Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. Here’s a look inside their 27-year marriage, from meeting at work, to having 3 kids, to spending $45 billion on philanthropy.

Bill and Melinda Gates
Bill and Melinda gates are splitting up, the Microsoft co-founder announced on Monday.

Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced.

The billionaire Microsoft founder announced his plans to separate with his wife of 27 years on Monday.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” Bill Gates said in a tweet. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”

Bill and Melinda Gates have been married since 1994, raised three kids, are worth $130.5 billion, and run a namesake philanthropic enterprise boasting a $49.8 billion endowment.

Here’s a look at the marriage between Bill and Melinda:

Bill and Melinda first met in 1987, when she joined Microsoft as a product manager.

bill melinda

Bill asked her if she could go out “two weeks from tonight” — to which Melinda replied, “Two weeks from tonight? I have no idea what I’m doing two weeks from tonight.’ And I said, ‘You’re not spontaneous enough for me.”

Source: Business Insider

Melinda gave Bill her number and told him to call her closer to the day he had in mind.

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business Insider

Instead, he called her up later that night with a wry question: “Is this spontaneous enough for you?” Turns out, it was.

Melinda French Gates

Source: Business Insider

Melinda and Bill dated for seven years before they wed. Melinda told Fortune her mom didn’t think that seeing the CEO was a good idea in the beginning.

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

But the couple didn’t listen. Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback reported they “kept a low profile at work and asked colleagues and family members to respect their privacy.”

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business InsiderSeattle Times, Business Insider

“When I look back, Bill was the same kind of guy I was hanging out with in college,” Melinda told Fortune. “I had a lot of respect for them, and they had respect for me.”

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business InsiderFortune

“I was definitely attracted to his brilliant mind, but beyond that, his curiosity,” she told Fortune. “And he has a huge sense of fun. I love that wry side of him.”

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business InsiderFortune

After they were engaged, Bill and Melinda traveled to Africa in late 1993. During the trip, they encountered people in extreme poverty.

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: TEDBusiness Insider

On a walk on a beach in Zanzibar, Melinda told TED in an interview, the couple “started to talk about” how they might use their fortune to help others.

zanzibar beach

Source: TEDBusiness Insider

That’s when the idea that would ultimately become the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began to take root.

Melinda Gates

Source: Gates Notes

“It’s not fair that we have so much wealth when billions of others have so little,” Melinda wrote, in one of the couples’ annual letters.

Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates.

Source: Gates Notes

The couple married in 1994 in what was then Manele Bay Hotel in Hawaii. They tied the knot by the “par-3 12th hole” on the property’s golf course, according to Forbes. The event reportedly cost $1 million.

Bill Gates Melinda wedding

Source: Business Insider, EasyWeddings.com, Forbes, People magazine, Business Insider

To keep the wedding private, Bill booked all the rooms in the hotel, along with all of the helicopters on the island of Maui to “prevent unwanted visitors from flying over,” Forbes reported.

Bill Gates Melinda wedding

Source: Business InsiderEasyWeddings.comForbes

Bill’s parents gifted the newlyweds with a sculpture of two birds, sitting side-by-side and staring at the horizon. “It’s still in front of our house,” Melinda wrote in the couples’ 2018 annual letter. “I think of it all the time, because fundamentally we’re looking in the same direction.”

two birds love winter

Source: Gates Notes

The next year, the couple’s lavish home – nicknamed “Xanadu 2.0” – was completed in Medina, Washington. The mansion’s estimated worth was $124 million in 2016.

Bill Gates House Property

Source: Business InsiderThe Economic Times

The couple has raised two daughters and a son – and didn’t let any of them own a cellphone until they were 14, according to The Mirror.

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, The Mirror

Bill told Rolling Stone the children were raised Catholic. “We’ve raised our kids in a religious way,” he said. “They’ve gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in.”

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Rolling Stone

Bill and Melinda would read books from a range of genres to their kids as they grew up, from “Guess How Much I Love You” to “Fahrenheit 451.”

