The mega-billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates, who have emerged as a philanthropy powerhouse with a foundation named after themselves, are divorcing because their 27-year marriage has "irretrievably broken".
According to TMZ, a media outlet that is up on celebrity affairs, Melinda Gates filed for the divorce asserting that their marriage was "irretrievably broken".
TMZ, which said it had seen the filings in a Seattle court, the couple, who jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, does not have a pre-nuptial agreement on splitting their wealth that many ultra-wealthy couples make to lessen the likelihood of disputes should they break up.
But according to People magazine, they will have a separation agreement to divide their wealth.
Melinda Gates filed for a temporary order that would prevent either of them from disposing property or making changes to insurance policies unless they agreed in writing or court ordered it, the magazine reported.
She is not asking for any payment of spousal support, it added.
Since their three children, son Rory John, 21, and daughters Phoebe Adele, 18, and Jennifer Katharine, 25, are all adults, they will not have the headache of child custody arrangements.
Bill, who is one of the richest people in the world, has often emphasized in interviews that his children should only inherit a small part of his wealth.
The financial magazine Forbes has estimated he is worth more than $100 billion.
Earlier on Monday, a joint statement posted on Twitter by the Microsoft founder said: "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 foundations, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."
According to reports, Melinda Gates was an employee of Microsoft where she met Bill Gates.
They first met for a dinner in 1987 and later began dating leading to their marriage on New Year''s Day in 1994.
However, there was another woman lurking in Bill Gates''s life, according to the reports.
He had an unusual arrangement with his wife that allowed him while they were married to spend a long weekend with his former girlfriend Ann Winblad every year, according to Time magazine.
Gates and Winblad, who was five years his senior, had broken off in 1987 because she was ready for marriage, but he wasn''t, according to the magazine. But they stayed in touch.
Speaking to the magazine for a 1997 article, he said, "When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval."
Bill and Melinda Gates are the second ultra-rich couple to split up in the US.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced in 2019.
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