Bill and Melinda Gates have announced their decision to divorce after 27 years of marriage. The couple, who first began dating in the 1980s and have three children together, released a statement via Twitter in which they revealed that “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple.” They added that “after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
Bill and Melinda will continue to work together professionally. Together, the couple run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has shelled out billions of dollars to encourage childhood vaccinations and fund medical research against infectious diseases. The statement added that despite their divorce, they’ll continue to work together on this important mission. “[We have] built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue to work together at the foundation.”
They began dating in 1987. That year, Melinda joined Microsoft as a project manager and after sitting together at a business dinner in New York, they began dating. “We cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married,” Bill said in a Netflix documentary. They married in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai.
They have three children together. Bill and Melinda Gates are parents to three adult children, 25-year-old Jennifer, 21-year-old Rory, and 18-year-old Phoebe. Jennifer is an accomplished equestrian and a medical student, though not much is known about the youngest children, who tend to stay out of the spotlight. Jennifer wrote on Instagram following the announcement that “it’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family.” She added: “Thank you for understanding our desire for privacy while we navigate the next phase of our lives.”
It doesn’t seem like there’s any bad blood between them. The sad truth is that many couples do grow apart, even after nearly 30 years. It seems as though their decision to end their relationship won’t impact all the good they’re doing together philanthropically, which is a relief – the world needs more wealthy people eager to make the world a better place.
— Melinda French Gates (@melindagates) May 3, 2021
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