“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the statement reads.
The couple founded their philanthropic organisation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, together in 2000.
Since then, the foundation has spent $69.2 billion on a wide range of initiatives related to global health, poverty alleviation and more, according to its website.
“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 says.
“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 growth together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. His net worth was $176 billion as of February, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking.
She worked as a product manager as part of the first class of MBA graduates to join the company and eventually rose through the ranks to become general manager of information products.
They met shortly after she joined the company in 1987, at a business dinner in New York.
She described the encounter in her book, The Moment of Lift: “I showed up late, and all the tables were filled except one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. I sat in one of them. A few minutes later, Bill arrived and sat in the other.”
The couple married in Hawaii in 1994.
Gates was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975.
He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.
As of December, the group had committed a total of $2.25 billion to the global pandemic response.
Melinda Gates is also the founder of investment firm Pivotal Ventures, which confirmed the couple’s separation.