by Morgan Winsor
Taylor Dunn, Aaron
Katerksy and Darren Reynolds
contributed to this
04 May 2021
Bill and Melinda Gates smile at each other
during an interview in Kirkland, Washington,
on Feb. 1, 2019.
Elaine Thompson/AP, FileElaine Thompson
pledged to continue
'philanthropic' work together...
Bill and Melinda Gates announced Monday that they are divorcing
after nearly three decades of marriage but said they will keep
working together at their private charitable foundation, one of the
largest in the world.
"After a great deal
of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made
the decision to end our marriage," they said in identical
statements posted to their Twitter accounts.
"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.
We continue to share
a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at
the foundation, but we no longer believe 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."
The Microsoft co-founder
and his wife will remain co-chairs and trustees of the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a spokesperson for the
"No changes to their
roles or the organization are planned," the spokesperson told
ABC News in a statement Monday.
"They will continue
to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies,
advocate for the foundation’s issues, and set the organization’s
Melinda Gates, 56, filed a petition for divorce in a Seattle
court on Monday.
Bill Gates, 65,
subsequently agreed to join the petition, according to court
documents obtained by ABC News.
The petition states that the couple are already separated and have a
separation contract in place, though the date and terms were not
They do not have a prenuptial agreement, according to the
"This marriage is
irretrievably broken," the petition states.
"We ask the court to
dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended
on the date stated in our separation contract."
The petition requests the
court to divide the couple's property and assets as laid out in the
They have no children under the age of 18 and
spousal support is not needed, according to the document.
file photo taken on May 4, 2001,
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates contends with an ill-fitting hard hat
his wife, Melinda Gates,
on at a groundbreaking ceremony in Seattle.
Andy Rogers/AP, FileAndy Rogers/AP, File
Bill and Melinda Gates have each hired three lawyers to represent
them in their divorce case, according to court documents.
Among the listed counsel
for Melinda Gates is divorce attorney Robert Cohen, who has
previously represented a number of high-profile clients, including
Michael Bloomberg, Dina Lohan, Chris Rock, Uma Thurman and Ivana
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world, with his
fortune currently estimated at around $130 billion, according to
He met his wife in 1987 when she started working at
Microsoft as a product manager.
In her 2019 memoir, "The Moment of Lift - How Empowering Women
Changes the World," Melinda Gates wrote that she won her husband's
heart after meeting at a company dinner party where she beat him at
a math game.
The pair were wed in
Hawaii in 1994.
The couple launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to
tackle 'poverty', 'disease' and 'inequity' around the world. The
'philanthropy' had issued nearly $55 billion in total grant payments
since inception through 2019, according to a fact sheet on its
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