Bill and Melinda French Gates
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have gotten divorced after 27 years of marriage. A Monday filing with the King County Superior Court in Washington made the move official, three months after the couple announced their plan to split up.
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates were among the most prominent couples in global business, having once worked together. They traveled together and participated in joint media interviews. Melinda French Gates had been uncomfortable with her husband’s connection with billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein, and after media outlets published details of the bond between the two men, she hired divorce lawyers, The New York Times reported in May.
Monday’s filing says neither spouse asked for a name change, but it doesn’t give insight into everything that will be changing. A separation contract was not filed with the court.
While the two have agreed to keep working together on philanthropy, it’s possible that collaboration will also end along with the marriage. Last month the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where the two are co-chairs and trustees, said Melinda French Gates will resign if after two years either of the two concludes that they cannot work together.
Bill Gates started Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975 and Gates served as CEO, and Melinda French Gates worked at Microsoft from 1987 to 1996. The two met in 1987 and were married in 1994, and their foundation launched in 2000.
In 2019 Microsoft received a report that Bill Gates had tried to start an intimate relationship with an employee in 2000, and a board committee ran an investigation with help from a law firm, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC earlier. Gates left Microsoft’s board in early 2020, but a spokesperson for Bill Gates told the New York Times that his decision to step down was not related to the affair.
Today Bill Gates is the world’s fourth wealthiest person, with a $152 billion net worth, according to Bloomberg. Since the Gateses said they would be going their separate ways, filings show that Bill Gates’ holding company Cascade Investment has transferred AutoNation and Deere shares to Melinda French Gates.