Bill and Melinda Gates divorce after 27 years of marriage, future of the foundation in question

Bill and Melinda Gates divorce after 27 years of marriage, future of the foundation in question


Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife and philanthropist Melinda announced on Monday that they were divorcing after a 27-year marriage.

As one of the richest couples in the world – with a combined net worth estimated at $ 130 billion – the Gates have donated billions to charities around the globe through their hugely influential foundation.

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife and philanthropist Melinda announced on Monday that they were divorcing after a 27-year marriage.

As one of the richest couples in the world – with a combined net worth estimated at $ 130 billion – the Gates have donated billions to charities around the globe through their hugely influential foundation.

Announcing their split on Twitter, the couple said they would continue their work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds programs for global health, gender equality, education and other causes.

“After much thought and work on our relationship, we made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a joint statement posted on each of their official accounts.

“Over the past 27 years we’ve raised three incredible children and created a foundation that works around the world so everyone can live healthy and productive lives,” they wrote.

“We continue to share our belief in this mission and will continue to work with the Foundation, but we no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

The statement did not provide any additional details about the separation, but said, “We ask for space and privacy for our families as we begin to find our way in this new life.”

The announcement comes two years after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, another of the world’s richest people, and his wife MacKenzie divorced.

Met at Microsoft

65-year-old Bill Gates was a geek teenager when he started the World’s Most Valuable Company. For a time he was the richest man in the world and a prominent philanthropist.

He stepped down as Microsoft CEO in 2008 to devote more time to philanthropy and later left the board, retaining only the title of “Founder and Technology Advisor”.

Melinda Gates, 56, met Bill at Microsoft in 1987 shortly after she joined the tech company, and the couple married in 1994.

Her foundation is among the richest in the world and has provided more than $ 54 billion in grants over two decades in areas such as malaria and infectious disease control, agricultural research, basic health and sanitation in various parts of the world. It has an endowment fund of more than $ 46 billion.

In recent years, Bill Gates has largely distanced himself from Microsoft and the tech industry and instead talked about poverty and health initiatives and the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, the foundation pledged around $ 250 million to fight the pandemic. Part of the funds went towards distributing life-saving doses of Covid-19 vaccines to parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Gates, who warned of the potential dangers of a global pandemic back in 2015, has been the target of conspiracy theorists who claimed he knew about Covid-19 in advance.

The split comes after the high profile divorce from Bezos, whose ex-wife took the name MacKenzie Scott and immediately began giving away billions for various purposes without starting a conventional foundation.

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