Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates are now officially divorced after 27 years of marriage. The billionaire philanthropists announced their separation three months ago, and Washington state, where they live, requires a 90-day waiting period between filing for divorce and its finalization. Neither party will receive spousal support or change their names, and The Seattle Times reports that a judge ordered the two to divide their property according to the terms of a separation contract, which will be kept confidential.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the couple jointly shared on social media in early May. "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."
The May news of the couple's separation surprised many, but since then, various news organizations have reported on earlier fractures in the Gates' marriage.
A spokesperson confirmed to The Wall Street Journal in May that Bill Gates had "an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably." The New York Times reported that, "on at least a few occasions," Bill Gates had pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and at the couple's charitable foundation.
Melinda French Gates also expressed concerns about her husband's relationship with now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as well as a harassment claim against Bill Gates' longtime money manager, the Times reported.
Bill and Melinda Gates are currently the only trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, since philanthropist and Gates family friend Warren Buffett stepped down in June. The Seattle Times reports that Melinda French Gates may step down from the board in two years if she and her now-ex-husband find they cannot work together.
The couple's joint fortune is estimated at around $124 billion, including a 66,000-square-foot mansion on Lake Washington in the Seattle suburb of Medina. The house's worth is estimated at nearly $150 million.
Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975. He met Melinda French when she worked for the company, and they married in Hawaii in 1994. In 2000, they established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates is now 65, Melinda French Gates is 56, and their three children are all young adults.