People: Bill Gates could have treated Melinda better & not vacationed with his ex

William H. Gates III (R), Co-Chair, Bill..........

Everyone but me has adjusted to the new reality where billionaires are acting like B-list celebrities and spilling their divorce drama to TMZ, Page Six and People Magazine. Like, Bill and Melinda Gates could just buy People Magazine, TMZ and the NY Post and control the story that way and it wouldn’t even be a dent in their fortune. Bill and Melinda could also stop trying to score some points with People Mag readership. Why are they doing this? Is it just Melinda? I think it’s *mostly* Melinda, and my guess is that she’s trying to appeal to all of us and maybe sound like a wronged woman. Which I think she is, but the whole “billionaires are just folks” thing is strange branding at the moment. Once again, “sources” are chatting with People Magazine, and we’re getting another reference to Ann Winblad, Bill Gates’ ex and annual long-weekend-vacationer.

Bill and Melinda Gates’ announcement that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage may have been a surprise to the world, but not to those in their inner circle. The relationship between the billionaire Microsoft co-founder, 65, and his philanthropist wife, 56, had long been splintering before it came to its end, a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

“He could have treated Melinda better,” the source says. “He’s not a saint, but there isn’t one thing that created the final split. It goes deeper than that. It’s many years of differing views of the world, the foundation, and of life in general, and those things piling up. They are older and each personally looked at life and asked, ‘Is there more out there than what I have?’”

Despite their united front, the source says that the pair’s statement, in which they said they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple,” rings true.

“They’ve grown apart for a variety of reasons,” the source says. “She’s more interested in women’s issues and what and who they helped with the foundation. Bill was — and is — far more interested in the business side of his life.”

In addition to the power dynamic, there was also the lingering issue of Bill’s ex Ann Winblad, a prominent venture capitalist with whom Bill reportedly took a Melinda-approved long weekend each year. While the source says Bill’s friendship with Winblad outlasted their breakup due to their many mutual interests, her presence may have contributed to a deterioration of trust.

“He is close to her. Romance or not, when one spouse loves the company of another person outside of the marriage and perpetuates that friendship over many years, it can help destroy trust,” the source says.

[From People]

I fully admit to holding the belief that kind of unimaginable wealth can truly buy you happiness. Obviously, that money cannot buy you a faithful husband (Jeff Bezos) or a man committed to women’s rights or a man who refuses to go on vacation every year with his ex. But you know… it’s all about how you define happiness and where you find joy. Clearly, Melinda has been miserable for years. Clearly, there were several breaking points (Epstein among them) but they wanted to wait until their kids were all grown up. But holy sh-t, I’m just shocked that it’s just so… mundane. Maybe their billions couldn’t have bought complete happiness, but they could have bought a better situation for themselves than this.

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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55 Responses to “People: Bill Gates could have treated Melinda better & not vacationed with his ex”

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  1. Erika says:

    This is making me think of advice someone once gave me: “wanting to end things is reason enough to do so”. I think it’s perfectly normal to get caught up in life and then just look around and realize that you and your partner are just going through the motions. Obviously, this is slightly more complicated than that, with the Epstein connection. That would have been it for me. But it’s okay to recognize that things aren’t working in a relationship anymore.

  2. souperkay says:

    I am not surprised by the messiness, billionaires are inherently messy, problematic, and troublesome.

    Every billionaire and multi-millionaire exists because they have stolen the labor of someone else, in Bill Gates’ case he was incredibly ruthless in destroying smaller companies to make Microsoft dominant.

    Because they are thieves and perpetrators of suffering, we cannot look to billionaires/multi-millionaires aspirationally. Because they are thieves, we cannot trust any redistribution of funds that they do of their own volition, philanthropy is a poisoned well.

    Governments should be taxing billionaires and multi-millionaires out of their status, to make sure that services are provided for the laborers that they steal from. Proper taxation can provide proper infrastructure, education, healthcare, childcare, nutrition for everyone.

    • Farfromreality says:

      Agreed a hundred percent.

    • BonnieT says:

      So this is anecdotal and not hard statistics; I only know a few true millionaires – I grew up around their kids. But if you are intuitive and can pick up the bits of truth of “the talk” that goes around in those circles, the consensus is that generally to individually make it to a successful level where you personally are making that level of money, some shady business goes on. Whether ethically or just straight cutthroat you decimate the competition of whatever business you deal in. And sometimes worse.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        1st off.. kids of millionaires are not millionaires in the context we are talking. Think of them as freeloaders. They never earned their wealth. They rarely know what they’re talking about. They get a broad picture and fill in the blanks with plausible chatter. They aren’t in those closed door meetings and know the moves of those with the money and control.

