Bill and Melinda Gates announce they’re divorcing

President Barack Obama presents Bill and Melinda Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during a ceremony Nov. 22, 2016 honoring 21 recipients in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. The couple announced Monday they are getting divorced. Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS

Philanthropic power couple Bill and Melinda Gates announced Monday they are getting divorced.

“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 couple wrote on Twitter. “We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together art the foundations, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

The founders of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation asked for privacy “as we begin to navigate this new life.”

The public health philanthropic organization, which the pair started in 2000, is the largest private foundation in the world, according to People, and is worth more than $40 billion.

Bill Gates, the 65-year-old founder of Microsoft, and Melinda Gates, 56, were married on Hawaii’s Lanai Island on Jan. 1, 1994, according to People. They have three children — son Rory John, 21, and daughters Phoebe Adele, 18, and Jennifer Katharine, 25.

The two met at Microsoft while Melinda Gates was working there as a software engineer, according to CNBC, and began dating casually. When it got serious, Bill Gates decided whether to marry his sweetheart by listing the pros and cons on a whiteboard, CNBC reported, citing the 2019 documentary “Inside Bill’s Brain.”

Bill Gates stepped down from the board of Microsoft last year as the coronavirus pandemic enveloped the world, spending more time with the foundation, of which he and Melinda Gates are co-chairs and trustees. The two said they plan to continue fulfilling this mission together.

The announcement comes just two years after another billionaire couple, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, split after an equally lengthy marriage.

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Tribune Wire

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