All you need to know about Bill and Melinda Gates getting divorced. What will happen to their wealth?
That’s right. At the beginning of May, Bill and Melinda Gates officially announced their divorce with a simple tweet. Apart from serving as an inspiration to many, one of the things that the couple has worked extremely hard on is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which managed to transform our perception of how wealthy individuals put in the philanthropic effort as well). But what’s going to happen with the family foundation and the remainder of their wealth after the pair separates?
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates are unfortunately calling it quits. Many of us are probably shocked and many are wondering what happens next. This duo has shared their life with us for the last two decades, giving money to education, global health, and plenty of other causes with the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And like that wasn’t enough, let’s also remember Bill and Melinda, together with billionaire Warren Buffet established The Giving Pledge, which is a campaign aiming to convince the rich to donate most of their wealth.
Bill Gates wrote in the divorce announcement tweet: “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have decided to end our marriage. 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.”
This specific divorce was very unexpected, especially to those in the tech and donation world, where the couple is pretty popular. Bill and Melinda will be dividing their wealth, which comes to about $124 billion. But what’s going to happen to the foundation with about $50 billion endowments?
Here are all the important details:
Melinda and Bill’s marriage lasted for 27 years
Feel unaccomplished yet? These two managed to stay together for so long while building together and then giving back. Pretty impressive, right? They were first introduced in 1987 through Microsoft, of course, where Bill was the co-founder and CEO when Melinda was hired at the company as a marketing manager for multimedia products (some of those you might know are the Encarta multimedia encyclopedia and the unsuccessful Microsoft Bob software). Then they tied the knot in 1994 and afterward had three children all while residing in their mansion on Lake Washington in Seattle’s suburbs.
They started the Foundation back in the year 2000 and it has now become the most successful private charitable organization worldwide.
Even though Melinda could probably rely on everything she and her husband have done so far, back in 2015 she additionally started Pivotal Ventures, which is an investment firm aiming to help females and families within the United States.
The couple didn’t mention what the reason for the split was
We still don’t know what happened between Mr. and Mrs. The tweet read: “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives.” Way to avoid being specific! In the divorce petition, which Melinda filed, it’s stated that “This marriage is irretrievably broken.”
Bill and Melinda’s first daughter, Jennifer Gates, took to IG Stories to explain that: “It’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family. I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as family members at this time.”
Moreover, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Melinda has been communicating with lawyers since 2019. WSJ also released information that the previous revelations of Bill and Jeffrey Epstein’s (the convicted sex offender) relations were at least one of the reasons why she asked for a divorce. It turns out that Melinda was concerned about Jeffrey and Bill’s relations and as the New York Times disclosed back in 2019, Bill and Jeffrey met “many times” since their first meeting back in 2011. Bill has since stepped in and said that he didn’t have any business relationship with Epstein and even added that the two weren’t even friends.
There’s the other rumor going around recently that Bill had previously told his golf buddies that his marriage was “loveless” and that he and his now-ex “were living separate lives”.
Even though the announcement of the couple’s split took us all by surprise, even more unexpected is the fact that Bill and Melinda don’t have a prenuptial contract. Let us note that they tied the knot back in 1994 but Bill was the wealthiest person in the United States by that point and he possessed more than $9 billion net worth, as reported by Forbes. Melinda’s petition for divorce mentioned that the spouses have a “separation contract” and she requested that “the court dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract.”
The Gates’ cash is already being divided as well
On the day that the news about the divorce broke out, Bill Gates transferred Melinda $1.8 billion worth of stocks.
As reported by the Securities and Exchange Commission, on May 3 Cascade Investment (which is Bill’s investment company) transferred more than $1.8 billion worth of stock to Melinda Gates. The transfer consists of more than 14 million shares of Canadian National Railway (which come to about $1.5 billion) and around 2.9 million shares in AutoNation (which come to approximately $309 million), revealed Bloomberg.
The couple confirmed that they’ll keep working at their foundation
In the tweet, the billionaires shared: “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 the next phase of our lives.” The foundation released a statement, which claimed that both Bill and Melinda will keep developing the foundation’s strategies, work for the causes and navigate wisely. We should also keep in mind that Bill is 65 and his wife is 56, so we should admire the fact that they’re still grinding at it and trying to improve while overcoming their personal obstacles.
The duo has been grinding away the pandemic
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s main goal is to improve general public health, which is also addressed in Melinda’s biography “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World”. The foundation brought in $1.75 so far to help deal with Coronavirus, as stated on its website. More than $680 million is allocated to aid inefficient transmission and support responses in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Since Bill’s already pretty famous and the amount of cash he’s donated to help the pandemic is significant, this has caused many people to believe fake conspiracy theories, which state that the billionaire is trying to vaccinate individuals so he can control everyone. Back in 2020, surveys showed that the conspiracy theories surrounding the Microsoft co-founder were the most popular in the first months of the ‘lockdown’. In a column by Mr. Gates dating back to March 31 last year, he commented on then-President Donald Trump’s administration pointing out that “there’s no question the United States missed the opportunity to get ahead of the novel coronavirus.”