‘Have decided to end our marriage’: Bill and Melinda Gates to divorce with billions at stake
Bill and Melinda Gates have announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage, saying “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the pair tweeted.
Bill Gates is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, and is worth $124 billion.
Gates dropped out of Harvard University to co-found technology giant Microsoft with school friend Paul Allen in 1975. Gates owned 49% of Microsoft at its initial public offering in 1986, which made him an instant multi-millionaire.
The couple established the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. It is one of the world’s largest charitable organizations, with a focus on public health, education and climate change.
Its grants included some $1.75 billion to vaccine initiatives, diagnostics and research during the coronavirus pandemic.
The foundation ended 2019 with net assets of $43.3 billion, the last full-year financials disclosed on its website.
The foundation spent $5 billion in 2019 on programs in the United States and around the world, excluding management costs.
From 1994 through 2018, Bill and Melinda Gates gave the foundation more than $36 billion, according to the foundation’s website. Warren Buffett has donated more than $29 billion of his fortune to the Gates Foundation since 2006, according to filings.
The couple, who have three children, have a custom mansion with a 2020 assessed value of $130.8 million, according to the King County Department of Assessments, on Lake Washington, which lies between Seattle and its eastside suburbs including Redmond, where Microsoft is headquartered.
The financial details of their split remain unclear. They are seeking division of joint assets, according to a separation agreement they have reached, filed in King County Superior Court.