Bill and Melinda Gates to divorce

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One of the world’s most powerful and wealthiest couples have decided to call it quits… sending shock waves through the world of philanthropy.

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates on Monday released a joint statement saying (quote):

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”

They added, “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

The two, who have been married for 27 years, are co-chairs and trustees of their nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which launched in the year 2000.

The foundation – which focuses on public health - currently has over $51 billion in assets, according to a tax filing cited by CNBC, giving it vast influence and reach the world over.

The couple have three children.

The financial details of their decision to split were not immediately clear.

But they said in their statement that they would both continue their work at the foundation.

Gates dropped out of Harvard to co-found Microsoft, making him a billionaire many times over.

Gates stepped down from the Microsoft board in March 2020 to focus on philanthropy.

Their split comes two years after another billionaire - Amazon founder Jeff Bezos - said that he and his then-wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced.

MacKenzie Scott has since become one of the richest women in the world - and one of the most generous philanthropic donors.