Who is Melinda Gates: Biography, Personal Life, Career, Net Worth After Divorce
Who is Melinda Gates: Biography, Personal Life, Career, Net Worth After Divorce

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates said Monday that they are divorcing but would keep working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world.

Bill Gates - The American business magnate and co-founder of Microsoft is the third-richest man in the world.

The financial details of the separation have not been revealed. Both Gateses have signed on to Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, promising to donate most of their fortune to charitable causes.

Who is Melinda Gates - Biography

Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which strives to improve global health and education.

Early Life of Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates was born on August 15, 1964 in Dallas, Texas, USA as Melinda Ann French. She has three siblings: one older sister and two younger brothers. Melinda's father, Ray French, was an aerospace engineer during her upbringing, while her mother, Elaine French, was a stay-at-home mom.

She is known for her work on Smarter Every Day (2011), CBS News Sunday Morning (1979) and CNN Newsroom (1989).

Elaine, who wished she had gone to college, placed a strong emphasis on her children's higher education. To that end, the family spent weekends maintaining their rental properties as a means of earning the children's tuition.

Melinda developed an early interest in computers while taking an advanced math class at the Ursuline Academy, a Catholic school for girls. She went on to pursue this interest in college, earning a bachelor's degree in computer science from Duke University in 1986. The following year, she obtained a master's in business administration, with a focus in economics, from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Career of Melinda Gates

She first became interested in computers when a seventh-grade teacher placed her in an advanced math class. After graduating from the Ursuline Academy (a Catholic girls’ high school), she studied computer science and economics at Duke University (B.S., 1986; M.B.A., 1987).

Melinda Gates took a job at Microsoft Corporation in 1987 and married her boss, Bill Gates, in 1994. That year, she and her husband co-founded what was later to become the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2006 she restructured the organization. In 2012 she pledged $560 million toward improving access to contraception for women in poor countries.

While both are global figures, Melinda Gates has increasingly built her profile as a champion of women and girls. The former tech business executive launched her private Pivotal Ventures investment and incubation company in 2015 and recently partnered with Scott for a newly announced equity challenge.

Love Story, Marriage and Family of Bill Gates and Melinda Gates

The Gateses were married in 1994 in Hawaii. The couple has three children.

The couple met during a business dinner in 1987, when Melinda Gates was a product manager at Microsoft. The pair then married around seven years later.

When he eventually asked her out with a couple of weeks' notice, she initially was put off by his over-planning but soon realized his busy schedule made spontaneity difficult. Accepting this, she agreed to a date.

In her 2019 memoir, “The Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. She won Bill Gates’ heart after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math game.

The couple dated for six years before Bill proposed to Melinda. In 1994, the two were wed on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Melinda gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Jennifer Katharine Gates, in 1996. At that time, she decided to leave her job at Microsoft so she could focus on child-rearing and philanthropic efforts. Melinda and Bill would go on to have two more children: a boy named Rory John and a girl named Phoebe Adele.

Who is Melinda Gates: Biography, Personal Life, Career, Net Worth After Divorcing
Bill and Melinda Gates split after 27 years of marriage

Net Worth after Divorcing

About the time that the pair met, Microsoft had a market capitalization of about $35 billion. Now, that figure is almost $2 trillion, and Microsoft is one of the most valuable companies.

Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975. It helped him become the world’s richest person. At the height of the dot-com boom in 1999, he became the first person in the world with a net worth of $US100 billion.

The Gates family has a net worth over $100 billion, and their separation could set records for the largest divorce settlement to date. The largest settlement ever was recorded a few years ago when Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man, finalized a divorce from MacKenzie Scott for about $36 billion.

He’s shifted much of his stake into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the years and his exact stake hasn’t been disclosed. Last year, Bill Gates said he was stepping down from Microsoft's board to focus on philanthropy.

Gates’s biggest asset is Cascade Investments, a holding company he created with the proceeds of Microsoft stock sales and dividends that’s run by Michael Larson. Through Cascade, Gates has interests in real estate, energy and hospitality as well as stakes in dozens of public companies, including Canadian National Railway and tractor-maker, Deere & Co.

Gates' Children Fortune

They have three children together, including one who is a nationally ranked equestrian show jumper. Each of the Gates children will inherit $10 million, Bill Gates has said, and the rest of the Gates' fortune will go to charity.

Bill Gates has an estimated net worth of $124 billion, which grew from $98 billion in 2020, according to Forbes. He is No. 4 on the outlet's ranking of the world's billionaires.

Forbes named Melinda Gates one of the most powerful women in philanthropy, placing her at the No. 5 spot on its "Power Women 2020" list. Melinda Gates has changed her Twitter-profile name to Melinda French Gates, incorporating her maiden name into the moniker.

What did the Gateses say?

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," Gates tweeted.

"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.

"We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.''

Melinda Gates said: "I have no idea what I'm doing two weeks from tonight." Bill Gates responded: "You're not spontaneous enough for me." After taking her number, he ended up calling her that same day.

Future of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Their Works

The billionaire couple sets the strategic vision for the $50 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which they co-founded and which spends more than $5 billion a year on causes like US education and worldwide disease eradication. Their divorce potentially has enormous implications for their work.

Despite the end of their marriage, Gates said they would continue to collaborate on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together."

The foundation has over $50 billion (€41.4 billion) in assets, according to a tax filing cited by US broadcaster CNBC.

Since its launch in 2000, the charity has focused on global health and development issues as well as education in the US.

The Gateses have also invested vast sums of money in the search for a coronavirus vaccine and have donated to COVID-19 treatment research.

A Gates Foundation spokesperson said that the philanthropy did not anticipate changes to its work. Both Bill Gates and Melinda Gates will remain co-chairs and trustees of the foundation in their name, a spokesman said. “They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues, and set the organization’s overall direction,” a Foundation spokesman said.

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