Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, wife Melinda Gates, announce divorce after 27-year marriage

Bill and Melinda Gates meet with women in Jamsaut village in Bihar, India. (Photo: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Prashant Panjiar)

Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, and his wife Melinda, are divorcing after 27 years of marriage.

The couple, who co-chair the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a global health and development charity, announced their split on Twitter, saying they would continue to work together at the foundation.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a joint statement posted by each on their Twitter feed. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works 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. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

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Bill and Melinda Gates during a 2012 visit to a classroom in at South Denver High, where they worked with students on assignments. (Photo: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Michael Hanson)

The couple met in 1987 after Melinda became a product manager at Microsoft and were seated next to each other at a business dinner in New York City. They were married in 1994 in Hawaii.

In a 2019 Netflix documentary entitled “Inside Bill’s Brain,” Melinda laughed about the memory of finding a whiteboard in Bill’s bedroom that listed “the pros and the cons of getting married,” CNBC reported. 

Melinda Gates spent a decade developing multimedia products at Microsoft before leaving to focus on their family and philanthropy, according to the Gates Foundation site. The couple have three children: Jenn, Rory, and Phoebe.

In 2015, Melinda Gates started Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubator  to help solve problems facing women and families. Her book, “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World,” was published in 2019.

In a USA TODAY editorial in 2019, she decried the still-present gender gap. “Based on data from its widely-respected Global Gender Gap Index, WEF estimates that it will take the United States another 208 years to reach gender equality. You read that right. At the current pace of change, gender equality won’t arrive in the U.S. until the year 2227.”

The Gates Foundation, founded in 1994, has more than 1,600 employees, and has issued grant payments of more than $54.8 billion, according to the foundation’s web site.

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