Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda French Gates, through their official and verified Twitter accounts, announced ending their marriage, after 27years.
Bill, 65, and Melinda Gates, 56, met at Microsoft — which Bill Gates founded and was, at the time, running as CEO. She started as a product manager as the only woman in the first class of MBA graduates to join the company and eventually rose through the ranks to become general manager of information products.
They met shortly after she joined the company in 1987, at a business dinner in New York. She described the encounter in her book, “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.” The couple married in Hawaii in 1994 and have three children together – Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe.
In a message on the Microsoft founder’s Twitter account, the couple said they made the decision to split after “a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship”.
“Over the last 27 years, 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. 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. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life”, Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in a statement that Bill Gates tweeted out.
Melinda Gates filed a petition for divorce in King County, Washington, on Monday, asking a judge to dissolve the marriage based on the couple’s separation contract. No financial details were included in the publicly available documents.
Financial details of the Gateses parting ways are not yet clear. Bill Gates owns 1.37% of Microsoft’s outstanding shares, which are worth more than $26 billion, according to FactSet. Bill Gates is the world’s fourth-richest person, behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault, and Tesla’s Elon Musk, according to Forbes.