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Bill and Melinda Gates arrive for a session during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho in 2014.


When Bill and Melinda Gates announced this month that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage, the immediate question was the matter of their vast, vast roughly $130 billion fortune and how they would go about dividing it up. Who would get “Xanadu 2.0,” the couple’s 66,000-square-foot Seattle house/spread/small nation reportedly replete with 24 bathrooms, six kitchens, and beach sand imported from Hawaii? The estimated $650,000 worth of sports cars? The approximate 242,000 acres of farmland? The scientific writings of Leonardo da Vinci? Warren Buffett??

More recently, though, the conversation has taken a sadder, more sordid turn as reports of Bill’s alleged behavior over the years have come out. For instance, last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Melinda began talking to divorce lawyers in at least 2019 after The New York Times ran a story on her husband’s relationship with notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Despite Gates’s insistence that the two had neither a “business relationship [nor a] friendship,” the Times detailed numerous meetings between the two men over the course of several years, including at Epstein’s New York mansion, all of which happened after Epstein had pleaded guilty to procuring a minor for prostitution. Melinda had reportedly expressed concerns about Epstein to Bill, but both he and some employees of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continued their dealings with the guy anyway, a situation that is said to “still haunt” her. A source told reporter Rachel DeSantis anything related to Epstein was—and presumably remains—“major trauma,” adding: “[Melinda] was totally opposed to what she considered shady dealings and some other issues he wanted to pursue in the business area. She was not afraid to speak up about it either.”

On Sunday, the Times reported some further unfortunate stories about the Microsoft founder, including the fact that he allegedly had a thing for asking female employees out on dates, both at the software company and at the Gates Foundation. –