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Bill Gates Gets Emotional About Divorce, Empty Nesting: 'It's Been a Year of Great Personal Sadness For Me'

The billionaire penned an end-of-year letter on his blog, GatesNotes.

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Never one to publicly overshare about his personal life, Bill Gates took to his blog on Tuesday to share some insight on his emotions following a very heartbreaking divorce as the year pulls to a close.

Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images

In May of this year, Bill and then-wife Melinda French announced that they would be going separate ways after 27 years of marriage, but that they would continue to work beside one another through their charitable initiative the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In Gates’ Tuesday post on GatesNotes, titled "Reasons for optimism after a difficult year", the billionaire began by calling 2021 “the most unusual and difficult year” of his life, citing the pandemic and the unfortunate reality of having to live life through a screen.

Related: Bill and Melinda Gates Are Divorcing After More Than 25 Years of Marriage

He then transitioned to talk about other worldwide issues and wins for the foundation, such as breakthrough HIV research, the approval of the first malaria disease and strides made in the areas of climate change before shifting to a more personal topic.

“I know a lot of people are curious about a subject closer to home: my divorce,” the Microsoft founder wrote candidly. “Melinda and I continue to run our foundation together and have found a good new working rhythm, but I can’t deny that it’s been a year of great personal sadness for me. Adapting to change is never easy, no matter what it is. I’ve been impressed by how resilient my loved ones — especially my kids — have been in this challenging time.”

Gates and French share three children together, Jennifer (who wed longtime beau and equestrian Nayel Nassar this past October), Phoebe and Rory.

He also opened up about now being an “empty nester” as all three children have moved out of his house.

Related: Bill Gates' Daughter, Jennifer Gates, Shares First Photos of Wedding Gown, Wedding Ceremony

“The house is a lot quieter without a bunch of teenagers hanging around all the time,” he said. “I miss having them at home, even if it is easier to focus on reading a book or getting work done these days.”

His letter mentioned four major subject areas that remain “top of mind” for Gates as 2021 pulls to a close, these being the future of the pandemic, “rapid digitization” as a result of the pandemic and the implications of that, “decreased trust in institutions” and how that will present many challenges moving forward and lastly progress and inhibitions with the ongoing conversations surrounding climate change.

You can read the full letter here.

The billionaire did not touch on the many public scandals that plagued the news cycle for him this year, namely past dinners he had with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and rumors of ongoing affairs amid his marriage, including ones with female employees.

“That partnership coming to an end is a source of great personal sadness,” Gates previously admitted of the ending of his marriage in an interview with Anderson Cooper over the summer.

As of Wednesday morning, Gates’ net worth was an estimated $138 billion.

Related: Bill Gates on Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein: 'I Made a Mistake'

Emily Rella

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Emily Rella is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media, covering entertainment, pop culture, lifestyle, entrepreneuership and business. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native.