Apparently the separation was not sudden, but had been maturing for at least two years.
The divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates after 27 years of marriage was not sudden but had been maturing for at least two years.
Melinda began discussing it with some specialized attorneys in October 2019, the same month that the New York Times revealed her husband’s numerous encounters with Jeffrey Epstein, the controversial financier who later committed suicide in his cell following his arrest for sex trafficking of minors.
And this although she had warned Bill that she wanted nothing to do with the controversial figure of Epstein, which had caused her disgust when she met him with her husband at their home in Manhattan, in 2013, a time when it was already The subject of rumors for accusations of having sexually exploited girls and adolescents.
The latest behind the scenes of the case are revealed by the Wall Street Journal, which thus joins the American popular press in seeking to understand the reasons for a rupture that may have consequences in the world of finance and philanthropy.
The New York Times itself even read Melinda’s body language friction with her husband since some public appearances in 2014.
People magazine, for its part, confirms that the decision to separate is now linked to waiting for Phoebe, the youngest of their three children, to be older and graduate.
In recent days, however, the North American press had mentioned other rumors, pointing to the Chinese interpreter Zhe “Shelly” Wang, who worked for the Gates foundation since 2015, and Ann Winblad, Bill’s girlfriend of technology entrepreneur in the 80s, who spent a long weekend with her every spring at her house by the sea, with the woman’s permission.
But now, with documents and dates in hand, the Epstein case appears to have played a crucial role in starting the proceedings for a divorce that has apparently been around for a long time.
Melinda, committed to promoting women’s rights, had stormed out of that visit at the financier’s residence and had warned her husband, who instead continued to see him.
And he even accepted a trip in “Lolita”, his private plane, used to take the minors to his luxurious mansions.
The first calls from women to lawyers date back to October 2019, when the meetings between the two magnates were made public.
The couple began negotiating the separation in the months that followed, in the year of the pandemic, deserting the Davos economic forum shortly before Bill resigned from the board of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway.
Bill, through a spokesperson, always maintained that he saw Epstein only to discuss philanthropy, even regretting the decision.
But it was not enough to stop Melinda, who chose from among her lawyers Stephan Cohen, the divorce lawyer for Michael Bloomberg and Ivana Trump, the former US president’s first wife.
The couple, apparently, decided to evenly divide the assets of a fortune estimated at more than $130,000 million, and in recent days Melinda has already collected the first transfers for a total of $2,400 million.
Both will remain co-chairs of their charitable foundation, but it remains to be seen if they continue to share priorities and organizational philosophy.