Bill, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, and Melinda, author and businesswoman, announced their decision to separate after 27 years of marriage in a statement tweeted from their personal accounts.
“Over the past 27 years, we have raised three amazing children and built a foundation that works around the world to enable everyone to lead healthy and productive lives,” the statement read. “We continue to share our belief in this mission and we will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our life.
The couple also requested privacy during this time.
– Melinda French Gates (@melindagates) May 3, 2021
Bill Gates, 65, founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen. His net worth is estimated at $ 130.5 billion, according to Forbes, and he donated $ 35.8 billion in Microsoft shares to the couple’s foundation.
He announced last year that he would be stepping down from the Microsoft board to focus full-time on his work as the foundation’s co-chair.
Melinda Gates, 56, is Founding Co-Chair and Founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company that focuses on advancing the interests of American women and families.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $ 5.1 billion to beneficiaries in 135 countries in 2019 and employs 1,602 people, according to its website.
In 2020, the foundation announced it is committing more than $ 1.75 billion to support the global response to COVID-19.
Since its inception, the foundation said it has provided more than $ 54.8 billion in direct payments.
The Gates is the second high-profile divorce among the tech ultra-rich in recent years. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Scott separated in 2019 after 25 years of marriage.
Scott, an author and philanthropist, then donated $ 5.7 billion of her fortune in 2020 to charities focused on racial justice and food insecurity. She married Dan Jewett, who worked as a chemistry teacher at her children’s school, earlier this year.