Bill and Melinda Gates have announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage, saying “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the pair wrote on Twitter.
They first met in the 1980s when Melinda joined Bill’s Microsoft firm.
They have three children and jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The organisation has spent billions fighting causes such as infectious diseases and encouraging vaccinations in children.
Bill, 65, and Melinda Gates, 56, met at Microsoft — which Bill Gates founded and was, at the time, running as CEO. She started as a product manager as the only woman in the first class of MBA graduates to join the company, and eventually rose through the ranks to become general manager of information products.
They met shortly after she joined the company in 1987, at a business dinner in New York.
She described the encounter in her book, “The Moment of Lift:” “I showed up late, and all the tables were filled except one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. I sat in one of them. A few minutes later, Bill arrived and sat in the other.”
The couple married in Hawaii in 1994.