Bill and Melinda Gates to separate after 27 years of marriage – CNET

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates are calling it quits. 


Getty Images

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, two of the world’s most powerful philanthropists, are splitting up. For the past two decades, the pair has pushed for causes ranging from global health to education through their self-named foundation. The couple, along with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, also founded The Giving Pledge, a campaign encouraging wealthy people to give away the bulk of their money.  

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the Microsoft cofounder shared on Twitter. “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 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,” the tweet continues. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

Gates made his fortune through Microsoft, the software giant he co-founded. He is the world’s fourth-richest person with a net worth of $124 billion, according to Forbes.

Bill and Melinda met shortly after Melinda began working at Microsoft in 1987.

“It took him quite a few months before he finally asked me out,” Melinda said during a 2016 interview with Robin Roberts.

A three-part 2019 Netflix documentary called Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates focuses on Bill’s post-Microsoft life as philanthropist and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and briefly explores the couple’s relationship. 

“She’s a lot like me in that she’s optimistic and she’s interested in science,” Bill says in the documentary. “She’s better with people than I am. She’s a tiny bit less hardcore about knowing immunology than I am.”

Melinda added, “We have a lot of humor in our relationship and we can joke about things.”

Since 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent $53.8 billion “fighting the greatest inequities in the world,” according to the foundation website. Last April, the foundation said it was putting its “total attention” on the coronavirus pandemic while remaining committed to its core areas such as reducing infectious disease, eliminating extreme poverty and improving US public education. Last May, the foundation pledged $125 million toward the international effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 diagnostics, therapies and vaccines.

Melinda Gates, a longtime gender equality advocate, has also warned about the toll the pandemic is taking on women around the world, from interfering with access to pre- and post-natal care to increasing the weight of family care-related unpaid labor. At this year’s South by Southwest conference, she advocated a paid family medical leave policy in the US, which she said is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic as some women are driven to drop out of the labor force due to caregiving responsibilities.

The news comes two years after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott said they were divorcing. A signatory to The Giving Pledge, Scott has since become an active contributor to food banks, emergency funds and services for the vulnerable, giving away $4 billion in one four-month stretch. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *