Bill and Melinda Gates announced Monday the surprising news on their divorce. Last year, Bill Gates said he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board to focus on philanthropy.
Despite the divorce, they will keep working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations on the planet.
On Monday, the couple from Silicon Valley wrote identical tweets, in which the Microsoft co-founder and his wife said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 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,” they said in a statement. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
The couple tied the knot in 1994 in Hawaii after seven years of close relations. They met after Melinda began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987.
Gates and COVID-19 pandemic
As the public face of the foundation’s COVID-19 grants and advocacy work, Bill Gates has come under fire for being a staunch supporter of intellectual property rights for vaccine makers. While the tech icon says protecting the shots’ recipes will ensure incentives for research and development, critics claim that mentality hampers supply in favour of drug corporation profits.
Bill was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. The billionaire transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.