BILL and Melinda Gates have called it quits after a 27-year marriage, the couple announced on Monday on Twitter.
With the co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft as the fourth richest man in the world, and with the pair having a combined net worth of $130 billion, many are wondering how their assets would be divided in a divorce.
The Sun has seen their court documents, which makes clear they have no prenup. Instead, they have asked the judge to grant their separation date as the official divorce date.
As they have no prenup, it is understood the couple will split their property according to a separation contract.
Bill and Melinda have three children together – Jennifer, Phoebe, and Rory Gates.
On Twitter on Monday, the two wrote: “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,”
The tech mogul added that they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,”
He noted that they had raised “three incredible children” and worked to help people all over the world.
Bill and Melinda met at Microsoft. She had been a marketing manager at the software company.
The two got married in Hawaii in 1994 after Bill Gates had weighed the pros and cons on a blackboard.
Read our Bill Gates live blog below for the very latest news and updates…
BILL AND MELINDA MET BECAUSE THEY WERE LATE TO DINNER
The star power couple originally met by chance after both arrived late to a dinner and sat in the only two empty seats.
In her book, The Moment of Lift, Melinda described how they were both invited to a business dinner and ended up sitting next to each other.
“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,” she wrote in the book.
Melinda was a product manager as the only woman in the first ever class of MBA graduates that joined the company.
She then rose the corporate ladder to become general manager of information products, and eventually met the CEO, Bill.
The two then married in Hawaii in 1994.
WHAT IS BILL GATES’ NET WORTH?
As of May 2021, Gates’ net worth was estimated at roughly more than $130.5billion, according to Forbes.
- Bill Gates co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation.
- In May 2020, the Gates Foundation said it would spend $300 million to fight the coronavirus pandemic, funding treatment, detection and vaccines.
- Gates has sold or given away much of his stake in Microsoft — he owns just over 1% of shares — and invested in a mix of stocks and other assets.
- To date, Gates has donated $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation.
INSIDE BILL GATES’ $80BILLION PROPERTY EMPIRE
Bill Gates’ $80billion property empire now hangs in the balance after he and his wife of 27 years announced they are divorcing.
Properties up for grabs include a $123million mansion with a trampoline room and a $43million oceanfront mansion with a ten-person jacuzzi.
Gates, worth $130.5billion is one of the only eight people in the world worth over $100billion, and is the fourth richest man in the world.
Over the years, he has made lavish purchases which include a $40million private airplane and a large luxury car collection.
WHAT IS MELINDA GATES’ NET WORTH?
Melinda Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman and global advocate who is probably best known for her marriage to Bill Gates.
Melinda is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to the foundation’s website, she “shapes and approves strategies, reviews results, and sets the organization’s overall direction.
She works with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goals.”
The soon-to-be ex-wife of the Microsoft founder is worth $70billion, according to Spear’s.
HOW LONG HAVE BILL AND MELINDA BEEN MARRIED?
Bill and Melinda Gates tied the knot on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai on January 1, 1994 – meaning they’ve been married for 27 years.
They have three children together – Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.
Bill and Melinda met each other in 1987 at Microsoft. Bill had just founded the tech company, and Melinda, who was 24 at the time, had just gotten a job there.
They got married seven years later. A year later, Bill became the richest man in the entire world.
The two went on to found the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 1999 with the mission of fighting “poverty, disease and inequity around the world.”
WHEN DID ANN WINBLAD DATE BILL GATES?
It was at her tech consultant position with Microsoft that Winblad met Gates, and they soon started seeing each other.
After meeting in 1984, the two dated for several years before eventually separating.
After dating the two continued their friendship, as they bonded over their shared love of science and technology.
Gates went on to marry Melinda French in 1994, while Winblad went on to be inducted into the Fortune Small Business Hall of Fame in 2000.
Despite Gates marriage, and his former romantic relationship with Winblad, the two continued to have annual get togethers.
WHO IS ANN WINBLAD?
Ann Winblad is a well-known and respected software industry entrepreneur and leader in technology.
Winblad, who is 70 years old, is a founding partner of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.
Hummer Winblad Venture Partners is a software and web focused venture capital firm based in San Francisco, California
She then told her now-billionaire husband that she didn’t want to keep working after giving birth.
“He was stunned,” she wrote, noting that he responded with, “What do you mean, you’re not going back?”
“And I said: ‘We’re lucky enough not to need my income. So this is about how we want to raise a family. You’re not going to downshift at work, and I don’t see how I can put in the hours I need to do a great job at work and raise a family at the same time.”‘
The philanthropic couple, who founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together in 2000, also share two more children; their son Rory, 21, and daughter Phoebe, now 18.
BILL WAS HORRIFIED WHEN MELINDA DIDN’T WANT TO RETURN TO WORK AFTER GIVING BIRTH
Melinda Gates once wrote that her husband, Bill Gates, was shocked when she didn’t want to go back to work after she had her first baby.
