It’s like another Brangelina breakup if you ask the Internet. Bill Gates and Melinda Gates on Monday announced that the couple are divorcing. The Microsoft co-founder and his wife Melinda said that they would continue to work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the worlds largest private charitable foundation. The announcement comes in identical tweets, where they said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years. In a joint petition for dissolution of marriage filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, the couple stated: “The marriage is irretrievably broken.” Bill Gates was formerly the worlds richest person and his fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion. How the couple end up settling their estate and any impact on the foundation will be closely watched, especially after another high-profile Seattle-area billionaire couple recently ended their marriage.
According to Reuters, the divorce filing, which states that the couple have no minor children, comes after the youngest of their three children is believed to have recently turned 18. The spouses asked the court to approve their agreement on the division of assets but did not disclose details.
“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” they announced on Twitter.
That didn’t stop the general public from prying – and for Googling the obvious – how much is each person taking away? One of the top queries on Google India in the last 1 day, spiking at the time of announcement (IST) was the question – ‘Microsoft share price.’
The Gateses were married in 1994 in Hawaii. They met after she began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987.
In her 2019 memoir, The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. She won Bill Gates heart after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math game.
The sprawling Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion. It has focused on global health and development and U.S. education issues since incorporating in 2000.
From 1994 through 2018 Gates and his wife, who is 56, have provided gifts of more than $36 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, the website said.
Last year, investor Warren Buffett reported donating more than $2 billion of stock from his Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.
The Gates Foundation has focused on public health, education and climate. Its initiatives include supporting development of coronavirus vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical treatments as well as support for public radio and the manufacture of solar-powered toilets.
The split comes two years after another leading American billionaire and philanthropist, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos, said that he and his then-wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced.