Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates announced the decision to end their marriage after 27 years, saying, “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives”. Bill and Melinda revealed their decision of taking divorce in a joint statement which was shared by the Microsoft co-founder on Twitter. “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable people to lead healthy, productive lives,” read the statement.
However, the duo said they will continue to work together at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Both Bill and Melinda had already made giving away their wealth through philanthropy a shared priority and said that they will continue to work together at their foundation,” the statement said.
“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 the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” it said.
With Microsoft’s explosive growth, Bill had turned the world’s richest person two decades ago. He has since lost that title, partly by donating money to philanthropic causes. He was overtaken also due to the growth of other companies. Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos, Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk and Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault and his family take the three top spots on the Forbes wealth list, with Gates at No. 4.
The couple established the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. It is one of the world’s largest charitable organizations, with a focus on public health, education and climate change. Its grants included some $1.75 billion to vaccine initiatives, diagnostics and research during the coronavirus pandemic.The foundation ended 2019 with net assets of $43.3 billion, the last full-year financials disclosed on its website.
The couple, who have three children, have a custom mansion with a 2020 assessed value of $130.8 million, according to the King County Department of Assessments, on Lake Washington, which lies between Seattle and its eastside suburbs including Redmond, where Microsoft is headquartered.
The financial details of their split remain unclear. They are seeking division of joint assets, according to a separation agreement they have reached, filed in King County Superior Court.
As one of the few US states with so-called “community property” laws, Washington presumes that most property acquired over the course of a marriage belongs jointly to the spouses and is divided equally in a divorce.