That’s according to her 2019 book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.
One of the areas they may have disagreed was on Melinda’s decision to return to work after giving birth to their first child, Jennifer, 25.
Melinda wrote in her book that after she found out she was pregnant, she considered waiting to tell her husband because they were going on a trip, which Bill rarely relaxed enough to do.
“’When I sat Bill down for the baby talk one morning before work, he had two reactions. He was thrilled about the baby, and then he said: ‘You considered not telling me? Are you kidding?””
BILL GATES’ DIVORCE SENDS ANTI-VAXXERS INTO OVERDRIVE
Bill Gates’ divorce from his wife Melinda has sent anti-vaxxers, QAnon believers and a host of other conspiracy theorists into overdrive.
Microsoft boss Gates and his wife have become a lightning rod for nonsense online propaganda which insidiously spreads across social media.
His post on Twitter sparked a wave of new conspiracy theories – with his message being quote tweeted thousands of times by online crackpots. And this is despite Gates even going as far as to disabling comments, with it instead being shared more than 80,000 times.
Twitter was awash with posts pushing nonsense such as claims Gates is due to be arrested on charges of “crimes against humanity” and bizarre allegations that Melinda had actually be replaced years ago by an actor.
Others attempted to claim the divorce is a “distraction” from something evil going on behind the scenes, and others baselessly claimed that Gates divorce is a sham to help him “hide assets”.
WHAT IS RORY GATES’ NET WORTH?
Rory Gates certainly isn’t poor, with his net worth estimated at around $20million, according to several websites.
But, his dad has stressed that each of his kids will get just a small slice of his multi-billion-dollar wealth.
In the 30 years from 1987 to 2016, Bill and Melinda Gates amassed about $120billion, reported The Conversation in 2018.
During a Reddit Q&A session in 2013, when asked whether it was true he would give Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe $10million each, Bill confirmed that this amount was for their benefit.
WHO IS BILL AND MELINDA GATE’S SON RORY?
Rory Gates, 21, is the only son of Melinda and Bill Gates.
Born in May 1999 in Seattle, Washington, he is reportedly “notoriously private for good reason”, writes Gossip Cop.
The second child of Bill and Melinda, Rory has two sisters – Phoebe, aged 18, and Jennifer, 25.
Like his dad, Rory attended Lakeside High School, an independent, coeducational day school for grades 5-12 in Seattle.
Rory is understood to have graduated from university, and is possibly currently pursuing an MBA degree.
IS BILL GATES RELIGIOUS?
Being married to a Catholic Christian, Bill Gates has attended Catholic services.
He told Rolling Stone: “We’ve raised our kids in a religious way; they’ve gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in.”
“There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”
The blog notes that although “there are other things he could be doing on Sunday mornings, he attends his wife’s Catholic church with her and their children”.
WHAT RELIGION IS MELINDA GATES?
Melinda Gates, 56, is a Roman Catholic.
She attended a Catholic high school whose motto is serviam – I will serve.
The Ursuline nuns taught students that serving even one person makes a difference.
Melinda, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “That’s what faith in action means to me.
“It’s when we turn toward our neighbors instead of away and use our lives to lift up others.
“And it’s something everyone can do – it doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of resources you have. It’s something that comes from the heart.”
WHAT DOES ‘IRRETRIEVABLY BROKEN’ MEAN IN BILL & MELINDA’S DIVORCE DOCS?
Divorce documents reveal Bill and Melinda’s union has been “irretrievably broken” – which are the “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end a marriage.
Ultimately, this term means the relationship can no longer work, explains Donna Hung Law Group in the US.
It implies they are seeking a no-fault divorce, which allows either spouse to file for a marriage dissolution as the marriage is irretrievably broken – and can’t be fixed.
It also means this can be done without having to prove the other spouse was engaged in certain acts, such as cruelty or abandonment, to justify ending the marriage.
Legal papers obtained by The Sun show that Melinda, 56, filed for the divorce, and said that the “parties are separated”.
MELINDA ‘IS A TRULY EQUAL PARTNER’ BILL SAYS
Marking 25 years of marriage in 2019, Bill and Melinda sat down for the Netflix documentary Inside Bill’s Brain and spoke about their marriage.
“In the case of Melinda, it is a truly equal partner,” Bill said. “She’s a lot like me in that she is optimistic and she is interested in science.
“She is better with people than I am. She’s a tiny bit less hardcore about knowing, you know, immunology, than I am,” he joked.
For Valentine’s Day in 2020, Bill Gates posted an Instagram photo showing him standing with his arm around Melinda, with the caption reading “I couldn’t ask for a better partner on this journey.”
COUPLE FELL IN LOVE AFTER CHANCE MEETING AT DINNER PARTY
Bill and Melinda Gates fell in love when she beat him at the murder mystery board game Cluedo after meeting at a company dinner party.
