BILL and Melinda Gates have called it quits after a 27-year marriage, the couple announced on Monday on Twitter.
With the co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft as the fourth richest man in the world, and with the pair having a combined net worth of $130 billion, many are wondering how their assets would be divided in a divorce.
The Sun has seen their court documents, which makes clear they have no prenup. Instead, they have asked the judge to grant their separation date as the official divorce date.
As they have no prenup, it is understood the couple will split their property according to a separation contract.
Bill and Melinda have three children together – Jennifer, Phoebe, and Rory Gates.
On Twitter on Monday, the two wrote: “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,”
The tech mogul added that they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,”
He noted that they had raised “three incredible children” and worked to help people all over the world.
Bill and Melinda 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.
Read our Bill Gates live blog below for the very latest news and updates…
A ‘TIME’ LINE: BILL AND MELINDA BECOME TIME PERSONS OF THE YEAR
In December 2005, Time Magazine named Bill and Melinda Gates as the Persons of the Year along with U2 singer Bono, calling all three of the “The Good Samaritans.”
Earlier that year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $750 million improving child immunizations, accelerating new vaccines, and strengthening vaccine delivery systems.
“We’re grateful that Time recognizes the importance of the world’s inequities, whether they are in the United States or thousands of miles away,” the couple said in a statement at the time.
“We realize that we’ve been extremely fortunate in business, and we want to give back in ways that can do the most good for the most people. But we also believe that everyone has something to offer — time, money, or energy — that can help others,” they added.
Bill Gates, the fourth richest man in the world with a networth of about $123 billion, is also the largest landowner in the United States.
Gates owns nearly 270,000 acres of land across more than 12 states, with the largest in Louisiana.
Eric O’Keefe, The Land Report‘s editor, wrote in a January piece: “Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, has an alter ego: Farmer Bill, the guy who owns more farmland than anyone else in America.”
Last year Bill and Melinda launched a Nonprofit Agricultural Research Institute, known as Gates Ag One, which is based in the greater St. Louis area.
WHAT ARE THE MOST EXPENSIVE DIVORCES? (CONT.)
Divorces don’t need to be in the billions to be expensive – just ask these couples below that experienced some of the most expensive divorces in history.
Swiss socialite Jocelyn Dayannys da Silva Bezerra Périsset married horse-racing expert Alec Wildenstein, whom she met while on safari in Kenya.
Following a bitter domestic dispute between the two involving Wildenstein pulling a gun on Jocelyn, a divorce ensued.
A two-year divorce battle followed, in which Jocelyn was ultimately given a $2.5billion settlement and $100million every year for 13 years afterward.
NBA hero Michael Jordan married Juanita Vanoy at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas in 1989 and ended up going through two separate divorce sagas with her.
Vanoy received a $168million settlement, which made it the most expensive celebrity divorce at the time, eclipsing Neil Diamond’s 1995 divorce from Marcia Murphey which cost him an estimated $150million.
WHAT ARE THE MOST EXPENSIVE DIVORCES?
Although Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce might be the most expensive one ever recorded – even potentially dropping Bill from the fourth richest man on earth to the 17th in a 50-50 split – there have been plenty of expensive ones in the past.
Perhaps the most famous example was the split between the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Scott, in which Scott received $35.6billion in Amazon stock.
She became the third-richest woman in the world at the time, and now is to the richest as her net worth rocketed to $62billion by late 2020 thanks to Amazon’s value exploding during the pandemic.
Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi arms dealer who built a $4 billion fortune, divorced Englishwoman Sandra Daly in 1974 — in a reported $874 million split, which was the most expensive in history at the time.
Elin Nordegren divorced golf legend Tiger Woods in 2010 for a reported $110million.
BILL AND MELINDA LIMITED THEIR CHILDREN’S SCREEN TIME
The tech couple tried to limit their three children’s screen time as much as possible at home – even as Bill Gates’ Microsoft had boosted him to the world’s richest man position in the 1990s.
“We often set a time after which there is no screen time,” Bill once told the Mirror.
“And in their case, that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour.”
He added that their kids didn’t get cell phones until they were teenagers.
“We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn’t give our kids cell phones until they were 14, and they complained other kids got them earlier,” he explained.
BILL ‘SHOCKED’ THAT MELINDA DIDN’T WANT TO GO TO WORK AFTER GIVING BIRTH
Bill Gates apparently was upset with Melinda after she told him she didn’t want to immediately return to work after giving birth to their first child Jennifer.
Melinda wrote in her book that after she found out she was pregnant, she considered waiting to tell her husband because they were going on a trip, which Bill rarely relaxed enough to do.
“‘When I sat Bill down for the baby talk one morning before work, he had two reactions. He was thrilled about the baby, and then he said: ‘You considered not telling me? Are you kidding?’”
She then told her now-billionaire husband that she didn’t want to keep working after giving birth.
“He was stunned,” she wrote, noting that he responded with, “What do you mean, you’re not going back?”
