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Bill and Melinda Gates end 27-year marriage

Last Updated May 4, 2021 at 9:03 am EDT

In this Feb. 1, 2019 photo, Bill Gates looks to his wife Melinda as they are interviewed in Kirkland, Wash. The couple, whose foundation has the largest endowment in the world, are pushing back against a new wave of criticism about whether billionaire philanthropy is a force for good. They said they're not fazed by recent blowback against wealthy giving, including viral moments at the World Economic Forum and the shifting political conversation about taxes and socialism. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

One of the wealthiest couples on the planet are getting divorced.

In a statement, Bill and Melinda Gates say after a great deal of thought and a lot of work on their relationship, they’ve decided to end their 27-year marriage.

The divorce announcement has sent shockwaves through one of the world’s most valuable companies and the couple’s multi-billion dollar philanthropic organization.

Bill Gates has a net worth of $130 billion dollars, about $23 billion of that is held in shares of Microsoft, but far larger from a dollar standpoint is Bill and Melinda Gates’ personal holding company which owns large holdings in well known companies like CN Rail, Four Seasons Hotels and John Deere.

Separate from that, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is currently estimated at $50 billion. In 2000, the pair co-founded the foundation, the world’s largest private charitable organization as of 2015.

The couple say they will continue to work together on issues focused on climate change, vaccine development and health-care in third world countries, along with maintaining their giving pledge initiative that encourages billionaires to pledge half of their net worth over their lifetime.

“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 the next phase of our lives,” the statement read..

“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

In 2002, Melinda and Bill Gates received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an honour that is given out annually by Jefferson Awards.

The statement from the couple says that during their marriage they’ve raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.

They have three children including Jennifer, Phoebe and Rory Gates.

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