Bill Gates Opens Up About 'Most Unusual and Difficult' Year After Divorce from Melinda in Pandemic

In his year-in-review blog post, Bill Gates called daughter Jennifer's wedding the "highlight" of 2021

bill and melinda gates
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates. Photo: Daniel Berman/Redux

Bill Gates is getting introspective about some big changes in 2021 — including his divorce from Melinda French Gates.

In a year-in-review blog post, the Microsoft co-founder reflected on how this has been the "most unusual and difficult year of my life."

"In 2021, the pandemic has dominated our lives since day one. We've all had to adapt to a 'new normal,' although what that looks like is different for every person. For me, the result has been a year spent mostly online," wrote Bill, 66.

"It's been a strange and disorienting experience. My personal world has never felt smaller than it did over the last twelve months," the billionaire added.

After reflecting on some of his biggest professional accomplishments — which included the release of his book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster — Bill opened up about "a subject closer to home: my divorce."

When Bill and Melinda, 57, announced they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage in May, the pair shared that they would continue to work together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which they started in 2000. They went on to finalize their divorce in August.

Bill and Melinda Gates
Bill Gates; Melinda French Gates. Chesnot/Getty; Mike Lawrence/Getty

In his blog post, Bill wrote that the exes "have found a good new working rhythm, but I can't deny that it's been a year of great personal sadness for me."

"I've been impressed by how resilient my loved ones—especially my kids—have been in this challenging time," he added, referring to their daughters Jennifer, 25, and Phoebe, 19, as well as son Rory, 22.

Gates went on to note several developments, one of which brought him immeasurable joy.

"My family also experienced a lot of changes beyond what you probably saw in the news," he wrote. "My oldest daughter, Jenn, got married this fall, and her wedding was the highlight of my year."

Jennifer Gates/Instagram
Jennifer Gates and Nayel Nassar. Jennifer Gates/Instagram

Both Bill and Melinda were present for their daughter's special day in October, when she tied the knot with equestrian Nayel Nassar, 30, at the couple's farm in New York.

At the time, Bill wrote that it was "impossible" to put his happiness for the couple into words.

"I'm so proud of you both for everything you've accomplished in your lives so far and everything you will do with your future together," he shared in a social media tribute.

Later that month, Jennifer — who has continued to spend time with both parents since their split — shared a sweet wedding day photo with her father in honor of his 66th birthday.

Bill Gates, Jennifer Gates
(L-R) Bill Gates, Jennifer Gates. Jennifer Gates/Instagram

As for the rest of his children, Bill shared in his blog post that Jennifer hasn't been the only one to celebrate a big milestone.

"Our youngest, Phoebe, graduated from high school and went off to college," he wrote. "Since my son Rory is also away at school, that means I'm officially an empty nester."

"The house is a lot quieter without a bunch of teenagers hanging around all the time," he added. "I miss having them at home, even if it is easier to focus on reading a book or getting work done these days."

RELATED VIDEO: Bill and Melinda Gates' Daughter Jennifer Shares First Photos from Wedding to Nayel Nassar

Acknowledging that "2021 has been a year of big transitions for me," Bill ended his post on an optimistic note.

"I've never been a big New Year's resolution person. I don't have any specific goal in mind for 2022 (although I guess I still have a couple more weeks to think of one). But what I do hope is that next year is a lot more settled than this one," he wrote.

"Human beings are naturally resistant to change. Whether it's the massive global upheaval of the last two years or transitions closer to home, it's never easy to adjust to new ways of living," he continued.

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In addition to spending more time at the office, the billionaire shared that he wants "to find a new rhythm at home."

"I hope you and your loved ones also find a way to create new routines. There's no question that the pandemic will create huge, lasting changes that will take years to fully understand, which can feel scary," he wrote. "The world has adapted to big disruptions before, and we'll do it again. In the meantime, I wish you a very happy holiday season."

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