As the news of Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce continues to reverberate around the world, Melinda has said her marriage to Bill is “irretrievably broken” going by the divorce filings between the $130 billion-worth couple.
Bill, 64, and Melinda, 56, met in 1987 - the same year he became the world's youngest billionaire at the age of 31 - married in Hawaii in 1994, and have three children together: Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe 18.
They also established the world's largest charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 which has contributed more than $50billion to causes including eradicating polio and malaria.
The foundation has also been a major investor in coronavirus treatments.
In a joint statement posted to their Twitter accounts on Monday, the pair said their work with the foundation will continue but their marriage will not, adding, “We no longer feel we are able to grow as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”
According to Daily Mail, the documents, which were filed by Melinda, came to light after the couple's eldest daughter revealed their family has been going through a “challenging stretch of time.”
Jennifer Gates, 25, spoke out about the divorce announcement on Instagram on Monday afternoon, writing “I'm still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so.”
Jennifer is the oldest of Bill and Melinda's three children, followed by 21-year-old son Rory and 18-year-old daughter Phoebe.
The reason behind their split after over a quarter-century remains a mystery but Melinda has previously suggested her husband had trouble balancing work and family.
In the divorce petition, which was filed in Superior Court of Washington - King County on Monday, Melinda asked the judge to dissolve the marriage 'on the date stated in our separation contract'. The separation contract was not included in the filing so that date is unclear.
In the absence of the pre-nuptial agreement, the only agreement pertaining to the divorce is the separation contract.
Melinda did not ask for any spousal support but requested a trial date in April 2022. However it is likely the divorce will be settled without a trial.
The petition states that finances pertaining to the couple's two children are addressed in the separation contract. The document was signed by both Bill and Melinda, as well as their attorneys.
In 2019, shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary, Melinda gave a rare interview to The Sunday Times in which she revealed how Bill struggled to balance work with family.
“We’ve just gotten to a point in life where Bill and I can both laugh about more things.
“And, believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, 'Can I do this?"' she said.
In her memoir published that same year Melinda wrote about her private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mum with three kids.