Bill and Melinda Gates said on Monday they decided to divorce after 27 years of marriage, but will continue to work together at their named charity in a publicly shocking announcement.
Microsoft founder Bill Bill and Melinda, a writer and businesswoman, announced the decision to split up in a similar statement posted on their Twitter account.
“Over the past 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works around the world for everyone to lead a healthy and productive life,” the statement reads. Believe in that mission and will continue to work together at the foundation But we don’t believe that we can grow together as a couple in this life̵7;s future. ”
The couple met at Microsoft and married in Hawaii in 1994, asking for privacy.
The joint petition for termination of the marriage, filed by the couple in King County Superior Court in Seattle, states: “The marriage is irreparable.”
The couple asked the court to approve a property division agreement. But details were not released, according to a Reuters report.
– 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 has donated $ 35.8 billion worth of Microsoft shares to the couple’s foundations.
He announced last year that he would step down from Microsoft’s board of directors to focus on his full-time career as co-chair of the foundation.
Melinda Gates, 56, is the Foundation’s Co-Chair and founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company focused on promoting the interests of American women and families.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched in 2000, is the largest private charity in the United States and one of the largest in the world with net assets of $ 43.3 billion at the end of 2019, according to the website.
The foundation donated $ 5.1 billion to recipients in 135 countries in 2019 and employs 1,602 people.
In 2020, the Foundation has announced that it will provide more than $ 1.75 billion to support the global response to COVID-19.
Since its inception, the foundation said it has awarded more than $ 54.8 billion in direct payments focused on health, development and climate activities.
The pair “will continue to work together to define and approve the foundation’s strategy, support the foundation’s issues, and determine the overall direction of the organization,” the Gates Foundation said in a statement.
The Gates is the second most notorious divorce among tech riches in recent years, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Scott separated in 2019 after 25 years of marriage.
Scott, author and philanthropist, donated $ 5.7 billion of wealth 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.
David Callahan, founder of website Insider Philanthropy and author of ‘The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age’, said it was too early to know how the Gates Foundation would be impacted by divorce.
Melinda Gates, who recently took the name Melinda French Gates, has turned its attention to women and girls and is backed by Scott in the $ 40 million Gender Equality Fund, which will receive its first award later this year.
“Can you imagine two separate songs, where they are both working together at the foundation and each running an independent charity outside the foundation?” Sittichai told the Associated Press.
“Nobody knows what the terms of their divorce settlement are. But if Melinda Gates ends up in some wealth and turns to establishing her own foundation, it will be one of the largest foundations in America. ”