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Bill, Melinda Gates announce divorce after 27 years

Bill Gates and Melinda on Monday announced divorce after 27 years of marriage, stating that they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.

The pair in a joint statement posted on Twitter said, “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”

The Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist and his wife have built up a combined $124bn (£89bn) fortune, making them among the five richest couples in the world.

The couple, who jointly run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a huge funder of global health and disease prevention initiatives, including the fight against coronavirus, said they would continue to run the foundation together.

“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” they said.

Read more: Bill Gates surprised by pandemic conspiracy theories

Bill, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, was already a billionaire when the pair got married in 1994. He met Melinda in 1987, when she joined the company. He was 31.

The couple have three children, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.

The surprise announcement comes less than two weeks after the pair appeared virtually at an event for healthcare workers fighting the pandemic.

It is the second divorce among the super-rich in recent years, following the Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos’s 2019 separation from his wife, MacKenzie Scott.

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