“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a statement. “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.”
The New York Times reported in 1997 that Melinda and Bill Gates filed a prenuptial agreement when they got married, however, the divorce filings only allude to a “separation contract” to divide real property, personal property, and debts.
Melinda Gates notably did not request a name change in her petition for dissolving her marraige and will be keeping her full name of Melinda French Gates.
The couple first met in 1987 when Melinda Gates joined Microsoft as a product manager. The couple married in Lanai, Hawaii in 1994 and established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. The foundation quickly became one of the most influential private nonprofit organizations in the world, boasting a nearly $50 billion endowment.
Bill and Melinda Gates have three adult children.
Jennifer, their eldest child, said on Instagram that she would not comment on the divorce but added “it’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family.”