The couple have three children together.
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On Monday, the Microsoft co-founder took to the social media platform to let his followers know that he and Melinda were ending their marriage.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” Gates said in a statement that was written in conjunction with his soon-to-be ex-wife. “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,” they added. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
According to The Independent, Gates met his wife in 1987, when Melinda was just four months into her job at Microsoft. The two sat next to each other at an Expo-trade fair dinner in New York, although Gates reportedly didn’t ask Melinda out until months later. The two eventually got engaged in 1993, shortly before Melinda’s mother passed away of breast cancer. Her death inspired the creation of the William H. Gates Foundation — later rebranded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is now reportedly the world’s largest private charitable foundation with a trust endowment of $49.8 billion.
In 1994, the Gates married on New Year’s Day in Hawaii. In a 2019 interview with Business Insider, Melinda reflected on their marriage, asserting then that the key to a strong relationship was having a “balanced partnership,” where each person divided the hours of “unpaid” work to taking care of the household. In another interview with The Sunday Times, however, she also admitted being married to Gates was “incredibly hard” sometimes, citing the latter’s struggle to find a work-life balance.
The Gates have three children together: Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.