When couples split there’s often the airing of dirty laundry, and things can’t get much more spoiled than a link to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced last week he and his wife, Melinda, were in the process of getting divorced, and the Wall Street Journal noted Sunday that the split has been in the works for a long time.
Citing people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by the paper, the Journal reported: “Ms. Gates consulted with divorce lawyers roughly two years before she filed for divorce from Mr. Gates, saying their marriage was ‘irretrievably broken.'”
The couple has not said what prompted the divorce, but Epstein’s name came up in the article, with Melinda reportedly voicing concerns about her husband’s dealing with the late billionaire — Epstein committed suicide in a Manhattan jail in Aug. 2019 while facing child sex trafficking charges.
“One source of concern for Ms. Gates was her husband’s dealings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein,” the Journal reported, citing the sources above and a former employee of their charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Ms. Gates’s concerns about the relationship dated as far back as 2013, the former employee said.”
According to the sources, Gates was told by his wife that she was uncomfortable with Epstein after they met him in 2013, but he supposedly continued the relationship anyway.
Gates confirmed to the Journal in 2019 that he had met Epstein, but “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him.”
“I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people,” Gates said at the time.
The New York Times reported in Oct. 2019 that Gates “started the relationship after Mr. Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.”
The Times also suggested the relationship was closer than Gates admits:
In fact, beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions — including at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night, according to interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, as well as documents reviewed by The New York Times.
Employees of Mr. Gates’s foundation also paid multiple visits to Mr. Epstein’s mansion. And Mr. Epstein spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund — an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Mr. Epstein.
Bill Gates spokesperson Bridgitt Arnold said at the time that the two met on multiple occasions to discuss philanthropy.
Arnold added, “Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so.”
Everyone’s gonna act like Bill Gates didn’t also hang out with Jeffrey Epstein? pic.twitter.com/S2hi1GgHw7
— paige s. (@PaigeSully88) April 4, 2020
Gates shared a joint statement online last week about the divorce, which said they could no longer “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. 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,” the statement said.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” the release continued. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Bill Gates’ net worth is estimated to be at least $134.1 billion, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reportedly has more than $51 billion in assets.
A couple of weeks before the Times story on her husband’s relationship with Epstein, Melinda Gates announced that she would be committing $1 billion “to expanding women’s power and influence in the United States.”
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