Bill and Melinda Gates have announced that they are ending their marriage after 27 years.
In tweets on Monday from their personal accounts, and signed by the couple, the Gates said that the decision came after a “great deal of thought and work.” But the Gates no longer believe they can grow together as a couple in this “next phase” of their lives.
The Microsoft co-founder met Melinda French after she started at Microsoft in 1987. The two married on Jan. 1, 1994, and raised three children together.
The couple’s focus turned to philanthropy, global health and education with the start of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.
Financial details are not yet clear. Bill Gates owns 1.37% of Microsoft’s outstanding shares, which are worth more than $26 billion, according to FactSet. The couple were creators, along with Warren Buffett, of the Giving Pledge, which involves giving away more than half of their wealth.Last year Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board as the coronavirus became a force around the world. He began spending more time on the nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alongside Melinda Gates. The two are co-chairs and trustees of the foundation, which launched in 2000.
Bill and Melinda Gates met at Microsoft. She had been a marketing manager at the software company. The two got married in Hawaii in 1994 after Bill Gates had weighed the pros and cons on a blackboard.
The announcement comes two years after Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said he and his wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are among the world’s richest people, and Amazon and Microsoft compete in the cloud computing business.
Check back for updates on this developing story.