Bill and Melinda Gates: goodbye to the 'simple' mega-rich couple
The fourth richest man in the world and the fifth most powerful woman, according to Forbes magazine, said this Monday, May 3, 2021, after almost three decades of marriage, that they had reached an agreement on how to divide their lives ... and their assets.
"After thinking a lot and working hard on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the two said in a statement posted on each of their individual Twitter accounts.
The divorce filing in court in Seattle, which states that Bill and Melinda Gates have no minor children, not only ends a billion-dollar relationship. It also raises questions about the future of his huge philanthropic project.
Launched in 2000, the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is considered the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the largest in the world.
The Gates Foundation said in a statement that it "will continue to work together to shape and endorse the foundation's strategies, advocate for its issues and establish the overall direction of the organization."
With net assets of $ 43.3 billion at the end of 2019, according to the most recent financial data published on his website, it is estimated that between 1994 and 2018, Gates and his wife provided donations of more than $ 36 billion.
The Gates Foundation has focused on public health, education, and the climate. Its initiatives include supporting the development of coronavirus vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical treatments, as well as supporting public radio and the manufacturing of solar-powered toilets.
A multi-million dollar divorce
The Gates married in 1994 in Hawaii. They met after she started working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987. In her 2019 memoir, “The Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life, and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and love. from home with three children. She won the heart of Bill Gates after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles, and beating him at a math game.
Their split comes two years after the world's richest man and American philanthropist Jeff Bezos and his then-wife MacKenzie took the same step.
The founder of Amazon.com Inc. agreed to give his wife a quarter of his stake in the company, valued at about $ 36 billion. Now Mackenzie Scott, a writer by profession, has a fortune of close to 60,000 million dollars and is ranked 22 of the world's billionaires.
The Gates divorce could be considered of similar proportions. The Microsoft founder has an estimated fortune of $ 130 billion.