Bill and Melinda Gates have made a decades-long agreement that the Microsoft boss could spend a long weekend on the beach with his venture capitalist ex-girlfriend every year.
The strange arrangement is raising eyebrows as one of the richest couples in the world after 27 years together goes their separate ways and is building a fortune of $ 130 billion.
Bill, 65, and venture capitalist Ann Winblad, 70, dated in the 1980s but broke up in 1987, the same year he met future wife Melinda. Ann was reportedly more ready to get married than Bill as he worked day and night to build his billion dollar Microsoft empire.
However, the pair retained a friendship and in 1997 parted Time magazineBill said, “When I was just thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval.”
She approved, and the former lovers kept – with Melinda’s blessing – their annual vacation alive, with Bill spending a long weekend with Ann at her beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
The couple spend their vacation each spring with dune buggies, hang gliding and walking on the beach.
Bill Gates dated venture capitalist Ann Winblad, 70, in the 1980s, but broke up in 1987, the same year he met his future wife Melinda.
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce on Monday after 27 years of marriage
The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife shared the news with identical statements on Twitter
“We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” said Bill in the 1997 interview.
Ann was reportedly more ready to get married than Bill as he worked day and night to build his billion dollar Microsoft empire
Ann said, “We share our thoughts about the world and about ourselves. And we marvel at how, as two young stars, we embarked on a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and put us at the center of an amazing universe. ‘
Bill and Ann first met in 1984 at a Ben Rosen-Esther Dyson computer conference.
While in different cities, they started ‘virtual dates’ by going to the same movie at the same time and talking about it on their cell phones. She even convinced him to stop eating meat for a short time.
They broke up three years later, but in the TIME Magazine piece, Ann was quoted to Bill as saying that Melinda would be “ a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina. ”
The pair even teamed up, and in 1999 Bill joined Hummer Winblad Venture Partners with Ann.
Bill and Melinda both posted the same joint statement about their divorce on Twitter Monday, which read, “ After a lot of thought and a lot of work, we made the decision to end our marriage.
Over the past 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and created a foundation that works around the world to empower all people to lead healthy and productive lives.
‘We continue to believe in that mission and will continue to work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life. ‘
In papers filed in Washington state, Melinda, 56, described their relationship as ‘irretrievably broken’
Bill and Ann first met in 1984 at a Ben Rosen-Esther Dyson computer conference. While in different cities, they started ‘virtual dates’ by going to the same movie at the same time and talking about it on their cell phones. She even convinced him to stop eating meat
Bill made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest billionaire ever. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year. He is shown, left, in 1985, aged 29, and she is shown, right, in 1995, the year after they were married
The couple’s eldest daughter, 25-year-old Jennifer Gates, has spoken publicly on social media about the ‘challenging period’ the family has recently endured. Neither of their two other adult children commented.
No other details have been given as to why the couple is breaking up, but court papers show that the couple had no prenuptial agreement when they married in 1994 – putting their $ 130 billion fortune at the center of the split.
In the divorce petition, filed Monday in the Superior Court of Washington – King County, Melinda asked the judge to dissolve the marriage “on the date stated in our divorce contract.” The divorce contract was not included in the filing, so that date is unclear.
Melinda says in the petition that spousal support is “not necessary” – meaning she doesn’t want to request regular payments from Bill, but will reach a settlement that is likely to be privately negotiated, if not already decided.
Lawyers are shocked that there was no marriage contract, as Bill had already made his first billion dollars at the age of 31 in 1987 – the same year he met Melinda. Now their countless assets are there for the taking.
While the couple does not have a marriage contract, it appears that much of the work of dividing their estate – including properties in five states, a private jet, an amazing art collection, and a fleet of luxury cars – has already been done, as their divorce Papers repeatedly refer to a ‘divorce contract’ that both have signed. The contract itself has not been made public.
Melinda filed for divorce from Bill on Monday in the Superior Court of Washington – King County. In the petition (photo) she described their marriage as ‘irretrievably broken’
The pair were photographed during a Zoom performance on April 19 at One World: Together At Home, a special broadcast in support of health workers
The announcement comes less than two weeks after they last appeared virtually in public at a COVID health worker event.
Bill was already a billionaire, he married Melinda in the early 1990s.
He founded Microsoft in 1975 and became the youngest billionaire in the world in 1987 at the age of 31. He also met Melinda that year when she was working at the company where he worked as CEO.
They got married six years later, but he reflected on it and, according to previous interviews with Melinda, even made a list of pros and cons for marriage on a whiteboard.
In 2000 they founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the most influential private foundation in the world with endowment work of nearly $ 50 billion.
For the past year, the foundation has focused on the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
In December, the foundation had allocated a total of $ 1.75 billion for the global response to pandemics.
In their statement on Monday, the Gates vowed to continue that work together after their split.
The reason behind their split after more than a quarter of a century remains a mystery, but Melinda has previously suggested that her husband had difficulty reconciling work and family life.
Bill and Melinda Gates have signed a divorce contract – but what is that?
In their divorce filing, Bill and Melinda Gates make it clear that they do not have a prenuptial agreement – but the papers repeatedly refer to a ‘divorce contract’ that will divide their estate.
A divorce contract, or divorce agreement, is a legally binding document drawn up by divorcing couples prior to their split, in which they agree on how to split their lives – including custody and access to children, debt, and property.
It is governed by contract law, which means that either party can sue the other for breach of contract if the agreement is broken.
Signing a divorce contract allows a couple to divide their assets by mutual agreement, rather than going to court.
For the average couple, this means saving money on attorneys’ fees. For Bill and Melinda Gates, it avoids a lengthy, public process that may reveal details about their private lives.
However, a divorce agreement is not necessarily final and a judge can overrule it if he finds the contract unfair to the children involved, unfair to one of the partners, or that a partner has not fully disclosed what assets or income should be divided. .