“And I said: ‘We’re lucky enough not to need my income. So this is about how we want to raise a family. You’re not going to downshift at work, and I don’t see how I can put in the hours I need to do a great job at work and raise a family at the same time.'”
BILL THE FARMER… AND SPORTS CAR DRIVER
Bill is the largest private owner of farmland in the United States, with deed for 242,000 acres spread across 18 states.
He also has a fleet of sports cars in his possession that could be split between him and wife Melinda Gates.
They include a rare $1.5 million Porsche 959, a Jaguar XJ6, a Ferrari 348 and an electric Porsche Taycan.
They also have a collection of writings and sketches by artist Leonardo Da Vinci, called the Codex, worth around $25 million.
The couple also owns a series of plush private planes, including two Gulfstream jets, two Bombardier Challenger 350s, a Cessna Seaplane and a collection of helicopters.
In addition, Gates owns an art collection which includes an oil painting by Winslow Homer purchased for $30 million and a George Bellows piece worth $23 million.
“HE KNEW HE’D MET HIS MATCH” WRITES MELINDA IN BOOK
In her 2019 book, The Moment Of Lift, Melinda wrote of how the two met at a business dinner when they both sat next to each other after both arriving late.
She also wrote of how they two fell in love.
“He urged me to read The Great Gatsby, his favorite novel, and I already had, twice,” she wrote.
“Maybe that’s when he knew he’d met his match. His romantic match, he would say. I knew I’d met my match when I saw his music collection — lots of Frank Sinatra and Dionne Warwick.”
BILL WOULD BE 17TH RICHEST MAN IN 50-50 SPLIT OF ASSETS
Bill Gates, now the fourth richest man in the world, could become the 17th richest man in the world should he and Melinda split their assets 50-50.
The couple has a combined net worth of about $130 billion, and they didn’t sign a prenup before marriage.
Washington state, where they live, requires that any wealth made during the marriage be split equally between the two parties if there is no prenup.
Both Bill and Melinda have hired three separate law firms to split their assets.
HOW WOULD THE GATES’ SPLIT THEIR ASSETS?
The billionaire philanthropist couple, with a combined net worth of almost $130 billion, have already secured three lawyers each in how they would split their assets.
Rumors have surrounded how Bill, the fourth richest man in the world, and Melinda would split their assets, with many pointing to the couple’s lack of a prenup when they got married.
As both live in Washington, the state has a specific law requiring an equal split of 50-50 of any wealth created during the marriage.
WHAT IS CHARLIE MUNGER’S NET WORTH?
Munger has an estimated net worth of $2.1billion.
The executive is also a philanthropist and has reportedly donated $110million to the University of Michigan to fund a new “state of the art” residence hall.
He has also donated $65million to the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, making it the largest donation in school’s history.
Munger and his second late wife Nancy previously donated 500 shares of Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock, then valued at $43.5million in 2004, to Stanford to build a graduate student housing complex.
WHO IS CHARLIE MUNGER?
Soon to be divorcé Bill Gates has hired Charles Munger to manage his billion-dollar split from Melinda.
The 97-year-old lawyer frequents the same social circle as he is close pals with billionaire Warren Buffett.
Charles Munger is a billionaire American businessman, investor, and real estate attorney. He is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett.
The duo are best friends and have known each other since Munger met Buffett at a dinner party in 1959.
Coincidentally, Munger worked at Buffett’s grandfather’s grocery store, Buffet & Sons when he was a teenager.
WHAT DID BILL GATES AND HIS EX DO ON THEIR NC TRIPS?
While in North Carolina, the former couple would ride dune buggies, hang-glide, enjoy long walks on the beach, and “play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology” Bill revealed during the bombshell 1997 interview.
“We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,” Winblad explained.
“And we marvel about how, as two young overachievers, we began a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and it landed us at the center of an amazing universe.”
It isn’t clear how long or if these yearly trips continued after this interview.
JENNIFER GATES RESPONDS TO PARENTS’ SPLIT
Jennifer Gates, the 25-year-old daughter of Bill and Melinda Gates, posted on Instagram that her family has been experiencing “a challenging stretch of time.”
“Hi friends, by now many of have heard the news that my parents are separating,” she wrote.
“I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so.”
She added that she won’t personally comment on her parents’ separation but said she thanked those who sent her messages and kind words during this time.
WHEN DID ANN WINBLAD DATE BILL GATES?
It was at her tech consultant position with Microsoft that Ann Winblad met Bill Gates, and they soon started seeing each other.
After meeting in 1984, the two dated for several years before eventually separating.
After dating the two continued their friendship, as they bonded over their shared love of science and technology.
Gates went on to marry Melinda French in 1994, while Winblad went on to be inducted into the Fortune Small Business Hall of Fame in 2000.
Despite Gates marriage, and his former romantic relationship with Winblad, the two continued to have annual get togethers.
BILL GATES TOOK HOLIDAYS WITH EX AFTER MARRYING MELINDA
Bill and Melinda Gates agreed that he could enjoy yearly getaways with his ex-girlfriend, whose picture he kept in his office, a 1997 article revealed.
