Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates have announced that they are ending their 27-year old marriage. The pair took to Twitter to reveal the split on their respective verified accounts.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the statement reads.
The two are founders of a philanthropic organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that they started in the year 2000. According to the foundation’s website, they have spent $ 58.8 Billion on a wide range of humanitarian initiatives relating to global health, poverty alleviation, and more.
On Monday, Melinda Gates filed a divorce petition in King County, Washington, asking the judge to dissolve her marriage to Bill on the basis of the couple’s separation contract. The two have however vowed to continue working together at their foundation.
“We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” the statement reads. “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.”
Bill Gates has for a while been ranked as one of the richest people on earth. According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index ranking, Bill’s net worth stood at $137 Billion as of February 2021.
Bill, 65, and Melinda, 56, met at Microsoft in 1994, where Bill was at the time running as CEO. She started off as a product manager and was the only woman in the first class of MBA graduates to join the company. She eventually rose through the ranks to become general manager of information products.
In her book, she describes her meeting with Bill as “The Moment of Lift”: “I showed up late, and all the tables were filled except one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. I sat in one of them. A few minutes later, Bill arrived and sat in the other.”
Melinda Gates is also the sole founder of investment firm Pivotal Ventures.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” the pair said in their statement Monday.