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‘I Just Couldn’t Stay In That Marriage’ -Melinda Gates Tells Why In Candid Interview About Her ‘Unbelievable Painful’ Divorce From Bill Gates

‘I Just Couldn’t Stay In That Marriage’ -Melinda Gates Tells Why In Candid Interview About Her ‘Unbelievable Painful’ Divorce From Bill Gates

Melinda French Gates has opened up about her “unbelievably painful” divorce from Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates.

Melinda, 58, and Bill, 66, married in 1994 and were together for 27 years before announcing their divorce in May 2021.

Now, the computer scientist has opened up about her decision to leave her husband-of-nearly-three-decades, telling Fortune magazine in a new interview that the COVID-19 pandemic helped give her the ‘privacy to do what she needed to do.’

The philanthropist and mother of three said:

“I had some reasons I just couldn’t stay in that marriage anymore. But the odd thing about COVID is that it gave me the privacy to do what I needed to do.

“It’s unbelievably painful, in innumerable ways, but I had the privacy to get through it.”

Melinda also revealed that working with people dealing with hard times during the pandemic allowed her to do her best work during her own difficult time. She said:

“We work with unbelievable partners around the world who were also struggling during COVID. I was on a video call with a woman who had lost her father, and a week later she’s on a call with me, right?”

She added that her ‘main concern’ during the separation was always ‘protecting her kids’ – Jennifer, 25, Rory, 23, and Phoebe, 19 and that she is thankful that she and Bill have now ‘gotten to the other side.’

The former couple also founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together in 2000 and continued to run it together following their separation. Melinda Gates credits this for helping her process her emotions.

According to her:

“I kept working with the person I was moving away from, and I needed to show up and be my best self every single day.

So even though I might be crying at 9 a.m. and then have to be on a video conference at 10 a.m. with the person I’m leaving, I have to show up and be my best.

I learned as a leader that I could do it. It reminded me that the foundation calls me to be my best.”

Melinda, who worked as the general manager of information products at Microsoft until 1996, when she left the company to focus on starting her family, met Bill at a trade fair in New York, and they became husband and wife in 1994.

10 years into their marriage, rumors began to circulate that Bill was having an affair with a Microsoft staffer.

SEE ALSO: Bill & Melinda Gates: ‘Not all divorces are failed marriages’ -Nigerian Strategist, Ayo Bankole Akintujoye Writes

However, according to Melinda, that had nothing to do with why they decided to divorce. She told CBS Mornings in March:

“I certainly believe in forgiveness, so I thought we had worked through some of that. I gave every single piece of myself to this marriage. I was committed from the day we got engaged to the day I got out of it.

It wasn’t one moment or one specific thing that happened. There just came a point in time where there was enough there that I realized it just wasn’t healthy, and I couldn’t trust what we had.”

During the interview, Melinda also slammed Bill for his questionable friendship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and revealed that he continued to meet with him despite her having ‘nightmares’ about him.

“I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein. I made that clear to him,” she said, adding that she met Epstein one time because she ‘wanted to see who he was.”

She continued:

“I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door. He was abhorrent, evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. Any of the questions remaining about what Bill’s relationship with him was… those are for Bill to answer. I made it very clear how I felt about him.”

Bill called his meetings with Epstein a ‘huge’ mistake in a statement to CBS. He said:

“Meeting with Epstein was a mistake that I regret deeply. It was a substantial error in judgement.”

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When asked about his previous infidelity back in May, the business mogul told Today,

“I certainly made mistakes, and I take responsibility. I don’t think delving into the particulars at this point is constructive, but yes, I caused pain and I feel terrible about that. I have responsibility for causing a lot of pain to my family.”

ALSO SEE: Bill Gates Reflects On His Personal Struggles, Divorce From Melinda And The ‘Most Difficult’ Year Of His Life

He added of their split:

“The divorce is definitely a sad thing. It was a tough year. I feel good that all of us are moving forward now. Melinda and I are continuing to work together. It was sad and tragic, but now we’re moving together.”

Aside from continuing to work on their foundation together, the exes also seem to be co-parenting well, as they reunited to walk daughter Jennifer down the aisle at her wedding to Nayel Nassar in October 2021.

They put their differences aside for the magical day, with both of them standing together with their daughter as they brought her up to the alter. They were also seen exiting the ceremony together.

After their divorce, the pair reportedly split their joint $130 billion net worth, but it has not been made public how exactly they divided their many assets and large fortune.

The couple owned homes in five different states, a fleet of cars including a rare $2 million Porsche, an art collection that includes a $30 million book of writings and sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci, and a series of private jets.

The Gates had a string of luxury mansions across the US – including Florida, California, and Wyoming – but their main family home was in Washington, near the Gates Foundation headquarters.

Melinda and Bill purchased the sprawling, 66,000-square-foot house for $2 million in 1988, but put in $63 million more in redesigning it. It is now worth an estimated $125 million.

The estate boasts a five-acre plot, an indoor-outdoor pool with an underwater music system and fossil designs on the floor, an artificial stream stocked with salmon and trout, and a beach with sand imported, according to some, from the Caribbean.

Inside the seven-bedroom mansion, with a reported 18 bathrooms, is an art deco home cinema with seating for 20, a 2,100-square-foot library (which includes two secret pivoting bookcases and a bar), and a 2,300 square-foot reception hall that can seat a whopping 150 people for dinner.

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