        2nd.. Yes there are shady business dealings. There are shady business dealings on small scales too. Even for honest going in business people. It’s a truly SYSTEMIC problem.

      • Apple says:

        100% disagree with this my boss is a millionaire and totally on board and above level. BUT what he does is travel 75% of the year and was basically a stranger with a paycheck to his family. The one good thing that came out is he realizes he needs to travel less and be plugged in more to his family and not just show up with a big present to make up for all the time lost. Men like these are never home and always traveling. It’s made a lot of people stop and realize they need to move on. The kids are grown and they have nothing in common anymore. Or work stay in it.

      • LillyfromLillooet says:

        There is a huge huge difference between a millionaire and a billionaire. I heard this somewhere:
        1 million seconds = 2 weeks
        1 billion seconds = 37 years

    • VS says:

      I strongly disagree….multi-millionaires exist because they have stolen the labor of someone’s else? really? that’s just so much nonsense
      I will just stop because your premise is wrong

      Have a good day

      • Justwastingtime says:

        Vs., Yup. Billionaires are one thing, but a good income and 30 years of investing will get you to a millionaire status without stealing anything, including someone else’s labor.

    • Mushroom says:

      @superkay, agreed. Also breaking up monopolies (Microsoft).

  3. Wilma says:

    My husband vacations every year with two of his exes who are part of his group of friends. I could not care less. Is it an American thing to need two spouses be everything to each other and so suspect of people being friends with someone of the opposite gender?

    • BL says:

      @wilma, I appreciate everyone does what works for them in their own marriage. If everyone is happy- who cares. However, I don’t think it’s an “American thing”, I think it’s a “mutual respect and consent thing” in a marriage.

    • Midge says:

      No, it’s not an “American thing”. What a dumb, prejudiced comment.

    • Maria says:

      Lol. Did your husband ask his exes permission to marry you like Bill did with his ex? Stop projecting. And the fact that you’re this defensive over it is a little odd. Maybe you care a little more than you want to admit.

      • Larisa says:

        @Maria, Jesus, she asked 1 question, hardly “this” defensive?
        The quote given by the source IS weird:

        “when one spouse loves the company of another person outside of the marriage and perpetuates that friendship over many years, it can help destroy trust”

        Really? I can’t love the company of any other person outside of my marriage over many years?

        And it actually IS pretty American. There is a fair number of studies that shows that Americans focus on friendship a lot less than many other cultures, which contributes to them feeling lonely when kids are gone and the spouse either dies or leave them. It’s a reasonable question to ask, methinks Wilma ain’t the one projecting and getting defensive here.

      • Maria says:

        I mean, you give snark you get snark.

        I can think of plenty of international countries and societies that prize all sorts of toxic relationship behaviors. But people pretending they somehow resemble Bill Gates or his viewpoints in order to condescend on the internet is amusing. To each their own.

        It’s been made pretty clear through various reporting on this topic that his relationship with this other woman is not normal closeness. People are internalizing the situation too much.

    • Tulipworthy says:

      I was thinking the same thing. It’s the old attitude that you can’t possibly be friends with an ex or a member of the opposite sex. It is such a stupid attitude.

    • MM2 says:

      You know you hit a truth when people get all defensive, lol (yikes). I do think this is an old school American thing & hearkens back to the ideal of the nuclear family- one wife, one husband, two kids & they do hang out with opposite genders, but only at neighborhood bbqs or on the lake, and only ever in a group. We can just look at Pence, voted VP of our country, & his inability to be in a room alone with someone of the opposite gender. It’s very much a fabric of our ideals that one spouse can & should be everything for the other, and that the opposite gender shouldn’t be trusted with your spouse.

      • Maria says:

        This is an idea perpetuated in many parts of the world.
        Except in places where the stereotype of extramarital affairs persists because of marriages that were largely transactional throughout their cultural history in that region (the European stereotype of “marry for convenience, love for pleasure” comes to mind).
        It has more to do with patriarchy and internalized misogyny than nationality.
        Of course, the US is a leader in those areas, but this discussion has little relevance to the marital situation of a billionaire who is entitled enough to believe in vaccine apartheid and other shady dealings.
        This friendship was not a casual female friendship.
        That said, I doubt it was the catalyst for their breakup.

      • Wilma says:

        Haha, yeah, I noticed it a lot when we spent a few months in the US. It just was so noticeable how other people reacted when I let my husband alone with other women. Like I should be suspicious. I never noticed that behaviour in other countries we spend time in.

    • Onomo says:

      My friend is Dutch and I think his best friend (woman) liked /loves him. He (hetero cis) has been married for a long time and still sees his best friend with and without his wife – she stays with them in their house. I feel there are many different kinds of love and close relationships that can exist.

      That said, Bill Gates sounds cold and unfeeling, and if there isn’t emotional trust to start, spending time with other people – a close ex, alone- for entire weekends every year probably won’t help trust set a foundation of trust nor help it to strengthen?

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Wilma
      Is your husband vacationing with only his exs annually and you’re strictly not invited and these vacations are non negotiable? Let’s add you are not friends with his ex’s just as Melinda wasn’t friends with bill’s ex.

      • Wilma says:

        I am very strictly not invited as are the other spouses. Never felt the inclination to negotiate.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Wilma
        It’s your marriage. Not mine. I was raised Greek and American. Both sides of my upbringing would give a side eye. And I’ve noticed the same side eye on other countries I’ve lived or visited in. So, let’s not say this is most notably or strictly American.

        I would say if my husband, that I love and trust, told me (not asked) that he’s vacationing with only his ex that he never separated emotionally from and needed approval to marry me, I have no say and I cannot come along… that’s a red flag for an affair. And some people are fine with that.

        Actually, the whole thing stinks of Charles and Camilla. The hunting vacations. The approval. The imbalance of power between husband and wife.

    • jbones says:

      Team Wilma!

      • Wilma says:

        It is sort if funny to me how you are proving my point for me. Wouldn’t it be amazing to feel as secure in your relationship as to be able to think of other women as interesting people who are great to spend time with? And not as potential rivals, but as people with morals and respect for you? I love the exes of my husband (the ones I know, not the puppy loves). I totally get why he fell in love with them. They are both amazing women.

      • Watson says:

        Wilma: I’m with you on this one. It’s ok to have exes as friends. Sometimes it’s just not a dramatic side inducing event. I also think this experience is not specific to America per se. I find the more patriarchal, and religious a country is the more apt people are to designate a separation of the sexes (for Hetero couples) and exes when they are married. See Mike Pence as an extreme example.

      • Maria says:

        You are presenting an image of a relationship that is relaxed and happy regarding members of the opposite sex and past partners. That is wonderful and *completely diametrically opposed* to being in a partnership where one still carries exclusive emotional baggage from a previous relationship which is what Wiglet described and what’s probably happening in the Gates marriage. Other people have different boundaries in their relationship and boiling it all down to “jealousy” without examining context is sort of reductive.
        Wiglet described the Charles/Camilla/Diana triangle. A prime example that being very close to your ex *can* still be toxic just as it can potentially be lovely and healthy.

        The story is about Bill and Melinda Gates, two billionaires going through a divorce and one of which has plenty of questionable entitlements. It’s not about “you can never be friends with people of the opposite sex or people you dated” and never was.

      • Wilma says:

        @Watson Yes, I agree with that. My experiences are in different western European countries and the US and within the world of academia. So very specific. And within those experiences the US stood out as the only place where people thought it weird I wouldn’t bat an eye when my husband did something without me with a female colleague. I always wondered whether that was specific to American culture. After posting I started reading up on it and the US does have a pretty low number of friendships between people of opposite sexes compared to other countries we spent time in and our own country, but it’s also specific to generations. Millennials and Z’s have higher numbers in the US compared to other generations, but in my own country that shift starts with generation X.

      • Watson says:

        Wilma: yes! I suspect that friendships of the opposite sex are more acceptable in countries like the Netherlands where it seems that the gendered differences between men and women in all areas of life aren’t so emphasized, and equality is stressed.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Wilma
        The detail you’ve added sounds healthy and great. It also doesn’t sound the same as the situation we’re discussing here. Which I think is where people are coming from and you’re coming from your personal and healthy experiences. You know these women. You like these women. You are friendly with them.
        This people mag leak and how it was never said Melinda was ever on board with this vacation makes it different.

        We’re discussing 2 different things.

    • Shelly says:

      Oh don’t judge. Everyone’s marriage is whatever it is, despite where you live. It’s not “American” to be jealous, it’s human.

  4. Snuffles says:

    I don’t think it’s benign at all. His connection to Epstein isn’t benign. I think Melinda got to a point in her life where she felt, as billionaires, certainly we could be doing much more to help the world. And Bill was like, how can I make even MORE money! I think with every choice and decision he made, the more disenchanted she became with him.

  5. BayTampaBay says:

    Bill Gates always seemed very much “off” to me. I cannot describe it but I always had the gut feeling that there was something not quite right about him.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Melinda helped his image massively!
      Without her we’re seeing with a clear focus on Bill.

