In the past, Bill Gates said "thanking Melinda" was the one thing he wished he had done more.
After nearly three decades of married life, Bill and Melinda Gates filed for a divorce on Monday, May 3, 2021. At the moment, it is unclear when the couple separated, and in the divorce petition that Melinda filed in King County, Washington, she stated that they are both "irretrievably broken." As their marriage of 27 years comes to an end, Melinda also said: "Spousal support is not needed," Melinda also said in her petition as her marriage of 27 years comes to an end, as reported by PEOPLE.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," said a shared statement from the couple that was posted on social media. They stated that they would continue to "work together at the foundation, but added: "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."
It was in the year 1987 when the two met after Melinda joined Microsoft—the company that Bill co-founded in the 1970s. After sitting together at a business dinner the same year, the two eventually began dating and were confronted with two possibilities down the line. "Either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married," Bill said in a Netflix documentary, according to BBC. Back then, Melinda found that Bill was systematic even when it came to relationships, and he drew up a list of the "pros and the cons of getting married" on a whiteboard before they decided to get married.
In 1994 on New Year's Day, the pair tied the knot in Hawaii and went on to become parents to Jennifer Katharine, 25, Rory John, 21, and Phoebe Adele, 18.
When Bill appeared in the three-part docuseries Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates, he was asked: "If you got hit by a bus today, died, what's the one thing, the one thing you said, 'God, I wish I had done that I haven't done?'"
Bill answered, "You know, thanking Melinda."
Mike Slade, one of the couple's friends, also spoke about the great partnership they had and said, as quoted by PEOPLE, "He appreciates everything about her as opposed to complaining about her I've never heard him complain about her. He's the only person I know on this earth who I've never heard complain about his wife." Following the news of this divorce, the pair's oldest daughter, Jennifer Gates, spoke about how the family is currently going through a tough time.
According to ET, she wrote in a social media post, "By now, many of you have heard the news that my parents are separating. 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 I am grateful for the space to do so," Jennifer went on to say. "I won't personally comment further on anything around the separation, but please know that your kind words and support mean the world to me."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson