As Melinda Gates prepares to divorce her husband, billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates, details are emerging of the tensions in their 27-year-marriage.
She candidly opened up about the power struggle within their marriage in her 2019 book, The Moment of Lift, published two years before they formally split.
Melinda revealed her husband’s insistence on setting the direction for their nonprofit organisation the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which uses the Microsoft billions to help people living with hunger and extreme poverty – led to major friction for the couple.
“I’ve been trying to find my voice as I’ve been speaking next to Bill, and that can make it hard to be heard,” she wrote.
When it came to trying to the foundation’s annual letter together, Melinda said, it was almost the last straw.
“I thought we were going to kill each other,” she wrote.
“I felt, ‘Well, this just might end the marriage right here.”
A clip of the couple's final interview together had some social media users are convinced shows the couple's marriage was already over last June.
"After watching him react to her denial of vaccine conspiracies on a John Oliver segment last night, I knew something was off," one Reddit user remarked in response to the news.
Gary Darmstadt, a doctor who worked closely with the couple on their charity work, said that Melinda began seeking more control within the foundation in around 2006.
“She started to speak out as she started to observe some things the foundation wasn’t focused on that she thought were really important, around social and cultural elements, the importance of behaviour change, the importance of systems, the importance of an integrated approach,”
Gates Foundation, said Melinda began spreading her wings in 2006, speaking emphatically about issues exterior to the Gates Foundation at an event addressing a $US31 billion gift from investment mogul Warren Buffett, the foundation’s third trustee.
“She started to speak out as she started to observe some things the foundation wasn’t focused on that she thought were really important, around social and cultural elements, the importance of behaviour change, the importance of systems, the importance of an integrated approach,” Darmstadt told the New York Times.
“She realised ‘OK, I’m going to have to step into a global leadership position on this issue because no one else is really doing it, and I’ve been equipped.”
Anita Zaidi, the Foundation’s director of vaccine development and gender equality, said the couple’s different priorities were “a constant tension point of the foundation”.
Melinda’s divorce settlement looks set to leave her with a net worth greater than that of Nepal, Iceland and Zimbabwe combined.
MacKenzie Scott, became the third-wealthiest woman in the world after divorcing Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos.
Keen to share her incredible wealth she made US$5.8 billion in charitable gifts in 2020, one of the largest annual distributions by a private individual to working charities.
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