid 2019.

The Gateses are worth an estimated $130 billion, making them the fourth-richest people in the world, behind Bezos, Elon Musk, and French luxury goods owner Bernard Arnault. 

Their wealth includes several impressive real estate holdings, including their main home in Washington state and properties in California, Florida, Wyoming and Massachusetts.

In addition, they have a private jet and an astonishing art collection. He also owns a fleet of fast cars.  

In 2000, they founded The Gates Foundation, dedicated to helping some of the world’s poorest people through initiatives such as eradicating polio, reducing the spread of malaria and HIV/Aids, and investing in sanitation and financial systems for those without. They have poured huge amounts of their own money into the Foundation, making it one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations. 

In 2010 they founded The Giving Pledge, alongside Warren Buffett, and promised to give away the majority of their fortune. 

Yet, despite The Giving Pledge, they retain plenty of assets which will need to be split between them.

The Gates family home contains a 30-car garage and 20-room main living area

The Gates family home contains a 30-car garage and 20-room main living area

The Gates family home contains a 30-car garage and 20-room main living area

The one divorce pricier than Bill and Melinda Gates’: Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos split their $137billion fortune after his affair wrecked their 25-year marriage 

The divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates marks the second most expensive in the world – coming behind that of Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos. 

The Amazon boss and his philanthropist wife, who now uses her maiden name Scott, announced their split in January 2019 after 25 years and four children together.   

Hours later the National Enquirer published a bombshell report revealing Bezos’ affair with Lauren Sanchez, who herself was married to Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell. 

The Enquirer claimed to have conducted a four-month investigation into Bezos and Sanchez’s relationship and said it obtained explicit texts and photos the couple had sent to each other. It was later suggested that Bezos and Scott had timed their divorce announcement to get ahead of the Enquirer report.  

Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos announced their split in January 2019 after 25 years and four children together

Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos announced their split in January 2019 after 25 years and four children together

Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos announced their split in January 2019 after 25 years and four children together

Their divorce was finalized in April 2019 with Jeff keeping 75 percent of the couple’s stock and MacKenzie keeping a four percent stake in Amazon – translating to about 19.7 million shares worth roughly $35billion at the time. 

Scott is considered the third wealthiest woman in the world after her net worth surged by $30.3 billion to $61.4billion last year when Amazon shares rocketed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Meanwhile Bezos also saw a massive windfall as his net worth surged to $201.4billion.  

In the wake of the divorce Scott has donated almost $6billion of her wealth to charity.  

In a Medium post in December, Scott revealed she had given away $4.1 billion in the previous four months to hundreds of organizations in a bid to help those financially gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She had previously donated $1.68billion to 116 nonprofits, universities, community development groups and legal organizations in July 2020. 

In March it was revealed she tied the knot with Dan Jewett, a teacher at a school her kids attended in Seattle. 

Bezos, who is still dating Sanchez, extended his congratulations in a statement through an Amazon spokesperson, writing: ‘Dan is such a great guy, and I am happy and excited for the both of them.’

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Property: A $125million compound on the outskirts of Seattle, seaside mansion in San Diego and ranch getaway in Santa Fe  

Prime among the couple’s properties is their main family home, known as Xanadu 2.0.

The 66,000-square-foot mansion overlooks Lake Washington in Medina, nine miles out of downtown Seattle – where The Gates Foundation has its headquarters.  

Gates purchased the lot in 1988 for $2 million, but spent seven years building his dream home – at a cost of $63 million. 

The construction along the picturesque lake angered some neighbors, The Washington Post reported at the time – so Gates responded with free car washes, and made his construction crew available to help with little projects at nearby homes.

The home is now worth an estimated $125 million. 

‘I wanted craftsmanship but nothing ostentatious,’ Gates wrote in his book, The Road Ahead, which was written from the guest house, while the main house was being constructed. 

‘I wanted a house that would accommodate sophisticated, changing technology but in an unobtrusive way that made it clear that technology was the servant, not the master.’  

The home has an indoor-outdoor pool with an underwater music system and fossil designs on the floor, plus an ancient fossil imprint of a palm frond behind the diving board.

In the five-acre plot, there is an artificial stream stocked with salmon and cut-throat trout, and a beach with sand imported, according to some, from the Caribbean. 

Inside the seven bedroom mansion, with a reported 18 bathrooms, is an art deco home cinema with seating for 20, and a 1,000-square-foot dining room with seating for 24.

For larger gatherings, the 2,300 square-foot reception hall can seat 150 people for dinner, or 200 for a cocktail party. 

The 2,100-square-foot library includes two secret pivoting bookcases, one of which contains a bar.

A special nook has been constructed to display one of Gates’s most prized possessions – a scientific notebook kept by Leonardo da Vinci in the early 1500s, called the Codex.

Gates bought it at auction in 1994 for $30 million. 

On the ceiling is engraved a quote from The Great Gatsby: ‘He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.’

There are four rare copies of the book in his library, The Washington Post reported. 

Guests at the property, according to Seattle Curbed, are giving a pin to wear on arrival, with sensors. 

Depending on their preferences, the temperature, music and lighting will change in the house. 

Each room comes with its own touchpad to control the room environment. 

‘I have a nice house,’ said Gates, in a February 2019 ‘Ask Me Anything’ forum on Reddit. 

‘It includes a trampoline room which seems kind of over the top, but my kids love using it to work off their excess energy. 

‘I am not sure how guilty I should feel about being in a great house.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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