Details in the Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce are about to get a bit more complicated. It seems that their 27-year marriage wasn’t the fairy-tale romance we had been led to believe, per sources that have spoke to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and now Vanity Fair. According to former employees of the Microsoft founder and other unnamed sources, it appears that many of Gates’ professional contacts often crossed the line into “inappropriate extramarital relationship[s]” with Vanity Fair sources now claiming this conduct was an “open secret” at work.
Information about one affair of Gates’ was already well-known before his divorce led to further digging into his marital past: a 2001 affair with an employee into which Microsoft conducted an investigation before Gates stepped down from the board in 2019. But according to Gates’ former employees speaking up to Vanity Fair now, it appears there was more than one alleged entanglement between Gates and his employees. His behavior was considered “something of an open secret” at the corporation, per these sources. One former employee, who signed an NDA, shared that “there were times when Bill came into the office driving a Mercedes, and an hour later, one of his security personnel showed up with a golden brown Porsche that Bill drove away in” — like a sneaky getaway vehicle to romance his latest mistress.
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) May 17, 2021
“We all assumed that it was when he was with women,” the source told Vanity Fair. “I knew there were many offsite meetings that were not on his calendar.”
A spokesperson for Gates has strenuously denied nearly all allegations of his infidelity, with the exception of “an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably” — the one flagged to the Microsoft board in 2019, though the spokesperson says that “Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter,” adding “in fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”
As for the sources who now claim that Gates engaged in a pattern of infidelity, a spokesperson had this to say: “It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances, and the timeline of Bill Gates’s divorce. The rumors and speculation are becoming increasingly absurd and it’s unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as ‘sources.'” The spokesperson further disputes that NDAs at Microsoft were ever used to “prevent people from bringing to the company’s attention concerns they have about how they’ve been treated at work,” going against these unnamed sources’ assertion that they were concerned about legal ramifications for speaking up about what they’d allegedly witnessed.
One attorney explained how a separation agreement could also work as a non-disclosure agreement for Melinda Gates. https://t.co/AtuWKJeoLe
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) May 19, 2021
These stories of Gates’ alleged behavior are also at odds with the public persona of the billionaire over the past decade or so — though certainly, his recently resurfaced ties to Jeffrey Epstein have drawn questions as to how well we ever knew Gates’ intentions and values. With regard to his alleged infidelity, we also have to go back and remember that Bill and Melinda’s romance began when she was employed by the company — she was an entry-level staff member and he was the boss. That uneven power structure creates a lot of issues when it comes to office affairs: could it be this was a practice Bill didn’t stop after he married Melinda in 1994?
One thing that all parties seem to agree on is that Bill and Melinda Gates likely intentionally waited to pull the trigger on their divorce until their youngest daughter, Phoebe, 18, graduated from high school, so their kids wouldn’t have to deal with the turbulence of their separation while still living at home. Given the massive public interest in their split and the assets at stake, the stories around this divorce are likely to grow even further before they disappear, and we have to applaud that they did what they could to keep their kids out of harm’s way.
Before you go, click here to see all the celebrity splits of 2021.