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Tuesday May 04 2021
By
Web Desk

Bill and Melinda Gates confirm divorce, say they will 'end their marriage'

By
Web Desk
Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of the Gates Foundation. — Reuters/File

Billionaire couple Bill Gates and Melinda Gates on Monday afternoon announced they had decided to end their 27-year long marriage as "they can no longer grow as a couple".

The announcement from one of the world's wealthiest couples, with an estimated net worth of some $130 billion, was made on Twitter.

In a joint statement issued to announce an end to their marriage, the couple said: "After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision 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 and productive lives, they said.

"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 this next phase of our lives," the couple said.

Bill and Melinda, in the statement, urged everyone to give them space and privacy for their family as they begin to navigate "this new life".

Meanwhile, according to CNBC, the 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," the publication reported.

Bill Gates had stepped down from Microsoft’s board after coronavirus started affecting the world and began focusing his energy 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.

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates (L) and his wife Melinda Gates (2ndR) attend a meeting with French President (unseen) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on April 16, 2018. — Reuters/File

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates listen as former US President Barack Obama (not pictured) speaks at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event in Manhattan, New York, US, September 20, 2017. — Reuters/File

"At one point the couple decided to move $20 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the foundation as they sought to increase their commitment to philanthropy, Bill Gates wrote in a 2019 blog post," the publication said.

The two had met at Microsoft, where Melinda was the marketing manager. The power couple had tied the knot back in 1994 in Hawaii after Bill Gates had weighed the pros and cons on a blackboard.

Bill Gates is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, with a worth of $124 billion, according to Forbes.

The Gates Foundation has spent billions fighting causes such as infectious diseases and encouraging vaccinations in children.

The foundation has been working with the Pakistani government for several years in the polio eradication campaign — and has spent millions of dollars in it.

"Programs have covered a range of shared development priorities, including polio eradication, financial inclusion, routine immunization and maternal, neo-natal and child health. Throughout that time, polio – a disease that stands on the brink of eradication across the world – has remained the top priority," the organisation said about its work in Pakistan.

The development comes two years after Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos said that he and his then wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced.