The pair spent nearly three decades together in a relationship that focused on philanthropy, work and family. Together, they were one of the richest and most philanthropic power couples in the world.
Here’s a timeline that breaks down the biggest moments of their relationship.
But it was hardly love at first sight. “When we first met, she had other boyfriends, and I had Microsoft,” Bill said in a 2019 Netflix docuseries “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates.” Melinda echoed that sentiment in the docuseries, saying, “I was new to Microsoft. There were a lot of men there.”
1993: Making it official
In 1993, Bill proposed to Melinda. Shortly after getting engaged, the pair was spotted sharing a Coca-Cola at a Seattle Sonics basketball game, a moment that was captured by news stations at the time.
1994: Walking down the aisle
1995: Microsoft launches Windows 95
On August 24, 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, an operating system that revolutionized technology.
“We knew we were changing the world,” Melinda said in “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,” recalling her experience at Microsoft. “Every time we put out a product, it changed things for people.”
1996: Welcoming their first kid
Bill and Melinda welcomed their first daughter, Jennifer, in 1996. Now 25, Jennifer attends the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She posted about her parents’ split on Instagram Monday, saying, “It’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family.”
1999: A son is born
2000: Forming the foundation
“We listen and respect each other and then we come to a common viewpoint and that’s what we take forward,” Melinda said in “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,” referring to their foundation work.
On Monday, after the couple’s divorce was announced, the foundation released a statement. “Bill and Melinda will remain co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. No changes to their roles or the organization are planned,” it said. “They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues, and set the organization’s overall direction.”
2002: Second daughter is born
In 2002, their second daughter and youngest child, Phoebe, is born.
2005: Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year
2010: Foundation’s big vaccine donation
2015: Melinda launches Pivotal Ventures
2021: The end
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their split in a simple, four sentence statement posted to social media Monday: “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. 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. 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.”
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