Melinda Gates felt 'alone' in marriage to Bill and they ‘agreed to disagree in private’

BILL Gates' wife Melinda felt "alone" and isolated in their 27-year marriage before the Microsoft mogul confirmed their divorce yesterday.

In a 2017 interview, the other half of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation opened up about the reality of being married to her tech billionaire husband before describing how isolated she felt in her 2019 book.

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In The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, Melinda wrote: "When we first had [our daughter] Jenn, I felt very alone in our marriage.

"Bill was CEO of Microsoft at the time. He was beyond busy; everyone wanted him, and I was thinking, 'OK, maybe he wanted to have kids in theory, but not in reality."'

But Melinda said they then carved out more "equal" roles and a partnership,"which included Bill driving Jennifer to school several days a week.

Melinda's comments surfaced as:

  • Bill and Melinda Gates confirm divorce after 27 years together
  • We look at Gates' $80billion property empire
  • The Microsoft mogul's huge net worth is revealed
  • Big tech's biggest divorces – from Bezos to Musk

Speaking to former Washington Correspondent Tian Wei two years before her book was published, Melinda said: "Bill and I we're both ambitious. We both have a vision for where we want to go in the future.

"We've learned to work things out. And if you disagree on something, I don't thing any couple in the world, right – you need to have some healthy tension in a relationship.

"We don't agree on every single business thing but what we do is we agree to disagree in private and we work that out in private, and when we show up at the foundation, it's a completely unified voice and unified message.

"That works well for the whole organization so they're not wondering oh does Bill want this and Melinda wants that. That just doesn't work."

The ex-couple announced that they were getting divorced in a statement on Monday after Melinda previously admitted that she felt "alone" in the marriage.

After welcoming their first daughter Jennifer, Melinda felt increasingly distant from Bill, who spent all his time at Microsoft and left the parenting duties to her.

The legal papers obtained by The Sun reveal that Melinda, 56, filed for the divorce, and said that the "parties are separated" – and the documents state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."

"We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract," they read.

There also appears to be no prenuptial agreement, as the filing states that the only written agreement that relates to the divorce is the aforementioned separation contract.

Bill has reportedly hired his billionaire lawyer friend Charlie T Munger, 97, to represent him and it has emerged that the couple did not get a prenup when they tied the knot in 1994.

The tech mogul who once described his attorney and pal as the "broadest thinker he has ever met," is represented by three lawyers from Munger Tolles & Olson including Charles.

Melinda has a team of four New York-based attorneys from Cohen Clair Lane Griefer Thorpe & Rottenstreich LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. 

She does not appear to be asking for any spousal support from the 65-year-old Microsoft co-founder, who's said to be worth about $124billion.

The couple's eldest daughter, Jennifer, 25, commented on the divorce in an Instagram story shortly after her parents went public.

"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 wrote.

"I won't personally comment further on anything around the separation, but please know that your kind words and support mean the world to me."

Jennifer is the eldest of the Gates' three children. Her brother, Rory, is 22 and her sister, Phoebe, is 19.

Melinda previously admitted to The Sunday Times that being with Bill was often “incredibly hard” when they marked 25 years of marriage.

“When he was having trouble making the decision about getting married, he was incredibly clear that it was not about me.

"It was about ‘Can I get the balance right between work and family life?”’ she said in 2019.

The pair met when Melinda joined Microsoft in 1987 at a business dinner in New York City, and after a year of dating, it was reported that Bill had to make a pros and cons list about getting married.

Tech mogul Gates, who has become a leading figure in the fight against Covid-19, was the richest man in the world until Amazon's Jeff Bezos knocked him off his perch in 2017.

Although he's given $5billion to charity since 1994, Gates is earning money at a faster rate than he's donated it, according to reports.

Now, the bombshell divorce is calling the Gates fortune into question because a lot of it has not been given to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation headed by the couple.

She formalized the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 and the couple has forked out $45billion addressing major global issues, like gender equality and poverty.

According to Spear's, Melinda's net worth is around $70billion.

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