Billionaire philanthropist couple Bill and Melinda Gates file for divorce

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Bill and Melinda Gates announce divorce

Billionaire philanthropist couple Bill and Melinda Gates filed for divorce on Monday after 27 years of marriage, saying "we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple."

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the two said in a joint statement posted on each of their individual Twitter accounts.

In a joint petition for dissolution of marriage, the couple asserted their legal union was "irretrievably broken," but said they had reached agreement on how to divide their marital assets. However, no details of the pact were disclosed in the filing at  a court in  Seattle.

Bill Gates, 65, who co-founded Microsoft Corp, and his wife, Melinda French Gates, 56, met after she joined the software giant as a product manager, and their courtship culminated in marriage in January 1994.

In their divorce petition, the couple asks the court "to dissolve our marriage" and to divide their communal property, business interests and liabilities "as set forth in our separation contract," though that accord was not made public.

Bill Gates is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, and is worth $124 billion.

The divorce petition states that the couple have no minor children as the youngest of their three children turned 18.

Since it was launched in 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent more than $50 billion over the last 20 years to fight poverty and disease.

The Gates couple has supported widely acclaimed programs in malaria and polio eradication, child nutrition and vaccines. The foundation last year committed some $1.75 billion to COVID-19 relief.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the world's biggest, with net assets of $43.3 billion at the end of 2019, according to figures displayed on its website.

From 1994 through 2018, the couple gifted more than $36 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, the website said.

The Gates - along with investor Warren Buffett - are behind the Giving Pledge, which calls on billionaires to commit to giving away the majority of their wealth to good causes.

Last year, investor Warren Buffett reported donating more than $2 billion of stock from his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.

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