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Melinda Gates divorce petition says marriage to Bill is ‘irretrievably broken’


Melinda Gates said her marriage to Bill Gates was “irreparably broken,” according to court documents obtained by NBC News on Tuesday.

In her divorce petition, filed Monday in King County, Washington, she said “spousal support is not necessary” and a separation contract will determine the division of property.

“We are asking the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our conjugal community has ended on the date indicated in our separation contract,” according to the document.

It is not clear from the petition when the couple separated or if they had entered into a prenuptial agreement.

Bill Gates, 65, and Melinda Gates, 56, first announced their divorce on Monday in a joint statement. The couple, who married on New Years Day in Hawaii in 1994, said they no longer “believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

“After a lot of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in the statement. “Over the past 27 years, we have raised three amazing children and built a foundation that works around the world to enable everyone to lead healthy and productive lives.

Jennifer Katharine Gates, 25, the oldest of her siblings, wrote in a statement that “it has been a difficult time for our whole family.”

“I am still learning to better support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time,” she wrote.

The couple founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, a private philanthropic organization that funds research and advocacy around the world, including in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The foundation has donated billions to support issues such as global health, development and education, as well as the fight against climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and served as its chief executive until 2000, stepped down from the company’s board last year and has since focused the majority of his efforts on philanthropy.

He still owns about 1.3% of Microsoft’s shares. His net worth is around $ 130 billion, according to Forbes, making him the fourth richest person in the world.

The Gates Foundation has nearly $ 50 billion in assets, according to its financial statements, and it has been considered the largest private philanthropic organization in the world for 20 years. It issued around $ 5 billion in grants per year in 2018 and 2019.

In their statement announcing their separation, the couple – who are co-chairs of the foundation – said they would continue to work together as part of the philanthropic mission.





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