The calendars indicated the year 1987. A young woman named Melinda French was developing multimedia products at Microsoft.
One day in the company’s parking lot, Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft, approached him. After a loving conversation, Bill asked, “Would you like to go out with me in two weeks?”
Melinda declined the offer without hesitation and added, “Not spontaneously enough for me. When that day approaches, you will ask again.”
A few hours later, Melinda’s phone rang. Bill Gates was watching. “Are we going out tonight? Is that spontaneous enough for you?” He asked. Melinda’s response was “Yes” this time …
A STORY LIKE A FAIRY TALE?
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Those who waited for the line “They’ve lived happily together since…” after this sweet dating story, which is nothing short of American romantic comedies, were quite surprised by the divorce decision announced by Melinda and Bill Gates on Twitter .
The couple, who married in 1994 on a golf course in Lanai, one of the Hawaai Islands, and had three children, have been seen as an example of a balanced and ideal union in public opinion. Bill and Melinda Gates painted a very happy image in the photos they gave side by side.
However, in recent years especially Melinda Gates has shared with the public the important signs that their marriage is going through a very difficult time in the statements he makes from time to time.
It has been stated by Melinda Gates that Bill Gates working 16 hours a day and almost no time for his family is a major source of problems in the couple’s relationship.
For example, in an interview with the Sunday Times on the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary in 2019, Melinda Gates said, “Believe me, our marriage was so difficult on some days that you might wonder, ‘Then I do that? ‘you thought,’ he spoke.
THEY TAKEN THE MARRIAGE DECISION IN WRITING TO THE COUNCIL
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In fact, the couple did not easily make the decision to tie the knot after 7 years of dating. After discussing it for a long time, Bill and Melinda even made a list of pros / cons on a whiteboard.
Melinda said at the time: “While I was struggling to make the decision to get married, she was very clear that it wasn’t about me. ‘Can I find the right balance between work and family life?’ he thought, “he told me in words.
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Melinda Gates’ fullest explanation of her difficult marriage days was her memoir titled “The Moment of Lift” published in April 2019. In the book that made a big impression in the United States at that time, Melinda Gates wrote explained how she became a feminist and, based on her own story, how workplaces in the United States are expected to change.
Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, wrote an article on the book at the time. In the article, Kristof shed light on the details of the couple’s marriage as well as the business relationship with quotes from the book.
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“ I thought we would kill each other ”
One of the events mentioned in the book involved the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual letter to members and donors. Both co-chaired the foundation, but Bill Gates still wrote the letter. Melinda Gates said in 2013 that she wanted to co-write the letter. This situation made Bill Gates angry. He had been writing the letter for years and the system was working well. So why would they change the order?
Melinda Gates recounted the fight in her book: “We both got angry. I thought we were going to kill each other. I felt like ‘this job ends the marriage here,'” said Kristof. .
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But that did not happen. In 2013, Bill Gates wrote the letter himself, but dedicated part to Melinda. In 2014, they wrote a joint letter, which was primarily written by Bill. In 2015, it became a completely balanced letter reflecting the views of both, and so on.
WILL BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE DIVORCE?
The letter crisis did not end the couple’s marriage, but only 8 years later, they announced that they had decided to leave “because they believed they could no longer grow up as a couple”.
The website of the magazine TMZ published the details of Melinda Gates’ divorce petition submitted to the court. As a result, Melinda Gates did not seek child support as the couple signed a separation agreement.
Still, commentators believe the Doors could go down in history as the “most expensive divorce” and surpass the separation of tech-rich fellow Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Scott about two years ago.
THEY ARE ALSO RESIDENTS OF SEATTLE
Much like the couple Bezos and Scott, the Gates are U.S. citizens registered in Seattle, Washington, and according to the Telegraph, Washington state divorce laws provide for an equal distribution of property acquired during the marriage. Therefore, it is possible to draw parallels between the pairs. But there are also important differences.
The Bezos-Scott couple, married for 25 years, didn’t even have an idea of Amazon when they got married. In other words, Scott has always been with him in the process of building the wealth that made Bezos the richest person in the world today.
During the divorce, Scott transferred all of his rights to the Washington Post newspaper and space company Blue Origin to Bezos. Bezos acquired all the voting rights with a 75% stake in Amazon. What was left for Scott was a 4% stake in Amazon, which was estimated to be worth $ 38 billion at the time.
BILL GATES WAS RICH BEFORE THE WEDDING
With Gates, the situation is a little different. While it’s impossible to deny Melinda Gates ‘role in Bill Gates’ career and success, Bill Gates was already a wealthy person when the couple got married. Founded in 1975, Microsoft went public in 1986. Bill Gates, whose fortune reached $ 9.4 billion, Windows being the most popular operating system in personal and desktop computers around the world, and who got the title of richest person in the United States, had just returned from his honeymoon.
Therefore, Gates is not expected to divide the $ 131 billion in wealth equally, but the details of the split are curious.
Bill Gates donated $ 35.8 billion in Microsoft stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation years ago. It is estimated that these assets will remain in the foundation and will not be affected by the divorce. In the statement made by the foundation’s leadership, it was pointed out that Bill and Melinda Gates will continue to be co-chairs and that the foundation’s work will not be affected by the divorce.
As for business assets outside of that, if Bill Gates follows in Bezos’ footsteps, Melinda Gates may own 25% of the 103.4 million Microsoft shares owned by Bill Gates. That means $ 6.5 billion. But the work doesn’t stop there.
THE LARGEST SOL NETWORK IN THE UNITED STATES
Another important difference is that Gates’ wealth comes from different sources. Almost all of his Bezos assets come from his 11% stake in Amazon, but Gates’ 1% stake in Microsoft is worth $ 26.1 billion and is not even a fifth of his total fortune.
Gates invests in many areas with Cascade Investment, which he founded in 1995 and has an estimated net worth today between $ 49 billion and $ 51 billion. For example, in start-ups such as Beyond Meat and Gates’ ResearchGate, which has become the largest owner in the United States with its purchased farmland, tractor maker John Deere, garbage recycling company Republic Services, Canadian National Railways, Swiss perfumer Givaudan and Four Seasons, which has significant investments in the hotel chain. Bloomberg estimates the family also has $ 58.7 billion in cash.
Aside from that, Bill Gates’ two private jets with very valuable real estate assets (a $ 131 million farm, a $ 37 million stud farm and a $ 25 million island in Belize), a Porsche collection and among them the signature of famous artists like Leonardo da Vinci, there are also works of art.
WHAT WILL BE REMAINED FOR THE CHILDREN?
Bill Gates, who has so much personal wealth, is not in favor of leaving his existence to his children. Gates, who was the guest of This Morning at ITV in 2016, said: “This money can keep them from making their own way. This money was set aside to help the poorest. They know it, they are proud of it. They are proud of it. keep traveling with us to see where the money is being spent, ”Gates said.
However, some experts also criticize that the fortunes of Gates and other wealthy people have too much influence in solving humanitarian problems. The author of the book “Winners Take All”, Anand Gridharadas, told Reuters that lessons should be learned from the Gates divorce and said:
“The Gates’ divorce will have a lot more impact than disrupting family life. It will affect business, education, public health, civil society, philanthropy and beyond. Because as a society we made the mistake of giving the rich a chance to behave like a semi-government as private citizens. “