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Melinda Gates, the ex-wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has spoken about the divorce and said the pandemic played a role.
“I had some reasons I just couldn’t stay in that marriage anymore,” she said in an interview with Fortune magazine. “But the odd thing about COVID is that it gave me the privacy to do what I needed to do.
“It’s unbelievably painful, in innumerable ways, but I had the privacy to get through it,” she said.
The couple wed in 1994 and were together until their divorce in 2021.
The pair have three children, Jennifer, 25, Rory, 23, and Phoebe, 19, and continue to head the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation together.
“I kept working with the person I was moving away from, and I needed to show up and be my best self every single day,” she said. “So even though I might be crying at 9 a.m. and then have to be on a video conference at 10 a.m. with the person I’m leaving, I have to show up and be my best.
“I learned as a leader that I could do it. It reminded me that the foundation calls me to be my best,” she said.
“We work with unbelievable partners around the world who were also struggling during COVID,” she said. “I was on a video call with a woman who had lost her father, and a week later she’s on a call with me, right?”
In an interview this year she did mention that her husband’s relationship with the late Jeffrey Epstein played a role.
In a tell-all interview with CBS host Gayle King in March the 57-year-old spoke about infidelity and more, The Daily Beast reported.
But one thing that stuck out more than the others is the role that the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein played in her wanting a divorce.
Melinda Gates acknowledged in an interview that her divorce from Bill Gates came about in part because of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein: “It was many things. But I did not like that he’d had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein. I made that clear to him.” https://t.co/Kp34SSpQHm
— Vicky Ward (@VickyPJWard) March 3, 2022
“It was many things. But I did not like that he’d had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein,” she told King. “I made that clear to him.”
She said that she met Epstein “exactly one time, because I wanted to see who this man was. And I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door.
“He was abhorrent. He was evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterward. So my heart breaks for these young women.”
She went on to talk about her marriage to the billionaire.
“On the day I got married, I never thought I would end up being divorced,” she said to King.
Her husband had admitted to having one affair during their marriage, but she would not confirm there were any more, saying only “those are questions Bill needs to answer.”
“I thought we had worked through some of that,” she said. “There just came a point in time where there was enough there that I realized it just wasn’t healthy. And I couldn’t trust what we had.”
“I had a lot of tears for many days. I mean, days where I’m literally laying on the floor … thinking, ‘How can this be? How can I get up? How am I going to move forward?’” she said in a clip of the interview.
The host asked Gates about her husband having an affair with an employee when they were still married.
“I certainly believe in forgiveness,” she said. “So, I thought we had worked through some of that.”
“It wasn’t one moment or one specific thing that happened,” she said. “There just came a point in time where there was enough there that I realized it just wasn’t healthy, and I couldn’t trust what we had.”
Melinda Gates said she does not blame herself for the end of the marriage.
“I mean, this is painful stuff,” she said. “And at the end of the day though, I started on this journey of healing, and I feel like I’m starting to get to the other side. And I do feel like I’m turning a page in the chapter now. I mean, it’s 2022, and I’m actually really excited about what’s to come and life ahead for me.”