“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.
The announcement concluded, “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 this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Bill is currently the world’s fourth-richest person, with a whopping $130 billion net worth. He falls behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, SpaceX boss Elon Musk and Bernard Arnault, the founder of LVMH, according to Forbes.
Needless to say, Twitter had a field day with the centibillionaires’ split.
“Are bill and melinda gates really going through a… you know… *windows 98 shutdown sound* divorce?” tweeted one Twitter wit at Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975 and became the world’s youngest billionaire in 1987 at 31.
“Bill Gates logging into his marriage this morning,” jabbed another alongside the infamous Microsoft error image reading: “Your marriage ran into a problem that it couldn’t handle, and now it needs to shut down.”
The internet meme machine compared Melinda’s situation to MacKenzie Scott, who became the world’s wealthiest woman after divorcing Bezos in 2019. The novelist had gained an estimated $38 billion from the split — around a quarter of the couple’s reported $137 billion net worth at the time.
“Bill Gates looking at Jeff Bezos after the divorce from Melinda,” tweeted one jokester alongside the iconic meme of two identical Spidermen pointing at each other.
Despite the lack of a prenup, it seems that the billionaire couple has finished dividing their massive estate as their divorce papers mention a “separation contract” that both have signed, the Daily Mail reported.
This marks the end of an over 30-year relationship that began in 1987, the same year that Bill had become a billionaire. The couple tied the knot in Hawaii in 1994, and have three children together: Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.
Jennifer, the only Gates child with a public Instagram account, uploaded a message about her parents’ split Monday afternoon, in which she acknowledged the news has been “challenging” and thanked loved ones for their support.
One of Bill and Melinda Gates’ biggest achievements came in 2000, when the power pair started their joint charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They have since donated a mind-boggling $50 billion to initiatives across the globe, including $1.75 billion toward combating the coronavirus this past year.
Following the split, both the philanthropists “will remain co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” the organization said in a statement.