SEATTLE – Bill and Melinda Gates announced on Monday that they are divorcing.
The Microsoft co-founder and his wife, who launched the world’s largest charitable foundation, said they would continue to work together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In identical tweets, they said they made the decision to end their 27-year marriage.
“We have raised three amazing children and built a foundation that works around the world to enable all people to lead healthy and productive lives,” they said in a statement. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
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 children. She won Gates’ heart after she met at a business dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math match.
The Seattle-based couple’s vast foundation is arguably the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $ 50 billion. Since it was incorporated in 2000, it has focused on global health and development and US education issues.
The couple married in 1994 in Hawaii. They met after joining Microsoft as a product manager in 1987.
Last year, Bill Gates, formerly the richest person in the world, said he would step down from the Microsoft board to focus on philanthropy.
Gates was Microsoft CEO until 2000 and has since gradually reduced his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. He went from a daily role at Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.
The Gateses will be the second high-profile billionaire couple in the Seattle area to end their marriage in recent years.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos finalized their divorce in 2019. MacKenzie Scott has since remarried and is now focusing on her own philanthropy. It received a 4% stake in Amazon, worth over $ 36 billion.