Bill and Melinda Gates’ daughter says the divorce is a ‘challenging stretch’ for the family
The couple’s eldest daughter addressed the split that’s rocking the business and philanthropy worlds
It’s been a “challenging stretch” for the Gates family, according to Bill and Melinda’s eldest daughter.
Jennifer Gates, 25, shared a statement about her parents’ divorce announcement, which rocked the business and philanthropy worlds on Monday. The Microsoft Corp.
co-founder and his wife have been together for 27 years and have three children together — not to mention a net worth estimated at $146 billion, according to Bloomberg, and a global philanthropic foundation that they’ve run for more than 20 years.
“By now, many of you have heard the news that my parents are separating. It’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family,” Jennifer Gates wrote in her Instagram Stories on Monday.
“I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as family members at this time, and am grateful for the space to do so,” she continued. “I won’t personally comment further on anything around the separation, but please know that your kind words and support mean the world to me.”
“It’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family.”
She also thanked her followers for “understanding our desire for privacy while we navigate the next phases of our lives.”
And she included her parents’ joint statement that they released on their individual social media platforms on Monday afternoon, where the power couple said that their decision to end their marriage came “after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship.”
Specifically, Jennifer Gates included a screenshot of her mother’s Instagram post sharing the announcement.
Bill Gates was once the world’s richest person, and his fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion. How the couple will end up settling their estate, and any impact this will have on their charitable foundation, will be watched closely — especially since Melinda Gates lists no prenup in the divorce filing, and they will be splitting their assets through a separation contract.
Two years ago, fellow high-profile Seattle-area billionaire Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
finalized his divorce with novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Their split also drew a ton of scrutiny at the time. And with this previous high-profile divorce still fresh in many people’s minds, the Gates’ announcement led some on Twitter to speculate about MacKenzie and Melinda “teaming up” as super philanthropists this summer.
Yet while the statement said that Bill and Melinda Gates will continue to work together at their foundation, their breakup still sent shivers through the philanthropic community. The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, after all, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion.
Monday’s announcement also led some of Melinda’s past comments about her marriage to recirculate — such as a 2019 interview where she admitted that being married to Bill could be “incredibly hard” sometimes. “Believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, ‘Can I do this?’” she said at the time. And she recalled their work-life balance issues, such as being angry with him years ago because he was reading a book about Winston Churchill instead of helping her get their three children ready to go out, or packing up the car.
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