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Why Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing

Bill and Melinda Gates arrive at the Elysee Palace to the award of Commander of the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Hollande on April 21, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Frederic Stevens/Getty Images)

Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing.

The couple said in a joint statement on Monday that they have decided to end their 27-year marriage.

“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 posted by Bill Gates’ Twitter account.

They said they no longer believe they can grow together as a couple in the next phase of their lives.

“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” the statement said.

In a joint petition for dissolution of marriage, the couple said their legal union was “irretrievably broken,” but said they had reached agreement on how to divide their marital assets. No details of that accord were disclosed in the filing in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Yahoo news reported.

Bill is aged 65, while Melinda is 56 years old. They have three children – Jennifer, 25; Phoebe, 18; and Rory, 21.

“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”.

Being the fourth richest in the world, their divorce will be the largest division of assets since Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie split in mid 2019.

The couple is  worth an estimated $130 billion, making them the fourth-richest people in the world, behind Bezos, Elon Musk, and French luxury goods owner Bernard Arnault.

When the Bezos divorce was finalized in 2019, Jeff kept 75 percent of their joint stake in Amazon – then worth $144 billion – leaving MacKenzie with a quarter worth $35.8 billion.

The Gates met after Melinda joined software giant Microsoft Corp as a product manager, and they dated for a few years before marrying in January 1994 in Hawaii.

They have, however, said they will continue their philanthropic work together.

They are also famously known for their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a powerful and influential player in global public health.

It has been spending more than $50 billion over the past two decades to bring a business approach to combating poverty and disease.

The Gates have backed widely praised programs in malaria and polio eradication, child nutrition and vaccines. The foundation last year committed some $1.75 billion to Covid-19 relief.

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