Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced after 27 years of marriage

By Eric Todisco
May 09, 2021 12:40 PM
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Melinda Gates is feeling extra appreciative for her three children this Mother's Day.

On Sunday, Melinda, 56, shared a throwback photo to Twitter featuring her and her three children — daughters Phoebe, 18, and Jennifer, 25, and son Rory, 21, whom she shares with estranged husband Bill Gates.

"I love being their mother," the mother of three wrote. "Whatever Mother's Day means to you—a day to celebrate a mom, honor a memory, or reflect on your own resilience—I hope your day is a meaningful one."

Melinda and Bill, 65, announced their separation with a joint statement shared on social media last Monday.

"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.

A source recently told PEOPLE that a "combo of things" led to the pair's split, and that recent timing reflects the fact that their youngest child, daughter Phoebe, is now an adult.

"It's absolutely because their youngest child is graduating from high school, and the idea was that they stayed together through that," the source said. "They limped through until their kids were out of school like a lot of people."

bill and melinda gates
Melinda and Bill Gates
| Credit: Frederic Stevens/Getty

According to a recent New York Times article, the COVID-19 quarantine was a big adjustment for Bill and Melinda, who had spent the past three decades traveling around the world.

"Working from home — that was a piece that I think we hadn't really individually prepared for quite as much," Melinda told the outlet last October.

The Times piece also noted that Bill and Melinda had been growing apart for several years now, partially due to Melinda's struggles with being in Bill's shadow. "I've been trying to find my voice as I've been speaking next to Bill,  and that can make it hard to be heard," she wrote in her 2019 book The Moment of Lift.

In Melinda's court documents, which were obtained by PEOPLE, the philanthropist said her marriage was "irretrievably broken," and that she was not requesting spousal support or child support — only that the court reinforce their separation contract.

Their split comes nearly three decades after they tied the knot on New Year's Day in Lanai, Hawaii after first meeting at Microsoft after she began working there in 1987.