After 27 years of marriage, it was announced that the richest couple in the world, Microsoft founder: Bill, and Melinda Gates have decided to divorce – dividing assets of over $130 billion.
The famous duo initially met in New York in 1987 and proceeded to date for 7 years before tying the knot. They met whilst Melinda was working at Microsoft, starting out as a project manager.
The couple, who have three children together, declared in a Twitter statement that while they “have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” they are no longer able to “grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives.”
With inconceivable wealth and financial success, the pair have dedicated substantial portions of their wealth to charity and even established ‘The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ during the turn of the Millennium in Seattle, Washington. The foundation is the world’s largest private charitable enterprise and has focused primarily on aid for people in extreme poverty and poor health. They have poured more than $36 billion into their charitable endeavours between 1994 and 2018, towards causes such as curing HIV/AIDS, eliminating Malaria and Tuberculosis and perhaps most infamously, the eradication of Polio.
Throughout the Pandemic of COVID-19, the foundation has also put $1.75 billion towards the study needed for vaccination programmes.
Crucially, while Bill’s success had given the couple a springboard for their success in the charity sector, Melinda’s role in the foundation and campaigning has shown them to be “equal partners,” in her words. She has been an instrumental figure in female empowerment, and a particular role model for those who juggle the double-life as a career-driven individual and domestic life as a mother.
Bloomberg reported that on the day the pair announced their divorce, Cascade Investments, a holding company owned by Bill Gates transferred a total of more than $2 billion in stocks and shares.
Her own foundation: ‘Pivotal Ventures’, established in 2015, is particularly invested in giving women better social mobility through opportunities across the US. Melinda’s feminist voice has been an active part of the success of her foundation as she advises:
One of her most recent campaign headlines with Pivotal Ventures is, ‘Put women at the centre of economic recovery” after COVID.
Bill and Melinda’s marriage may be the end of a longstanding personal partnership but will not taint their legacy of charitable triumph; nor will it bring the end of their professional partnership as part of the ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.’