Melinda Gates, who once called herself “incredibly lucky” to be married to husband Bill Gates, has now changed her tune after filing for divorce from the tech billionaire. The couple announced their split on their respective social media accounts on May 3 after 27 years of marriage, writing that they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.” The pair met back at a Microsoft work dinner in 1987, where Melinda was a product manager and Bill was co-founder and CEO, per 9 News. The two married in Hawaii in 1994 and had three children — Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 19 — which they acknowledged as being “incredible” in their joint split statement. 

Melinda has previously opened up about her marriage to the world’s second richest man (Jeff Bezos knocked him off the pedestal in 2017) in her 2019 autobiography, “The Moment of Life.” At the time, she told The Sunday Times how “hard” it was to get the balance right between “work and family life,” but said, in spite of it all, they eventually achieved “total equality,” per USA Today. And when it comes to their divorce proceedings, the billionaire pair also seem to have a mutual understanding about their finances and assets, despite having no prenup per the New York Post. 

Court documents show that Melinda and Bill have a “separation agreement,” which is signed at the end of the marriage and outlines the terms of the split. While everything appears to be amicable on the surface, legal papers also revealed the reason behind Melinda’s petition for divorce. 

Melinda Gates says 'the marriage is irretrievably broken' in court documents

Melinda Gates has suggested she and Bill Gates will never be able to repair their long-running relationship, calling it “irretrievably broken” when providing a reason for their divorce. Legal papers also say: “We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract,” per The Sun. Melinda also wrote that “spousal support is not needed” (per People) — perhaps unsurprising given the Gates fortune is estimated at over $124 billion with her personal net worth at around $70 billion according to Spear’s. 

Melinda worked at Microsoft for the first 10 years of her career after receiving her MBA but eventually left the company to “focus on her family and philanthropic work,” according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website. She has also since launched her own social enterprise, Pivotal Ventures, which invests in social progress projects, per ABC.

While Melinda and Bill’s personal relationship may have suffered, their professional ties will continue to flourish as the couple said they plan to continue working together at their multi-billion-dollar foundation. Over the past year, the pair have spear-headed talks on the COVID crisis and assisted in the development and distribution of vaccines worldwide, per 9 News. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also explained in a statement that there will be “no changes” to their roles or the organization and that they will continue to “advocate for the foundation’s issues.”

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