Bill, 65, and venture capitalist Ann Winblad, 70, dated in the eighties and broke up once he met Melinda in 1987 – but an interview in the late nineties indicated that their friendship continued after the split.
In a 1997 Time Magazine interview, Bill described calling up his ex-girlfriend to see what she thought about him tying the knot with Melinda.
“When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval,” he said, after it emerged that he’d made a pros and cons list before getting hitched.
His ex confirmed that she approved of it and Melinda allowed her husband to continue his annual spring getaway with former flame Winblad at her beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, according to Time.
‘THIS MARRIAGE IS IRRETRIEVABLY BROKEN’
The Sun has seen Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce filing, with a line reading their marriage was “irretrievably broken.”
Court documents show the couple signed a separation agreement where they are asking the judge to honor as their date of divorce.
It also states neither Melinda, who filed the document, nor Bill, the respondent, have requested fees or an order of protection.
Unsurprisingly, no spousal support is requested. However, the couple’s property and finances are asked to be divided between the two of them.
HOW OLD IS BILL GATES?
Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1955 in Seattle.
That makes him 65 years old.
The business magnate married Melinda in 1994 before announcing their divorce on Monday.
BILL GATES’ DIVORCE SPARKS WAVE OF MEMES
Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce announcement has prompted a wave of hilarious memes online as people consider how to proposition the newly single billionaire.
When the Microsoft founder – who is the fourth richest person in the world, worth a cool $124billion – confirmed their split on Twitter, it opened the online flood gates.
“Wishing bill gates a happy may 4th,” read one user’s picture of Bill with the message: “Happy Star Wars day. May divorce be with you.”
“Are bill and melinda gates really going through a… you know… *windows 98 shutdown sound* divorce?” tweeted another.
“Bill Gates logging into his marriage this morning,” quipped a third user, alongside the Microsoft error image reading: “Your marriage ran into a problem that it couldn’t handle, and now it needs to shut down.”
LORD SUGAR TAKES SWIPE AT BILL GATES OVER HIS DIVORCE
Lord Sugar took to Twitter to poke fun at Bill Gates after he announced he and wife Melinda are divorcing.
The businessman caused a stir on social media with his Microsoft-inspired swipe.
“Lawyers must be licking their lips,” Lord Sugar typed.
“I wonder if they will use Excel for the calculations. For sure they will use Word for legal communication most probably sent by email using Outlook.”
Some annoyed users hit back, with one responding: “Very quick to jump and make jokes about other people’s misfortunes.”
PAPERS FILED FOR DIVORCE WITH NO PRENUP
Bill and Melinda Gates have filed for divorce, and court documents show there is no prenup agreement.
According to TMZ, which has seen the court documents, the Gates have filed for divorce, saying their marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
The document asks for the judge to make their pre-signed separation date as their divorce date. The separation papers were not included in the divorce document.
The two have asked for a trial date in April 2022, but will likely settle this without a trial.
BILL AND MELINDA MET BECAUSE THEY WERE LATE TO DINNER
The star power couple originally met by chance after both arrived late to a dinner and sat in the only two empty seats.
In her book, The Moment of Lift, Melinda described how they were both invited to a business dinner and ended up sitting next to each other.
“I showed up late, and all the tables were filled except one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. I sat in one of them. A few minutes later, Bill arrived and sat in the other,” she wrote in the book.
Melinda was a product manager as the only woman in the first ever class of MBA graduates that joined the company.
She then rose the corporate ladder to become general manager of information products, and eventually met the CEO, Bill.
The two then married in Hawaii in 1994.
WHAT IS BILL GATES’ NET WORTH?
As of May 2021, Gates’ net worth was estimated at roughly more than $130.5billion, according to Forbes.
- Bill Gates co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation.
- In May 2020, the Gates Foundation said it would spend $300 million to fight the coronavirus pandemic, funding treatment, detection and vaccines.
- Gates has sold or given away much of his stake in Microsoft — he owns just over 1% of shares — and invested in a mix of stocks and other assets.
- To date, Gates has donated $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation.
INSIDE BILL GATES’ $80BILLION PROPERTY EMPIRE
Bill Gates’ $80billion property empire now hangs in the balance after he and his wife of 27 years announced they are divorcing.
Properties up for grabs include a $123million mansion with a trampoline room and a $43million oceanfront mansion with a ten-person jacuzzi.
Gates, worth $130.5billion is one of the only eight people in the world worth over $100billion, and is the fourth richest man in the world.
Over the years, he has made lavish purchases which include a $40million private airplane and a large luxury car collection.
WHAT IS MELINDA GATES’ NET WORTH?
Melinda Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman and global advocate who is probably best known for her marriage to Bill Gates.
Melinda is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to the foundation’s website, she “shapes and approves strategies, reviews results, and sets the organization’s overall direction.
She works with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goals.”
The soon-to-be ex-wife of the Microsoft founder is worth $70billion, according to Spear’s.