In a shocking turn of events last week, mega-rich power couple Bill and Melinda Gates announced their plan to divorce after 27 years of marriage, prompting much speculation about what precipitated the demise of a union that collaboratively poured billions of dollars into progressive causes across the world.
However, according to new reports, the soon-to-be ex-wife of the former Microsoft mogul revealed to insiders that her desire for a dissolution dates back longer than many first realized, taking root years ago after she first began having concerns about her husband’s relationship with disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Individuals familiar with the situation have indicated that Melinda Gates expressed to her husband in 2013 that she was not comfortable with Epstein, but he continued to maintain a relationship with the controversial figure to an extent that he was publicly reluctant to acknowledge.
In late 2019, news emerged that Gates had indeed met with Epstein, though the former claimed he “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” as Vanity Fair noted.
However, reporting from the New York Times also revealed that a series of meetings between the two did indeed take place over a number of years, even after Epstein was known as a convicted sex offender.
Though a spokesperson for Bill Gates said at the time that he “regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes that it was an error in judgment to do so,” Melinda Gates apparently started consulting with divorce attorneys right away, according to the WSJ.
While it is true that the Gates’ separation has apparently been in the works for a lengthier period than the general public knew, it is unclear precisely how the mega-rich pair will divide their massive fortune, estimated by Forbes to be in the neighborhood of $130.5 billion.
The fallout from the scandals surrounding the well-connected sex criminal – who died under mysterious circumstances while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges – has spanned the realms of show business, politics, journalism and even royalty, with famous names such as Kevin Spacey, Katie Couric, Chelsea Handler, former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew surfacing in press accounts of his alleged exploits.
It remains to be seen whether these revelations about Melinda Gates’ unease over her husband’s interactions with Epstein are where this story ends, or if another scandalous shoe is poised to drop in the ongoing saga.