Melinda Gates is the soon-to-be ex-wife of Bill Gates, the legendary tech mogul. Together, the couple shares three children, Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe. On May 3, the couple released a joint statement on Twitter announcing their divorce.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the statement reads. “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. 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. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Just this year, Forbes ranked the Microsoft co-founder as the fourth richest man in the world with a net worth of $124 billion. With their divorce comes questions as to what part of the fortune will go to Melinda.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Melinda Gates Signed a Prenuptial Agreement
Bill Gates became the youngest billionaire ever the same year he met his future wife, Melinda Gates, according to NPR. The couple would go on to marry in 1994.
Many couples enter into a prenuptial agreement in order to protect their individual assets should they ever divorce. The Gates among them, according to a 1997 New York Times article.
According to KeonFamilyLaw.com, “A prenuptial agreement is simply a contract entered into by prospective spouses before marriage, which determines the property rights of one or both of them in the event of divorce.”
The site further reported, “After their marriage in 1994, Microsoft founder Bill Gates reportedly had his wife sign a prenuptial, perhaps in consideration of the preservation of his company and its shareholders. Washington State, where Gates resides, is a community property state. In the event of divorce, absent a prenuptial agreement, half of Bill Gates 24% holdings in Microsoft could be in unfriendly hands.”
2. Melinda’s Net Worth is $70 Billion
While Bill was reported to be the fourth richest person in the world by Forbes, Melinda has her own fortune according to Spear’s Magazine.
The publication reported she is worth $70 billion.
The site attributes some of her wealth to her time at Microsoft. She first started as a product manager in 1987, the same year she earned her master’s of business administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She was the general manager of information products by 1996.
3. Bill and Melinda Gates Plan to Only Leave $10 Million For Each Child
The Gates do not plan to leave their vast fortunes to their children. While he would not explicitly confirm the rumored $10 million inheritance for each child, he did confirm to the Daily Mail, “It will be a minuscule portion of my wealth. It will mean they have to find their own way.”
He told the publication in 2011, “They will be given an unbelievable education and that will all be paid for. And certainly anything related to health issues we will take care of. But in terms of their income, they will have to pick a job they like and go to work. They are normal kids now. They do chores, they get pocket money.”
4. The Gates Share a $127 Million Mansion
Bill purchased the lot that would become “Xanadu 2.0,” named after the fictional home in Citizen Kane, in 1988. According to Insider, it cost $63 million over seven years to build the home now valued at approximately $127 million.
The 66,000 square foot home boasts many features, reports the outlet. Among them are a trampoline room, reception hall, six kitchens, 24 bathrooms, pool, home theater and library featuring a manuscript from Leonardo da Vinci.
5. The Former Couple Runs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In their statement, the former couple announced they will continue their work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The foundation was formed in 2000, according to NPR. It was the merging of the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation.
When Bill announced his intention to dedicate his time to the foundation in 2006, the outlet reported Warren Buffet donated $31 billion.
CNBC reported the former couple plan to give most of their fortune away to charity, specifically through their foundation.
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