Bill Gates and Melinda filed for divorce after 27 years of marriage.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on May 5, 2021. It has since been updated.
Billionaire couple, Bill and Melinda Gates called it quits after 27 years of marriage. With the news of their divorce, many are discussing the arrangements in their marriage, which might seem absurd to many.
According to People, Bill had a special relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Ann Winblad before and after his marriage to Melinda.
Bill Gates spent weekends at the beach alone with his ex-girlfriend EVERY YEAR https://t.co/OtRkLMeBOf— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) May 5, 2021
Bill dated Winblad, a software entrepreneur and venture capitalist before he met his future wife. Though the couple parted ways in 1987, Bill shared such a close bond with Winblad that he wanted to keep her a constant part of his life.
Before proposing to Melinda, who also worked at Microsoft, Bill asked Winblad for her permission, according to Time. Recalling the incident, Bill stated, "When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval." Winblad responded positively and gave Bill the red signal to go ahead with his proposal. "I said she'd be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina," recounted Winblad.
However, Bill was not sure if he was ready to commit to a marriage with his responsibilities of running Microsoft.
He was stuck in such a dilemma that he decided to make a pros and cons list. "I took the idea of marriage very seriously. You know, we cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married," said Bill.
Bill Gates' unusually close relationship with ex Ann Winblad is facing new scrutiny amid his divorce from Melinda Gates. https://t.co/McDYRipcEw— SheKnows (@SheKnows) May 4, 2021
Melinda added, "Bill wanted to be married, but he didn't know whether he could actually commit to it and have Microsoft." She continued, "When he was having trouble making the decision about getting married, he was incredibly clear that it was not about me. It was about, 'Can I get the balance right between work and family life?'"
Ultimately, the duo tied the knot. But, even after their marriage in 1994, Bill wanted Winblad to have a significant place in his life. So, the billionaire took an annual vacation with Winblad.
As per Walter Isaacson's story for Time, Bill ensured to keep his tradition with Winblad alive."Every spring, as they have for more than a decade, Gates spends a long weekend with Winblad at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they ride dune buggies, hang-glide and walk on the beach," wrote Isaacson.
Commenting on her relationship with Bill, Winblad stated, "We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves. And we marvel about how, as two young overachievers, we began a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and it landed us at the center of an amazing universe."
Melinda Gates Approved Bill's Unusual Arrangement With His Ex-Girlfriend Ann Winblad https://t.co/9Dzl4tjQyo— judyann451 (@judyannaggie) May 4, 2021
However, Melinda and Bill, undoubtedly respected each other's choices for decades. In the joint statement announcing their divorce, the duo stated, "After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. 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."