After 27 years of marriage, one of the world’s most well-known couples Bill and Melinda Gates are calling it quits
In a joint statement on their verified Twitter accounts on Monday, the couple announced they are getting a divorce.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” a statement from the billionaire philanthropist couple, tweeted from both of their personal Twitter accounts.
“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,” the statement said.
“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 Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
With an estimated net worth of $130 billion as of May 3, Bill Gates is the 4th richest man in the world, standing behind Elon Musk (3rd), Bernard Arnault & family (2nd), and Jeff Bezos (1st).
Bill and Melinda Gates met at Microsoft, a tech company founded by Bill Gates. Melinda started as a product manager in the company. CNN reported that she was the only woman in the first class of MBA graduates to join Microsoft. Eventually, she rose through the ranks to become general manager of information products, while Bill Gates was the CEO. The couple married in Hawaii in 1994.
Bill Gates stepped down from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway in March 2020, and decided to “dedicate more time to his philanthropic priorities,” including work to tackle climate change.
Melinda Gates is also the founder of investment firm Pivotal Ventures, which confirmed the couple’s separation.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” the couple said in their statement on Monday.
Bill, 65, and Melinda, 56, have three children — Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18 — who live mostly private lives. Jennifer Gates is the only one of her siblings with a public Instagram account. She reportedly made a post about her parents divorce Monday afternoon where she acknowledged the news has been “challenging” and thanked loved ones for their support.
It is unclear if Bill and Melinda Gates have a prenuptial agreement but the New York Times in 1997 wrote they “are reported to have one.”
In January 2019, the World’s richest man, Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie ended their marriage after 25 years.
In their divorce settlement agreement, Jeff who was Amazon.com CEO at that time, kept 75 percent of Amazon stock, leaving MacKenzie with 25% or about $32billion in value at that time.
Jeff Bezos also retained all ownership interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin.