For the first time since Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates announced their decision to end their near-three decade-old marriage, the 57-year-old philanthropist spoke about the breakup with CBS Morning. After Gayle King brought up the affair, Bill, 66, admitted to following the divorce announcement, Melinda said that their split wasn’t due to a single instance. “I certainly believe in forgiveness, so I thought we had worked through some of that,” she said. “It wasn’t one moment or one specific thing that happened. 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 admitted that she shed “a lot of tears for many days” over the breakup and that she spent “laying on the carpet, thinking, ‘How can this be? How can I get up? How am I gonna move forward?’ And days I certainly was angry. That’s part of the grieving process. You’re grieving a loss of something you thought you had and thought you had for your lifetime. This is painful stuff.” However, Melinda said that at the end of the day, she “started on this journey of healing, and I feel like I’m starting to get to the other side. I do feel like I’m turning the page in the chapter, now.” She added, “I’m actually really excited about what’s to come in life ahead for me.”
Bill and Melinda announced their divorce in May 2021. “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all to lead healthy, productive lives,” the couple said in a statement. Two weeks later, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft’s board of directors moved to remove Bill from its board in 2020 following an investigation into Bill’s affair with an employee. Bill’s spokesperson issued a statement saying the affair happened “almost 20 years ago, which ended amicably. Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter.”
“Certainly, I think everyone does [have regrets],” Bill said during an August 2021 episode of Anderson Cooper 360° when asked about the affair. “But it’s a time of reflection, and at this point, I need to go forward. My work is very important to me. Within the family, we’ll heal as best we can and learn from what happened.”
Bill and Melinda finalized their divorce in August 2021. The couple did not have a prenup, and Melinda declined spousal support. The two divided their assets in a separation contract, according to their official divorce documents. Their three children were also all legal adults at the time of the divorce, so the former couple didn’t need to establish a custody or child support arrangement.