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business Insider

Gates has said his wife is a driving force when it comes to bringing the family together. “Melinda is very creative about helping me find chances to spend time with the kids,” Gates wrote in a 2017 Reddit AMA. “Even just driving them to school is a great time to talk to them.”

bill gates

Source: Reddit

Each of the Gates’ kids will inherit about $10 million of their parents’ $98.1 billion fortune, while much of the rest will go to charitable causes.

Bill Gates Jennifer Gates

Source: Business InsiderTED, Bankrate.com

“We want to strike a balance where they have the freedom to do anything but not a lot of money showered on them so they could go out and do nothing,” Bill told TED.

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business InsiderTED, Bankrate.com

The Gates also support their kids in other ways. The couple spent $37 million purchasing a string of Wellington, Florida properties in 2016. The reason? Their daughter Jennifer is a nationally ranked show jumper, and the Florida town is the equestrian capital of the US.

Jennifer Gates

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, Business Insider

Melinda has said her relationship with her husband has changed over time. “We’ve had to change to really be coequals,” she said. “It’s not something that immediately happens overnight, but we’re both committed to it.”

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Business InsiderFortune

Melinda said the couple still did the dishes together every night to keep the partnership equal.

bill and melinda gates

Source: Business Insider

According to Melinda, Bill was used to being in charge from his Microsoft days when they first started the foundation.

Bill and Melinda Gates
Melinda and Bill Gates.

Source: Gates Notes

But these days, Bill and Melinda work as partners at the foundation. They both received Presidential Medals of Freedom in 2016 from President Barack Obama for their efforts.

Melinda Bill Gates

Source: Business Insider, The White House

They work to make sure their schedules are synchronized, complimentary, and balanced. “Melinda and I look over our schedules a lot to make sure we are balancing things well,” Gates wrote in a 2018 Reddit AMA.

Bill Gates

Source: Reddit

In response to a question about how the couple handles arguments, Melinda jokingly wrote “we never disagree” in the Gates’ 2018 annual letter.

Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Bill Gates Sr., Mimi Gates

Source: Gates Notes

“Our occasional disagreements these days are over tactics. Because I’ve been a public figure longer, and because I’m a man, some people assume I am making the big decisions. That’s never been the case,” Bill wrote in the Gates Foundation’s annual letter for 2018.

Bill and Melinda Gates TED

Source: Gates Notes

Melinda added that the couple avoids serious disagreements by sharing fundamental values, trust, and a sense of open-mindedness.

Bill and Melinda Gates
Melinda and Bill Gates.

Source: Gates Notes

Warren Buffett, who is close with the couple, told Fortune that Bill was “smart as hell, obviously,” but that “in terms of seeing the whole picture,” Melinda was smarter.

Bill Gates Melinda Warren Buffett

Source: Fortune, Business Insider

In a Reddit AMA, Gates disclosed that his wife and Buffett were his two favorite celebrities…

Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett speaks to the media with Bill and Melinda Gates June 26, 2006 at a news conference where Buffett spoke about his financial gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York City.

Source: Reddit

… followed by Bono and Jimmy Carter. He added that Nelson Mandela was the most impressive political leader he’s ever met.

bono munich security conference 2017
Musician Bono from U2 reacts at the opening of the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Source: Reddit

When it comes to their working partnership, Bill wrote that the perception that Melinda is “the heart” of the organization is a bit of a stereotype, in the 2018 annual letter.

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Gates Notes

“Just as she knows I’m more emotional than people realize, I know she’s more analytical than people realize. When I get really enthusiastic about something, I count on her to make sure I’m being realistic.”

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Gates Notes

“Melinda and I believe that everyone deserves the chance for a healthy and productive life – and so with the help of our amazing partners, we are working to find innovative ways to help people in need all over the world,” Bill wrote during one of his Reddit AMAs.

Bill Gates Melinda

Source: Reddit

Bill announced on May 3 the couple made the decision to end their marriage.

 

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” Bill Gates said in a tweet. “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”

Source: Twitter

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