Bill and Melinda Gates announced Monday that they are separating after 27 years of marriage.
They announced their divorce with separate statements posted to Twitter, which said they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”
Two years prior, they both appeared in a three-part
documentary series called “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,” which primarily focused on Bill Gates’ philanthropy work but also shed light on the former couple’s decades-long relationship.
During one episode, the series director, Davis Guggenheim, asked Bill what his biggest regret would be if he was “hit by a bus today” and died. After pausing for a short period, he said: “You know, thanking Melinda.”
Bill and Melinda Gates.
Earlier in the episode, the pair discussed the early stages of their relationship.
Melinda, who joined Microsoft as a product manager, said that when Bill initially asked her out, he inquired if they could go out “two weeks from tonight.”
She replied: “That’s not spontaneous enough for me. Call me like two days before or something.”
After taking her number, Bill ended up calling her that same day.
“I was new to Microsoft. There were a lot of men there. You know, you’re still looking around, you’re still figuring it out,” Melinda said.
Speaking of the time, Bill said: “When we first met, she had other boyfriends and I had Microsoft. We were like, ‘Hey we’re not really serious about each other are we? We’re not going to demand each other’s time. But after about a year of that, sort of to our surprise, certainly my surprise, we said, ‘Hey, I love you,’ and she said she loved me and then it was like, wow. Now, what’s going to happen?”
During the episode, Melinda continued to reveal that as the couple’s relationship intensified, Bill expressed concerns about his ability to be both a husband and the head of Microsoft.
“Bill wanted to be married, but he didn’t know whether he could actually commit to it and have Microsoft,” she said.
The pair finally married on New Year’s Day 1994 in Hawaii. They have three children together, including one who is a nationally ranked equestrian showjumper.
Around the time that the pair met, Microsoft had a market cap of around $35 billion. Now, that figure is almost $2 trillion. According to Forbes, Bill Gates has an estimated net worth of $124 billion, which grew from $98 billion in 2020.
Details about Bill and Melinda’s divorce are still unclear, but the resulting settlement is likely to be one of the largest ever recorded. When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Scott, split in 2019, their settlement was $38 billion. The settlement made Scott the world’s third-wealthiest woman.