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'I Couldn't Trust What We Had': Melinda French Gates Gets Emotional About 'Painful' Divorce From Ex-Husband Bill Gates

The billionaire philanthropist opened up about her public split in a new interview with Gayle King.

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It was a rough year for Melinda French Gates, who divorced from billionaire husband Bill Gates after 27 years of marriage last May amid reports of infidelity and other marital issues,.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

French Gates has remained relatively silent throughout the process and the aftermath but in a new exclusive interview with CBS Mornings, the philanthropist opened up about the "painful" separation and many tear-filled moments in a heartbreaking conversation.

"It wasn't one moment or one specific thing that happened," she told journalist Gayle King about the breakup. "There just came a point in time where there was enough there that I realized it just wasn't healthy, and I couldn't trust what we had."

The lack of trust stems from a consensual affair that Gates had with a fellow Microsoft employee nearly two decades ago, which was confirmed by representatives of Gates.

Related: Bill Gates Gets Emotional About Divorce, Empty Nesting

French says that the days following the split were extremely difficult for her.

"Well, I think it's really important to say, look, I had a lot of tears for many days," she said honestly. "I mean, days where I'm literally laying on the floor and the carpet, you know, this close to me, thinking, "How can this be? How can I get up? How am I gonna move forward?'"

Gates himself has been very vocal about the divorce in both interviews and writings, calling the split a source of "great personal sadness" in interview with Anderson Cooper last August.

The Microsoft co-founder also penned an end-of-year letter on his blog last December where he addressed empty nesting and being on his own.

"Melinda and I continue to run [The Bill and Melinda Gates] 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," he said at the time. "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."

Related: Bill Gates and Melinda French officially divorce

French Gates told King that she's hesitant to use the word "friends" when describing her current relationship with her ex-husband, but remains hopeful of the future as she continues to move forward with her philanthropic efforts, namely with the foundation.

"At the end of the day though, I started on this journey of healing, and I feel like I'm starting to get to the other side," she said optimistically. "And I do feel like I'm turning a page in the chapter now. I mean, it's 2022 and I'm actually really excited about what's to come and life ahead for me."

According to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, Melinda French Gates is worth $11.5 billion.

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