BILLIONAIRE philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates are getting a divorce and she could get a multi-billionaire dollar settlement from the fourth richest man in the world.
The Microsoft co-founder, who is worth a whopping $124billion, posted the news to his official Twitter account on Monday as the Gates empire and fortune now hang in the balance.
Read our Bill Gates live blog below for the very latest news and updates…
Gates said they decided to "end our marriage" after a "great deal of thought and a lot of work" – two years after the couple marked their 25th wedding anniversary and his wife admitted marital life was "really hard."
He noted that they had raised "three incredible children" and worked to help people all over the world.
"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives," Gates wrote.
"We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."
Gates tweaked his Twitter settings so only the people he mentioned in the tweet at 4.30pm ET could reply.
After 15 minutes, his statement had amassed 2,926 retweets, it was quoted 4,489 times, and was liked 10.2K times.
It comes after Melinda admitted to The Sunday Times that being with Bill was often “incredibly hard” when they marked 25 years of marriage.
“‘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?”’ she said in 2019.
Tech mogul Gates was the richest man in the world until Bezos knocked him off his perch in 2017.
Last year, the 64-year-old became the world's second-richest person – with a measly $124billion fortune.
Although he's given $50 billion to charity since 1994, Gates is earning money at a faster rate than he's donated it.
Now, the bombshell divorce is calling the Gates fortune into question because a lot of it has not been given to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation headed by the couple.
Like Tesla CEO Elon Musk, some of Gates' biggest splurges have been on the property, recently purchasing an oceanfront colossus near San Diego, California.
He also owns a string of luxury cars, however, including pricey Porsches but it's unclear how the Gates fortune will be split now that they're getting divorced.
Melinda was a high-powered Microsoft executive before meeting and marrying Bill and going on to have three kids with him, Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe.
She formalized the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 and the couple has forked out $45 billion addressing major global issues, like gender equality and poverty.
Two years before Bill announced their bombshell divorce, he had listed the pros and cons of marriage on a whiteboard in Netflix’s three-episode series, “Inside Bill’s Brain."
After a year of dating following their 1987, Melinda described how they had reached a crossroads in their relationship and Bill had to make a decision.
"His whiteboard had the pros and the cons of getting married," his estranged wife said in the documentary. "His whiteboard had the pros and the cons of getting married."
During the 2019 documentary, Gates clarified that he took tying the knot "very seriously."
“She had other boyfriends, and I had Microsoft,” Bill said. “We were like, ‘Hey we are not really serious about each other, are we? We are not going to demand each other’s time.'"
“I was new to Microsoft, there were a lot of men there and … you are still looking around," Melinda agreed.
But Bill described his wife as a "truly equal partner," noting: “She’s a lot like me in that she is optimistic and she is interested in science. She is better with people than I am.
"She’s a tiny bit less hard core about knowing, you know, immunology, than I am," he added.
The couple eventually tied the knot in Lanai, Hawaii, when Gates was 38 and Melinda was 29, reported the Associated Press.
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