HOLLYWOOD—It’s always sad when a marriage ends, especially one that lasted 27 years. Bill and Melinda Gates announced on May 3 that they were ending their marriage. They are known for their wealth and commitment to philanthropy. They were one of the richest and most philanthropic power couples in the world. As we all know Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft which launched in 1975, he met Melinda French in 1987.
It was during that time he was CEO of Microsoft and Melinda worked in product development. In was only in 1993, Bill proposed to Melinda. A year later they tied the knot on New Years Day in 1994 at the island of Lanai in Hawaii. Some of the guests included Warren Buffet. Gates actually hired all the helicopters to keep paparazzi away and booked all empty hotel rooms as well. They also held a reception on January 9, 1994 at a private estate in Seattle.
Back in 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, an operating system that revolutionized technology. So that was a busy year. A year later they welcomed their first child, a daughter Jennifer. She’s now 25 and attends the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The couple’s son, Rory was born in 1999, he’s now 21. In 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was founded and is funded by the couple’s personal wealth as well as several Gates family foundation and a gift pledged by Warren Buffett. The foundation has spent nearly 54 million on a wide range of initiatives including global wealth, and poverty.
Following the announcement, the foundation released a statement, saying they will continue to work together to shape and approve the foundation strategies. In 2002, their second daughter Phoebe was born. They have no prenup. So with nearly $150 million at stake, they will split their property according to a separation contract. The lawyers must identify everything in the couple’s estate, from famous art work, to jewelry, to land, and houses.
After identifying everything, lawyers have to classify the property as earned during the marriage jointly, or before the marriage separately, according to published reports. Melinda filed the divorce as the petitioner. Bill, as the respondent, can either file a response, noting what he disagrees with, or he can sign on, saying he agrees with everything. In the state of Washington, after filing for a dissolution of marriage, couples can officially be divorced after 90 days, if all the details have been figured out. That actually means that Bill and Melinda could be officially divorced in August.
I’m sure there will be a movie about the breakup in the upcoming future. A few years ago, Netflix premiered a new three-part documentary about the iconic and relentless Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and helped bring about the dawn of the information age-while also becoming the richest man in the world. The film titled “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,” is a look inside the mind of Gates as the billionaire opens up about those who influenced him and the audacious goals he’s still pursuing. The film covers the basics of Gate’s life: his childhood, marriage to his wife Melinda, and the charitable foundation they co-manage.
At times, it seems that the film focuses on the Foundation. Gates actually dropped out of Harvard in 1975, worried that if he waited until after he graduated to launch Microsoft, he would arrive late to the party. In the end, the film should have took an up-close and personal look at one of this era’s most important cultural figures. The documentary should have focused on ways that Gates is trying to leave a positive legacy. Hopefully, another documentary will focus on the man, his personal life and divorce and the future of the Foundation. Sadly, another one bites the dust.
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