Bill Gates and Melinda Gates have announced on May 4 that they will get a divorce, ending their marriage of 27 years. In identical statements published on Twitter, the former world's richest and his wife informed about the separation and urged for "space and privacy" during the process. The statement also read — 'we no longer feel we are able to grow as a couple in this next phase of our lives.' The couple said that their work with their charity foundation will continue.
Bill met Melinda when she started working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987. They got married in 1994 in Hawaii and have three children - Jennifer (25), Phoebe (18) and Rory (21). As reported by The Daily Mail, their children will receive $10 million each as the couple have already pledged to give most of their fortune away before they die.
From luxury mansions to a fleet of cars and jets, the Microsoft co-founder's fortune is estimated at well over $130 billion, according to Forbes. The divorce will be the largest division of assets since Jeff Bezos' split from his wife MacKenzie in 2019. How the couple ends up settling their estate will be closely watched as the court filings revealed that the couple has no prenup agreement. However, the divorce papers, signed by both, refer to a 'separation contract' as per the Daily Mail.
The reports also added that the Gates empire includes mansions in five states, including their main family home in Washington, which is known as Xanadu 2.0, worth an estimated value of $125 million. They also own a fleet of cars including a rare $2 million Porsche and a series of private jets. Their fortune includes another rare item that is a $30 million book of writings and sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci. Besides his five homes, Gates also owns a massive agriculture portfolio as the report mentioned that he is now the biggest private owner of farmland in the US, with 242,000 acres across 18 different states. Their Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is said to be the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion.
Last year, Bill Gates said he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board to focus on philanthropy. He was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.