“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and build a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” he wrote. “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.
The now-former couple has run the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for over 20 years, as co-chairs and trustees. It is reported to be the largest private foundation in the world, with $46.8 billion in assets, according to a website fact sheet. Bill also owns 1.37 percent of Microsoft’s outstanding shares, which FactSet reports are valued at $26 billion.
The pair got married in Hawaii in 1994 after they met at Microsoft, where Melinda was a marketing manager. The news of their split comes two years after Jeff Bezos—another of the world’s richest figures—announced a divorce from his wife MacKenzie.
Bill and Melinda both created the Giving Pledge alongside Warren Buffett to give away half their wealth.