bill gates and melinda gates divorce
Bill And Melinda Gates Announce Divorce
Enlarge this image toggle caption Elaine Thompson/AP Elaine Thompson/AP
Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, announced on Monday that they are splitting after 27 years of marriage.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the couple wrote in a joint statement posted on Twitter.
Bill Gates is reportedly worth upward of $130 billion and is considered to be the world’s fourth-wealthiest person. He stepped down as a board member of Microsoft, which he founded with Paul Allen in 1975, in March 2020.
“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 pair added. “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 two currently chair the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, now the world’s largest private charitable foundation. Since its founding in 2000, Bill Gates has donated about $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the global organization, according to Forbes. The foundation funds projects to reduce poverty and improve health in the developing world.
Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a grinding halt, the Gates Foundation announced it would spend $300 million to fight the spread of COVID-19 and to develop new treatments and a vaccine.
Melinda Gates, who was formerly a general manager at Microsoft, has opened up about the challenges in her marriage. In her 2019 book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, she wrote about the unique struggles of being a mother and the wife of one of the world’s richest men, and she also tackled the broader issue of women’s inequality in and out of marriage in the United States.
“I chose to write my story so that hopefully people and women and men could relate to me and understand that, yes, these issues exist in every single marriage,” she told NPR’s Michel Martin in 2019.
As part of her effort “to start tackling these inequities for women and the barriers in the United States,” she established an office called Pivotal Ventures, which is separate from the foundation, she said.
NPR is among the organizations supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Bill and Melinda Gates file for divorce, shaking philanthropic world
Billionaire benefactors Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of one of the world’s largest private charitable foundations, filed for divorce on Monday after 27 years of marriage, saying they had reached an agreement on how to divide their assets.
In a joint petition for dissolution of marriage filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, the couple stated: “The marriage is irretrievably broken.”
But the foundation said Bill Gates, 65, who co-founded Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), and Melinda Gates would continue to work together in their existing roles as co-chairs and trustees of the organization.
The divorce filing, which states that the couple have no minor children, comes after the youngest of their three children is believed to have recently turned 18. The spouses asked the court to approve their agreement on division of assets but did not disclose details.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the two said in a statement posted on each of their individual Twitter accounts.
“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” they said.
Launched in 2000, the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one world’s biggest, with net assets of $43.3 billion at the end of in 2019, according to the latest full-year financials shown on its website.
From 1994 through 2018 Gates and his wife, who is 56, have provided gifts of more than $36 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, the website said.
Last year, investor Warren Buffett reported donating more than $2 billion of stock from his Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.
1/7 Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda sit during an interview in New York February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo Read More
The Gates Foundation has focused on public health, education and climate. Its initiatives include supporting development of coronavirus vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical treatments as well as support for public radio and the manufacture of solar-powered toilets.
JOINT FOUNDATION WORK TO CONTINUE
The pair “will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues and set the organization’s overall direction,” the Gates Foundation said in a statement.
The split comes two years after another leading American billionaire and philanthropist, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos, said that he and his then-wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced.
Gates dropped out of Harvard University to start Microsoft with school chum Paul Allen in 1975. Gates owned 49% of Microsoft at its initial public offering in 1986, which made him an instant multimillionaire. With Microsoft’s explosive growth, he soon became one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.
After an executive tenure in which he helped transform the company into one of the world’s leading technology firms, Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in 2000 to focus on philanthropy. He remained chairman until 2014 and left the company’s board in March 2020.
Known in the technology industry as an acerbic and ruthless competitor, Gates drew the ire of rivals and eventually the U.S. government for Microsoft’s business practices.
The software giant was convicted of antitrust violations in the late 1990s. But the verdict was overturned on appeal, and the company then settled the case out of court.
Gates' public persona softened into an avuncular elder statesman as he turned his attention to philanthropy, and he has largely steered clear of the many controversies currently roiling the technology business.
Gates' spouse, who recently began referring to herself as Melinda French Gates on most websites and social media, was raised in Dallas and studied computer science and economics at Duke University. She later joined Microsoft, where she met her future husband.
In 2015 she founded Pivotal Ventures, an investment company focused on women, and in 2019 published a book, “The Moment of Lift”, centered on female empowerment.
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Bill and Melinda Gates divorcing after 27 years of marriage
SEATTLE — Bill and Melinda Gates said Monday that they are divorcing but would keep working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world.
In identical tweets, the Microsoft MSFT, -0.13% co-founder and his wife said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 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,” they said in a statement. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Bill Gates was formerly the world’s richest person and his fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion. How the couple end up settling their estate and any impact on the foundation will be closely watched, especially after another high-profile Seattle-area billionaire couple recently ended their marriage.
From the archives: Melinda Gates: Being married to Bill Gates is ‘incredibly hard’ sometimes
Amazon AMZN, -2.33% CEO Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos finalized their divorce in 2019. MacKenzie Scott has since remarried and now focuses on her own philanthropy after receiving a 4% stake in Amazon, worth more than $36 billion.
The Gateses were married in 1994 in Hawaii. They met after she began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987.
In her 2019 memoir, “The Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. She won Bill Gates’ heart after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math game.
She also detailed the ways they navigated imbalances in their marriage and parenting journey and noted how working together at the foundation made their relationship better.
“Bill and I are equal partners,” Melinda Gates said in a 2019 interview with The Associated Press. “Men and women should be equal at work.”
Also: Why Melinda Gates’s $1 billion pledge for women and girls is a game-changer
The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion. It has focused on global health and development and U.S. education issues since incorporating in 2000.
While both are global figures, Melinda Gates has increasingly built her profile as a champion of women and girls. The former tech business executive launched her private Pivotal Ventures investment and incubation company in 2015 and recently partnered with Scott for a newly announced equity challenge.
David Callahan, founder of the Insider Philanthropy website and author of “The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age” says it’s too early to know how the divorce will affect the Gates foundation and the wider philanthropic community.
Although the couple say they will continue to work together at their foundation, Callahan suggests Melinda Gates could still pursue her own philanthropic work.
“You can imagine two separate tracks where they’re both working together at the foundation, and each is pursuing their own independent philanthropy outside the foundation,” Callahan said.
He said the possibility of Melinda Gates opening another philanthropic foundation would have a dramatic impact.
“Nobody knows what the terms are of their divorce agreement. But if Melinda Gates ends up with just some portion of that wealth and turns to creating her own foundation, it would be among one of the biggest foundations probably in America,” Callahan said.
As the public face of the foundation’s COVID-19 grants and advocacy work, Bill Gates has come under fire for being a staunch supporter of intellectual property rights for vaccine makers. While the tech icon says protecting the shots’ recipes will ensure incentives for research and development, critics claim that mentality hampers supply in favor of drug company profits.
Last year, Bill Gates said he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board to focus on philanthropy.
He was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.