Bill and Melinda Gates have announced the end of their 27-year marriage in a statement posted to their verified Twitter accounts.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have decided to end our marriage,” the statement reads.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, their philanthropic organization, was founded by the couple in 2000. According to the foundation’s website, it has spent $53.8 billion on a variety of programs relating to global health, poverty alleviation, and other topics since its inception.
“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 statement says. “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.”
Melinda Gates filed a divorce petition in King County, Washington, on Monday, requesting that the marriage be dissolved based on the couple’s separation agreement. The records that were made public did not contain any financial information. Bill Gates is one of the world’s wealthiest individuals. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, his net worth was $137 billion in February.
Bill Gates, 65, and Melinda Gates, 56, met at Microsoft, which Bill Gates had created and was running as CEO at the time. She began her career as a product manager, the only woman in the company’s first class of MBA graduates, and rose through the ranks to become general manager of information products.
They met at a business dinner in New York shortly after she joined the organization in 1987.
In her book “The Moment of Lift,” she described the experience as follows: “When I arrived late, all of the tables had been filled except for one, which had two empty chairs side by side. One of them had a seat for me. Bill arrived a few minutes later and took the other seat.”
In 1994, the pair married in Hawaii.
The Gates have been active in the battle against Covid-19 and the campaign to create drugs and vaccines and equitably spread them around the world through their foundation for the past year. The group had contributed a total of $1.75 billion to the global pandemic response as of December.
Bill Gates resigned from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway in March 2020 to “dedicate more time to his philanthropic interests,” including climate change work.
Melinda Gates is also the founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment company that announced the couple’s split.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” the couple said in a statement released Monday.
A request for comment from CNN Business was not immediately returned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.