Gates expressed genuine disappointment about the end of his marriage after 27 years, calling Melinda “a great person” and that the divorce is “a source of great personal sadness — but it isn’t the end of their professional partnership. The duo is going to attempt to work together at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a two-year trial period. If it doesn’t pan out, it will be Melinda, who steps down from their charitable organization. “We always enjoyed our work together,” Gates told Cooper. “The two of us can go out and work with leaders and help build the organization, so that would be definitely the best thing for the foundation.”
That topic wasn’t the only thing plaguing Bill, he also addressed the lingering suspicions around his association with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. It reportedly was Melinda, who took issue with her husband having anything to do with him because of prior convictions and his alleged shady business dealings. But the entrepreneur downplayed his relationship with the controversial figure, telling Cooper, “I had several dinners with him, hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts that he had might emerge. When it looked like that wasn’t a real thing, that relationship ended.” He noted that it was “a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility.”
Cooper pressed on with the uncomfortable conversation by asking about Microsoft’s corporate culture and Bill’s role in having an affair with a former employee two decades ago. When asked if he had any regrets, he responded by skirting around the questions posed by the CNN journalist. “Well, certainly I think everyone does, but it’s a time of reflection, and at this point, I need to go forward. My work is very important to me,” Bill said. “Within the family, we’ll heal as best we can and learn from what’s happened.”
For Bill, his moves post-divorce will likely be watched very carefully because the issues that came to light over the last year didn’t reflect well on him. For now, he’s moving ahead with the hopes of putting his questionable past far behind him.
Before you go, click here to see all the celebrity splits of 2021.