Melinda Gates, the ex-wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, reportedly began consulting with divorce lawyers in 2019, around the time that reports of several meetings between convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and her husband have appeared.
Thethe Wall Street newspaper said, citing sources, that one of the reasons for the separation of the multi-millionaire philanthropic couple is because Mr Gates is caring for Epstein, who died by suicide in prison in 2019.
While the couple, in a joint statement on May 3, announced their decision to end 27 years of married life, neither have yet disclosed the reason for the separation.
According to WSJ, Ms Gates said her union with her husband was “irretrievably broken” and that she had been working with lawyers from different firms since 2019 to prepare for divorce.
His calls with the attorneys were scheduled around the same time the New York Times released a detailed report on her future ex-husband’s multiple encounters with Epstein three years after being convicted of soliciting underage girls in 2008. According to the NYT, Mr. Gates has met Epstein at least three times in his lavish Manhattan townhouse since 2011.
Ms Gates, who had met Epstein alongside her husband in 2013, at the time shared her concerns with Mr Gates about the relationship between the two men, reported the daily beast.
Calling it an “error in judgment,” Ms Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Mr Gates, had said NYT that the two had met to discuss philanthropy work and that Mr. Gates regrets ever meeting Epstein.
When WSJ contacted for comment with a spokeswoman for Mr Gates, she said he stuck to her previous statement and declined to comment further.
In 2020, the Gates couple were already discussing sharing their vast wealth and legal teams on both sides were working with a separation mediator, the newspaper reported.
According to the divorce file, the couple agreed to share their fortune estimated at $ 130 billion. Last week, Mr. Gates’ investment firm transferred nearly $ 2.4 billion in public company shares to Ms. Gates.