KEY POINTS

  • Melinda Gates was spotted in New York City Thursday with six bodyguards and three SUVs, a report says
  • She was seen at private club Zero Bond and Tribeca comfort food spot Bubby's
  • Gates' security detail is usually reserved for top government officials or former presidents, the report notes

Melinda Gates was spotted traveling with several bodyguards in New York City last week, a report says.

The 56-year-old philanthropist was surrounded by a total of six bodyguards and three SUVs when she was seen at private club Zero Bond Thursday, Page Six reported, citing unnamed sources.

The insiders also told the outlet that Gates was seen dining at the comfort food spot Bubby's in Tribeca and has been staying at a "trendy hotel downtown," which was not identified in the report.

Gates' security detail was unusual as the biggest stars usually travel with just two cars, an unnamed "veteran of the celebrity scene" told Page Six. The source claimed that only top government officials or former presidents would have security detail of this size.

Page Six suggested that Gates was likely a "high-security risk" due to her and her estranged husband's massive fortune and conspiracy theorists' COVID-19 vaccine claims about them.

This news comes amid her high-profile divorce from her husband of 27 years, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

The former couple announced their split in May and said they plan to continue working together for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They share three children, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," they wrote in a joint statement posted to their respective social media accounts.

"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."

However, Mark Suzman, the chief executive of their foundation, announced last week that Melinda has agreed to leave in two years if the former couple cannot work together amid their divorce.

In a message for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s employees, Suzman wrote, "Since their [divorce] announcement in May, Bill and Melinda have been true to their word and remained fully engaged in all aspects of the foundation’s work."

"[Bill and Melinda] have repeatedly made clear their joint commitment and expectation to remain long-term partners and co-chairs," the CEO continued, adding, "However, as an additional step, they have agreed that if after two years either one of them decides that they cannot continue to work together, Melinda will resign as co-chair and trustee."

If she does quit as co-chair, "Melinda would receive personal resources from Bill for her philanthropic work" that are completely separate from the foundation’s endowment, according to Suzman.

Melinda also made it clear that this new development did not mean she was abandoning what she called her "fourth child."

"I believe deeply in the foundation’s mission and remain fully committed as co-chair to its work," she said in the message to staff.

According to Suzman, Bill and Melinda plan to "expand the number of trustees" of the foundation, and the new additions will be announced in 2022.

Bill_og_Melinda_Gates_2009-06-03_(bilde_01) Bill & Melinda Gates’s namesake foundation pledged $2.1 billion to advance global gender equality just weeks after they announced their divorce. Photo: Creative Commons