The couple’s romance started after talking at the dinner party in New York City in 1987 and grew when she beat him at puzzle competitions.
Melinda revealed in her 2019 book “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World” that the pair “talked over dinner” that evening and Bill asked her out a few days later in the parking lot.
She said: “He struck up a conversation and asked me out two weeks from Friday. I laughed and said: ‘That’s not spontaneous enough for me. Ask me out closer to the date’ and gave him my number.
“I think he got intrigued when I beat him at a math game and won the first time at Clue, the board game where you figure out who did the murder in what room with what weapon.”
BILL GATES, THE FOURTH RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD
The Microsoft co-founder, the world’s fourth-richest man with a networth of $124 billion, currently owns 1.37 percent of Microsoft’s outstanding shares, which are worth more than $26 billion.
Bill created a pledge with Melinda and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett called the Giving Pledge, which would involve anyone who signed on to give more than half of their wealth to charitable causes.
The couple decided to move $20 billion worth of Microsoft stock to their foundation as they wanted to increase their commitment to philanthropy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has more than $51 billion in assets and has invested more than $1.75 billion to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bill is the world’s fourth richest person, behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Tesla’s Elon Musk.
BILL GATES HIRES WARREN BUFFET’S LAWYER PAL
Bill Gates has hired Warren Buffet’s lawyer pal in his $124billion divorce from Melinda – but they don’t have a prenup.
The firm representing Bill was founded in 1962 by legal eagle Munger, 97, who has known business investment tycoon Buffett since 1959.
Munger, who is also divorced and worth a cool $2.2 billion, according to Forbes, isn’t listed as one of the lawyers on the case but he’s close with Gates
The tech mogul had been a board member of Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway until last year, where Munger is vice chairman and the two men became friendly.
BILL ONLY PERSON ON EARTH WHO ‘DOESN’T COMPLAIN ABOUT WIFE’
Although Bill and Melinda are splitting after 27 years of marriage, a friend said the two are always going to be good friends.
“It doesn’t feel like there’s any inequality, even though he’s the one who started Microsoft and not her,” said Mike Slade, a friend of the couple.
“He appreciates everything about her as opposed to complaining about her.”
“I’ve never heard him complain about her. He’s the only person I know on this earth who I’ve never heard complain about his wife,” Slade added.
In the first episode of the 2019 Netflix docuseries Inside Bill’s Brain, Bill referred to Melinda as “totally my partner.”
LORD SUGAR TAKES SWIPE AT BILL GATES OVER HIS DIVORCE
Lord Sugar took to Twitter to poke fun at Bill Gates after he announced he and wife Melinda are divorcing.
The businessman caused a stir on social media with his Microsoft-inspired swipe.
“Lawyers must be licking their lips,” Lord Sugar typed.
“I wonder if they will use Excel for the calculations. For sure they will use Word for legal communication most probably sent by email using Outlook.”
Some annoyed users hit back, with one responding: “Very quick to jump and make jokes about other people’s misfortunes.”
HOW OLD IS MELINDA GATES?
Melinda Gates was born August 15, 1964 in Dallas, Texas.
She is 56 years old.
Melinda and Bill got married in 1994 and were together 27 years before announcing their divorce.
CLAUDIA CONWAY RIPS DAD FOR WADING INTO BILL GATES’ DIVORCE
Claudia Conway has ripped her dad for wading into Bill Gates’ divorce by asking “who gets the talking paper clip?”
Her comments came just months after she claimed that her mom was filing for divorce from George, but decided to “put on a show.”
On Tuesday morning, just hours after Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce, George quipped “who gets the talking paper clip in the divorce.”
Claudia quickly hit out at her dad, retweeting his comments and saying “this is so ironic.”
The teenager made the divorce claims in a documentary that she linked to in her TikTok bio.
JENNIFER GATES RESPONDS TO PARENTS’ SPLIT
Jennifer Gates, the 25-year-old daughter of Bill and Melinda Gates, posted on Instagram that her family has been experiencing “a challenging stretch of time.”
“Hi friends, by now many of have heard the news that my parents are separating,” she wrote.
“I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so.”
She added that she won’t personally comment on her parents’ separation but said she thanked those who sent her messages and kind words during this time.
MOST EXPENSIVE DIVORCES EVER REVEALED
No one says “I do” at the altar believing that, one day, they’re going to end up in a legal fight with their spouse about who gets to keep the private jet.
But despite having every resource available to make a marriage work, billionaires do end up in divorce proceedings like the rest of us — with Bill and Melinda Gates the latest power couple left wondering how they’ll carve up their $130bn fortune.
It’s thought the divorce will be the most expensive since Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’ split from MacKenzie Scott in 2019, in which he paid out around $38billion.
From sports stars’ separations to tech tycoons’ secret trysts, click here for some of the biggest billionaire divorces in history.
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