Perhaps the most prominent of the bunch first emerged in a 1997 profile in Time magazine, where the Microsoft founder explained that he and ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad would have yearly weekend vacations at her beach cottage in North Carolina during his marriage to Melinda.
Both Gates and his ex, who the New York Post reports is now married to Alex Kline, would “play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” as Gates said. He began taking the yearly trip when the pair first dated in 1984 after meeting at a computer conference.
“When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval,” Gates said.
During their trips, Gates and Winblad—a software expert from Seattle— would hang-glide and take walks on the beach. “We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,” Winblad said. “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.”
In another more widely known tidbit about their marriage that’s once again making the rounds, Gates actually drafted up a pros and cons list about marrying Melinda, which she walked in on him doing.
“I took the idea of marriage very seriously,” Bill said in the Netflix documentary, Inside Bill’s Brain. “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.”
Bill and Melinda announced their split following 27 years of marriage and the creation of their successful Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The day of the announcement, Gates gave Melinda $1.8 billion worth of stock, TMZ reports. According to documents obtained by the outlet, she received more than 14 million shares of Canadian National Railway Co. and over 2.9 million shares of AutoNation Inc.