Bill and Melinda Gates call it quits 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".


"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 tweeted.


The Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist and his wife have built up a combined $124bn (£89bn) fortune, making them among the five richest couples in the world.


They first met in the 1980s when Melinda joined Bill's Microsoft firm.




The couple, who jointly run the Bill and 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.


“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, who jointly run the Bill and 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.


“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.


History shared

Melinda, now 56, joined Microsoft as a product manager in 1987, and the two sat together at a business dinner that year in New York.


They began dating, but as Bill told a Netflix documentary: "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."


Melinda said she found Bill - methodical it seems even in matters of the heart - writing a list on a whiteboard with the "pros and the cons of getting married".


They got married in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, reportedly hiring up all the local helicopters to stop unwanted guests flying over.


The couple have three children, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.


Jennifer Gates, writing on Instagram on Monday, said it had “been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family”.


“Thank you for understanding our desire for privacy while we navigate the next phase of our lives,” she wrote.


The surprise announcement comes less than two weeks after the pair appeared virtually at an event for healthcare workers fighting the pandemic.

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