27 years after tying the knot, the knot finally came undone for Bill and Melinda Gates. On Monday, May 3, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and his first wife Melinda Gates (formerly French,) announced that they were separating for the first time since their 1994 marriage.
In a Twitter post from the influential couple, they stated “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”
Despite marrying in 1994, the pair first met in 1987 while Melinda was a product manager of Microsoft. Forbes reported that they are the fourth richest couple on the Earth, with Mr. Gates, 65, holding a net worth of $129 billion.
In addition to Microsoft, the power couple have devoted their lives to philanthropy and their organization, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This foundation actually donated two cameras to the Oakland Mills journalism class a few years ago.
The New York Times reports that their divorce will have little to no effect on the foundation, and the couple will continue to work as trustees and co-chairs of the organization.
“(The Gates) have assured me of their continued commitment to the foundation that they have worked so hard to build together over the past 20 years,” Mark Suzman, the chief executive of BMGF, told employees.
Aside from personal relationship struggles, court documents obtained by People Magazine cited that the divorce was brought on due to the marriage being “irretrievably broken.” The divorce was reportedly in the works since October 2019, with the official announcement being planned to be made in March before a series of events got in the way.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” the couple tweeted in the same post announcing the divorce.
$130 billion dollars will be split between the couple, who have given birth to three children.