Bill Gates Gets Honest About Divorce One Year Later: 'I Wouldn't Choose to Marry Someone Else'
It's been about exactly one year to the day since billionaire Bill Gates and philanthropist Melinda French announced that they would be ending their marriage after 27 years.
It’s been about exactly one year to the day since billionaire Bill Gates and philanthropist Melinda French announced that they would be ending their marriage after 27 years and three children together.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the couple said in a joint statement at the time. "Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives."
Gates reflected back on this time last year and the past 12 months of change in a new interview with The Times where he addressed his divorce from Melinda, point out that marriages are “complex” though he looks back on his former union as a “great marriage.”
"We grew up together. When I got married, yeah, Microsoft was a big deal. But I was a young 38-year-old and she was a mature 28-year old, and over those next few years, in terms of what we learnt together, what went well, what didn’t go well … that’s more than half my adult life," Gates told The Times. "We did a lot together.”
Still, the Microsoft founder maintains that he wouldn’t have done it any differently.
“Every marriage as the kids leave the house will go through a transition. Mine sadly went through this transition called divorce,” he said bluntly. “I wouldn’t have changed it. You know, I wouldn’t choose to marry someone else … Yes. I’m talking about would I marry Melinda all over again.”
He explained that the pair “spent some time coming up with a fair settlement,” while noting that regardless of what the outcome was, monetary gains were not what the couple really cared about splitting, but that the focus was on philanthropic efforts.
“It was about the causes,” he said regarding the settlement.
The two currently run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation together, something that the two have handled in stride in the year since the divorce, including co-hosting annual meetings and continuing to push their philanthropic efforts forward.
"We have a … super important, complex, close relationship where we’ve chosen to work together,” Gates said. “I feel lucky that I get to work with her.”
This isn’t the first Gates has publicly spoken of his divorce, but perhaps the most positive in tone.
In an August 2021 interview with Anderson Cooper, the billionaire emotionally said that his divorce was a “source of great personal sadness” before penning more of his emotions in an end-of-year letter months later where he spoke about empty nesting and his adjustment to what he called “ the most unusual and difficult year.”
“Adapting to change is never easy, no matter what it is,” Gates wrote. “I’ve been impressed by how resilient my loved ones — especially my kids — have been in this challenging time.”
As for where the two stand now, Gates said he considers his ex-wife to be a friend even though he noted that “in an interview [Melinda] chose not to use that word.”
The interview in reference was French’s sit-down interview with Gayle King in March where she noted that she was hesitant to use the F-word when talking about her current relationship with her ex-husband.
"It wasn't one moment or one specific thing that happened,” French said in reference to the split. “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.”
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