On Sunday, the philanthropic couple announced that they would be ending their marriage after nearly three decades, writing in a joint statement: “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”
In the statement, the couple also reflected on their “three incredible children” and their charitable foundation, adding that they continue to “share a belief in that mission” but that they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives”.
However, a few years ago, the billionaire Microsoft founder revealed in his Netflix documentary, Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates, that his biggest regret if he died “today” would be not thanking his wife.
Speaking to director Davis Guggenheim during one episode, Guggenheim asked the tech guru a hypothetical question about his regrets if he were to be hit by a bus.
“You know, thanking Melinda,” Gates said after a moment, according to Business Insider.
Elsewhere in the three-part series, the couple reflected on their first date, with Melinda revealing that when her estranged husband first asked her out, he’d asked if they could go out “two weeks from tonight”.
According to Melinda, who met Gates while working as a product manager at Microsoft, she had said he would need to be more spontaneous.
Gates eventually took her number and called her that same day. However, he also acknowledged that the pair wasn’t exactly looking for a serious relationship in the beginning, as he had Microsoft and Melinda had “other boyfriends”.
“When we first met, she had other boyfriends and I had Microsoft. We were like: ‘Hey we’re not really serious about each other are we? We’re not going to demand each other’s time. But after about a year of that, sort of to our surprise, certainly my surprise, we said: ‘Hey, I love you,’ and she said she loved me and then it was like, wow. Now, what’s going to happen?” Gates recalled.
The couple eventually went on to marry in 1994, and have three children together, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.
Following the announcement that they would be separating, the couple’s eldest daughter shared her own statement on social media, where she echoed her parents’ wish for privacy.
“By now, many of you have heard the news that my parents are separating,” the 25-year-old wrote on Instagram. “It’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family.
“I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as family members at this time, and am grateful for the space to do so.”
Jennifer then added that she will not be commenting further but expressed her gratitude for all those who had offered kind words and support.
“Thank you for understanding our desire for privacy while we navigate the next phases of our lives,” she concluded.
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