Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have officially finalized their divorce, according to court records filed Monday in King County, Washington. Neither will receive spousal support and French Gates will not legally change her name.
The court approved Bill and Melinda’s separation contract, which was presumably signed by the pair before they announced their divorce in March. The contract dictates how the pair will divvy up their assets, which includes property, debt and “any post-secondary support” for their three children, who are all older than 18. Since the agreement wasn’t submitted to the court, it’s ultimately unclear how they will split their massive fortune, though filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission have shown that Melinda has already received $3.3 billion worth of stocks from Bill.
Bill, who cofounded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, is currently the fourth-richest person in the world, according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $131.1 billion. Bill and Melinda have pledged to donate the majority of their fortune to charitable causes, primarily through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has become the largest private foundation in the world. The pair say they are committed to running the foundation together post-divorce, but the foundation announced last month that Melinda will resign in two years if it turns out that she and Bill can’t work together.
In their original divorce petition, Bill and Melinda said their relationship was “irretrievably broken.” Melinda was reportedly distressed by Bill’s meetings with deceased sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein and began consulting divorce lawyers as far back as 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. A spokesperson for Bill also admitted that he had an affair with a Microsoft employee in 2000, which the company’s board investigated in 2019, also according to the Wall Street Journal. Bill stepped down from Microsoft’s board in March 2020 before the probe was completed, though the spokesperson denies he did so because of the investigation.