Bill Gates on Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein: 'I Made a Mistake' The billionaire sat down with Anderson Cooper to talk about his "dinners" with the financier.

By Emily Rella

NurPhoto | Getty Images

An Anderson Cooper interview with Bill Gates is making its rounds after the topic of Gates having dinner with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein came up in conversation.

The interview began with Cooper giving Gates the opportunity to speak about his divorce, which was finalized on Monday, from former wife Melinda French — something Gates admitted was a "very sad milestone" for their relationship.

"That partnership coming to an end is a source of great personal sadness," he admitted.

The billionaire shared that he and French will continue to work together on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, giving it a two-year trial period to ensure that they can continue to work together amicably.

Related: Bill Gates and Melinda French officially divorce

"Melinda has incredible strengths that she brings that help the foundation be better," Gates told Cooper in conversation.

The conversation then shifted to commentary on reports that Gates began having dinners with Jeffrey Epstein in 2011, after Epstein had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor.

The reports also claimed that French hired divorce attorneys when Gates and Epstein's relationship was made public around two years ago.

Related: Bill Gates Says Lazy People Make the Best Employees

"I had several dinners with [Epstein] hoping that what he said about getting billions of [dollars of] philanthropy for global health through contacts that he had might emerge, and when it looked like that wasn't a real thing, that relationship ended," Gates explained. "But it was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility of being there. There were lots of others in that same situation, but I made a mistake."

Cooper also acknowledged reports of Gates' creating an "uncomfortable" work environment at Microsoft and addressed his affair with a former employee.

"At this point I need to go forward," Gates said. "My work is very important to me; within the family we'll heal as best we can and learn from what's happened."

Gates' net worth was $131.8 billion as of August 5, according to Forbes.

Related: Bill Gates admits to 'ruining' his marriage: report

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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