  6. Trix says:

    I think one of the probably many reasons this is playing out in the tabloids is to protect their foundation and it’s goals. It’s humanizing these two in certain ways in a way that I think has remained elusive until this point to a certain segment of the population who have an inherent distrust due to whatever conspiracy theories they’ve heard. They have marriage and divorce troubles. Just like everyone else.

  7. JRenee says:

    This is far from the last update. Regardless of the wealth, people deserve the opportunity to reset their lives, divorce included. No one has to remain married but separated forever. Thank goodness for the ability to divorce!

    • MM2 says:

      I concur! Thank god that part of the evolution of women’s rights was the right to divorce a man when we want! How quick we forget what it used to be like, for every woman, regardless of the money, clout, or details they had. Freedom is always a good thing & the pursuit of happiness is a brave endeavor.

  8. Another Anna says:

    I’m reminded of the phrase “men get more conservative as they age, women get more liberal.” It seems to be true here. I think Bill’s self-centered attitude probably calcified over time and Melinda doesn’t need to deal with his shit to make a difference. Half of their fortune is still the GDP of a small country. If they own it together then they need to agree. If she divorces him, she’s in control.

  9. Isabella says:

    It’s not just Melinda getting the word out. Bill feels free to whine about her, complaining to his golf buddies that he is trapped in a loveless marriage. Turns out he’s been living in a billionaire’s golf resort in California for months.

    Melinda didn’t have a lover she stayed with one weekend a year for 27 years. Evidently that didn’t work for Melinda, and she was the wife and the mother of Bill’s three kids, not some random stranger to whom it sounds sophisticated. (Try that in Italy! I don’t think so.).

    Bill’s friendship with a famous pedophile would’ve wrecked most marriages. Ugh. What a role model for his kids and the Gates Foundation.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      I think the vacation with the ex is a true concern and did contribute to the marriage falling apart, but I’m curious if this isn’t a bit of look over here! You didn’t see Mr. Epstein behind that curtain!

    • Skeptic says:

      Did you ever consider that perhaps the “loveless marriage” described by an unnamed “golfing buddy” is pure fiction? Can you find any recent photos of Bill golfing?

      Did you ever consider that HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS of prominent people socialized with Epstein or discussed philanthropy with him over the course of decades without being aware of his habit of victimizing young women?

      Did you ever consider that the publications and “news” outlets insinuating nefarious activities and promoting vicious gossip about public figures have a profit motive to titillate readers / viewers by drawing their attention to such stories based on utterly flimsy actual facts?

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Skeptic
        Good name for the comment! I like it!
        Bill is on an ultra exclusive resort. You would never be able to snap a shot of him with or without approval. Even at the Masters you go through heavy security and phones are left in the cars. Non entry points everywhere. And you cannot see in from outside points with multiple layers of security. And this is more of a fortress compared to the Masters.

        Yes, many people were directly linked to Epstein, but the timing of everything regarding Bill and how he managed to keep his name out of publications for quite a while is interesting. There were mentions and then nothing. That’s not by accident.

        And if it was to name check Gates to draw in clicks why stop? He’s a big name with huge money. It would have been major. Also, wouldn’t Gates have a correction issued if it wasn’t true rather than just getting the story buried, never to be mentioned in detail again? It only exists on commenting posts these days.

  10. Curious says:

    what kind of woman will even go on a long weekend holiday with an ex who is now another woman husband, and thinks its ok..?

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      I like the role reversal.
      If this was Melinda doing it no way would she get the pass Bill gets.

  11. Mushroom says:

    He’s excessively rationalist, with no/little right brain capability. That would be hard to live with.

  12. Tashiro says:

    Nobody knows anything about anything. People passing judgement on something they know nothing about is silly. Whatever issues have led to the decision to end their is only known by them.

    • Skeptic says:

      Correct: Think of people whom you know well who have been divorced, and how little you know about what went on inside their marriage that led to the divorce.

  13. unattributed speculation says:

    You know, I get that — the slow, miserable realization that your partner has completely different values and principles than you have. I know anytime I read about my husband’s company in the news I briefly wonder if I married a stranger? (That sounds so much more intriguing than it actually is, haha.)

    But the past several years have shown me that my spouse wants self-driving cars and augmented-reality glasses and a digital voice-activated assistant in every room, and to move to Mars, which to me are the kind of ethical nightmares that beg “how well did you know this man before you got married?” I have no desire to divorce my husband, but I can certainly see how after 27 years Melinda got fed up. Like MacKenzie Scott, she married a doe-eyed dreamer… and much further down the road she found out what those dreams were. I’m sure it happens often in tech.

  14. emu says:

    I am surprised that ANYTHING is leaking out! But I’m glad it is.