Bill Gates Once Said He Wished He Had Thanked Melinda More 2 Years Before Separating
The news of the philanthropists' separation comes two years after they both appeared in the Netflix docuseries Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. While the series covered a range of topics, both Bill and Melinda opened up about their relationship — with Bill revealing that he wished he thanked his wife more.
In the final episode of the three-part docuseries, the director asked Bill, "If you got hit by a bus today, died, what's the one thing, the one thing you said, 'God, I wish I had done that I haven't done?' "
"You know, thanking Melinda," Bill answered.
Earlier in that episode, Bill and Melinda looked back on the early days of their relationship.
"When we first met, she had other boyfriends and I had Microsoft. We were like, 'Hey we're not really serious about each other are we? We're not going to demand each other's time,' " Bill recalled.
Melinda — who had landed at the then-startup as her first job out of college — agreed, saying that at that time she was still "figuring it out."
"I was new to Microsoft. There were a lot of men there," she said with a laugh. "You know, you're still looking around, you're still figuring it out."
But as time went by, the pair fell in love.
"But after about a year of that, sort of to our surprise, certainly my surprise, we said, 'Hey, I love you,' and she said she loved me and then it was like, wow. Now what's going to happen?" Bill said.
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"Bill wanted to be married, but he didn't know whether he could actually commit to it and have Microsoft," Melinda said.
The pair tied the knot on New Year's Day 1994 in Hawaii. They share three children: son Rory John, 21, and daughters Phoebe Adele, 18, and Jennifer Katharine, 25.
In 2019, Melinda shared a throwback video from their wedding in honor of their anniversary.
"I thought my heart was full that night, but the last 25 years have taught me just how full a heart can get," she wrote in a sweet Facebook post.
In the first episode of the docuseries, Bill referred to Melinda as "totally my partner."
The couples' friend Mike Slade also remarked on the couples' equal partnership throughout their marriage and various works together.
"It doesn't feel like there's any inequality, even though he's the one who started Microsoft and not her," Slade said. "He appreciates everything about her as opposed to complaining about her."
"I've never heard him complain about her. He's the only person I know on this earth who I've never heard complain about his wife," Slade added.
Bill and Melinda announced their separation with a joint statement shared on social media Monday.
Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. 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," they said, referring to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which they founded in 2000 and is now worth over $40 billion.
"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 this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life," they concluded in the statement.