Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda – two of the world’s most powerful philanthropists – end their marriage. Over the past two decades, the couple have advocated for causes ranging from global health and education to their self-proclaimed foundation. The couple, along with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, also founded The Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage the wealthy to give most of their money.
“After a lot of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we made the decision to end our marriage,” the Microsoft co-founder said Tuesday. on Twitter. “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.
“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 tweet continued. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life. “
In a statement, the foundation said the duo will continue to shape the organization’s strategies, champion its causes and set its direction. Bill Gates is 65, Melinda Gates is 56.
A divorce petition filed by Melinda Gates, published by Yahoo Finance, notes that the couple have a separation agreement and asks that property and debts be divided “as stated in our separation agreement.” Gates reportedly said in the petition: “This marriage is irretrievably broken. We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our conjugal community has ended on the date indicated in our separation contract. ”
Jennifer Gates, the couple’s eldest daughter, shared a statement via Instagram Stories that read in part: “It’s been a tough time for our whole family. I am still learning how to best support my own process and emotions, as well as family members at this time. “
Bill Gates made his fortune with Microsoft, the software giant he co-founded in 1975. He is the fourth richest person in the world, with a net worth of $ 124 billion, according to Forbes. Gates left his daily role at Microsoft in 2008, andlast year to focus on philanthropic efforts.
The couple met shortly after Melinda Gates started working at Microsoft in 1987. They were married on January 1, 1994.
“It took her several months before she finally asked me out,” Melinda said in a 2016 interview with Robin Roberts.
A 2019 three-part Netflix documentary titledfocuses on Bill Gates’ post-Microsoft life as a philanthropist and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and briefly explores the couple’s relationship.
“She’s a lot like me in that she’s optimistic and interested in science,” Bill Gates says in the documentary. “She’s better with people than I am. She is a little less fervent than I am in the knowledge of immunology. “
Melinda Gates added, “We have a lot of humor in our relationship and we can joke about things. “
Since 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent $ 53.8 billion to “tackle the world’s greatest inequalities,” according to the foundation’s website. In April 2020, the foundation said it wason the while remaining committed to its key areas such as reducing infectious diseases, eradicating extreme poverty, and improving public education in the United States. In May 2020, towards the international effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 diagnostics, therapies and vaccines.
Melinda Gates, longtime gender equality activist, alsoglobally, from interference with access to antenatal and postnatal care to the increased burden of unpaid family care work. At this year’s South by Southwest conference, she advocated in the United States, which she says is even more critical during the pandemic, as some women have had to drop out of the workforce due to their caregiving responsibilities.
The news comes two years after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott announced their. A signatory to The Giving Pledge, Scott has since become an active contributor to food banks, emergency funds and services for the vulnerable. in a four month stretch.