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Melinda Gates calls her marriage to Bill 'irretrievably broken' in divorce filings and says the couple are already separated

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6 days ago gdean@insider.com (Grace Dean)
Melinda Gates et al. that are talking to each other: Bill and Melinda Gates. Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images © Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images Bill and Melinda Gates. Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images
  • Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce filings describe their marriage as "irretrievably broken."
  • The couple on Monday said they planned to divorce after "a lot of work on our relationship."
  • They first met at Microsoft in 1987 and have been married for 27 years.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Before their announcement Monday of their plans to get divorced, Bill and Melinda Gates had already separated, according to divorce filings shared by TMZ.

Melinda Gates officially filed for divorce on Monday, saying her 27-year marriage was "irretrievably broken." Bill Gates is listed as respondent to the filings and signed the papers.

The couple announced the coming divorce in matching tweets posted to their personal Twitter accounts Monday. The tweets said the couple decided to end the marriage "after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship."

"We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives," they added.

Read more: How the CEO of a Bill Gates-backed battery startup convinced the tech mogul to invest in his solid-state tech

But Melinda Gates used stronger words in the divorce filing, filed Monday in Washington state's King County.

"This marriage is irretrievably broken," she wrote as petitioner of the divorce filing, adding that the couple were separated.

In the divorce filings, she also said they did not have a prenup and asked for their real property, personal property, and debts to be split according to a separation contract they had drawn up. She did not ask for spousal support.

Bill Gates first met Melinda French in 1987 when she joined Microsoft as a product manager, though she said her mom didn't think that seeing the CEO was a good idea at first.

The couple married in Hawaii in 1994 and moved into a lavish home, nicknamed Xanadu 2.0, in Medina, Washington. They had three children and set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together.

In past interviews, they have praised both each other and their marriage. Melinda Gates told Insider in 2019 that her husband was "incredibly supportive" and had encouraged her to develop her career. She added that the couple still did the dishes together every night to keep the partnership equal.

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