It’s been announced that Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing after 27 years of marriage.

Fittingly for a man who made his billions through technology, they tweeted the announcement that their union was over.

The couple posted a statement saying “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.

The pair first met in the 1980s when Melinda joined Bill’s Microsoft firm when they sat together at a business dinner in New York.

They began dating, but as Bill told a Netflix documentary: “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.”

Their statement reads: “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” it read.

“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 the next phase of our lives.

“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

The couple have three children, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.

Jennifer Gates posted on Instagram, that “been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family”.

Romance

Their relationship has never been conventional, with Bill’s logic and work playing a huge part.

Melinda admitted that Bill spent weeks debating whether or not they should marry.

He even made a list of pros and cons for marriage on a whiteboard. Romantic!

However, she added: “When he was having trouble making the decision about getting married, he was incredibly clear that it was not about me, it was about, ‘Can I get the balance right between work and family life?’”

They got married in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. It’s claimed they hired all of the local helicopters to stop unwanted guests flying over.

Melinda has previously said marriage has been “incredibly hard”.

She said Bill regularly worked 16-hour days and can find it hard to make time for the family.

In an interview with the Sunday Times in 2019 to mark their 25th anniversary she said: “Believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, ‘Can I do this?’”

Melinda wrote a memoir, The Moment of Lift. Working together at the Foundation had made their relationship better, she claimed: “He’s had to learn how to be an equal, and I’ve had to learn how to step up and be an equal.”

She also founded Pivotal Ventures in 2015. It is an investment company focused on women and families.

“The world is finally waking up to the fact that none of us can move forward when half of us are held back,” she said at the time. “The data is clear: empowered women transform societies.”

Fortune

Together they have built up a combined $124bn (£89bn) fortune. This figure makes them among the five richest couples in the world.

Despite their riches, the Gates – along with investor Warren Buffett – are behind the Giving Pledge.

The pledge calls on billionaires and the world’s wealthiest to commit to giving away the majority of their riches to good causes.

Bill down from Microsoft’s board last year to focus on his philanthropic activities.

Meanwhile, their divorce follows the Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos’s separation from his wife, MacKenzie Scott in 2019.

Bezos’ divorce made Scott the world’s fourth-richest woman, with some $38bn.

It was the largest settlement in history.

Messages

After the divorce was announced, plenty of people are shooting their shot.

But you can’t blame them for trying, right?

Image via Alamy