Bill and Melinda Gates are splitting up after 27 years
Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, and his wife, Melinda Gates, have announced their separation after 27 years. They informed that they would continue to work together on their philanthropic efforts that address health care, education, gender equality, and more. The former couple released a statement saying that they "no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives."
"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 read. "We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."
The couple started the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. It is one of the most powerful organizations in global public health that has spent over $50 billion in the past two decades. They would remain as co-chairs and trustees of the foundation. "They will continue to work together and set the organization's overall direction," the statement issued by the foundation said.
The couple has three children together -- Jennifer, 25, Rory, 22, and Phoebe, 19. Jennifer said her family was going through "a challenging stretch of time." "I'm still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so," she wrote on her Instagram Story.
Melinda had joined as a product manager at Microsoft in 1987. The two met for the first time at a business dinner party in New York that year. Both of them began dating and then got married in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. They also reportedly hired local helicopters to make sure that there were no unwanted guests flying over.
Bill Gates is currently fourth on the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest individuals. His net worth is estimated to be $124 billion. So far, there is no confirmation about the financial details of their split. Bill and Melinda are looking for a division of joint assets, according to a separation agreement. Court documents also revealed that the couple didn't have a prenuptial agreement.
Though no details are available, it's reported to be one of the most expensive divorces. The most expensive divorce in history, however, has been of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott. They split up in 2019, after which Scott received a 4% stake in Amazon, worth over $35bn. She donated nearly $6bn to charity. Through this, Scott became the world's third-richest woman.