KEY POINTS

  • Bill Gates and Melinda Gates announced on Twitter Monday that they are splitting after 27 years of marriage
  • They said they will continue their work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • They tied the knot in Lanai, Hawaii, in 1994 and share three children together

Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft, and his wife Melinda Gates are divorcing after being married for almost three decades.

The couple, who co-chair their global health and development charity Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced on Twitter Monday that they are going their separate ways after 27 years of marriage. They said they plan to continue working together at their foundation.

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

"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," they continued. "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."

The billionaire and his estranged wife concluded their joint statement saying they request "space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

Gates and Melinda met when she joined Microsoft as a product manager in 1987. They sat together at a business dinner that year in New York, BBC reported. They began dating shortly after.

Gates said in the 2019 Netflix documentary "Inside Bill's Brain" of their relationship after about a year of dating, "We cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married."

In the documentary, Melinda admitted that she found her husband methodical even in relationships. She recalled finding a whiteboard in Gates' bedroom that listed "the pros and the cons of getting married," CNBC reported.

Gates and Melinda got married in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. They reportedly hired all the local helicopters to prevent unwanted guests from flying over. They share three children, daughter Jennifer, 25, son Rory, 21, and daughter Phoebe, 18.

Microsoft's growth made Gates the world's richest person at one point. He stepped down from the company's board in March 2020 to focus on philanthropy, Reuters reported. He is currently worth $146 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The couple launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. The organization is dedicated to helping promote health and has already spent billions on causes such as fighting infectious diseases and encouraging children's vaccination. It has over $51 billion in assets, according to a tax filing cited by CNBC.

Bill and Melinda Gates, pictured here in 2018, said they intend to keep working together on their charitable foundation Bill and Melinda Gates, pictured here in 2018, said they intend to keep working together on their charitable foundation Photo: AFP / Ludovic MARIN