Melinda Gates has been consulting divorce lawyers for more than 18 months now or around the same time her husband Bill Gates' links with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was being questioned, according to a bombshell report on Sunday. Melinda reportedly was concerned about Bill's ties with Epstein and started contemplating divorce since then.
In fact, she said in a 2019 interview to the Wall Street Journal that her marriage was "irretrievably broken" and that she had been working with lawyers since then to prepare to dissolve it. Bill and Melinda announced their divorce last week, ending their 27-year marriage. However, the exact reason behind the divorce yet unknown but things are gradually becoming clearer now.
Relationship Gone Sour
Melinda, 56, has been working with lawyers at several firms since at least October 2019. Interestingly, this was also the same month Bill was first exposed as having met Epstein at his Manhattan mansion on several occasions, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources and divorce documents.
Bill's ties with the convicted pedophile had been a cause of concern for his Melina, sources told the outlet. Melinda, a global advocate for women and girls, had earlier warned the Microsoft co-founder that she was uncomfortable with Epstein after the couple met him in 2013, the outlet's sources confirmed of earlier reports.
The billionaire tech mogul had allegedly also flown with Epstein on the pedophile's jet, Lolita Express, from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, in 2013, four years after Epstein had already served time behind bars for soliciting a minor under the age of 18 for sex. However, despite Melina's concerns Bill kept meeting Epstein.
Her concerns apparently came to a head several years later and she started talking to New York divorce lawyer Robert Stephan Cohen in October 2019. A spokeswoman for Bill at the time had said that the meetings were focused on philanthropy. Epstein killed himself in his Manhattan jail in August 2019, where he was awaiting further serious sex charges.
End of the Road
Cohen has represented Michael Bloomberg, Henry Kravis and Ivana Trump in their divorces and was Melinda's go to person at that time. In fact, Melinda had already been meeting with lawyers, however, with the couple negotiating their divorce throughout the Covid-19 pandemic until their shock announcement last Monday, the report noted.
During that time, the couple also unexpectedly pulled out of the World Economic Forum gathering of leaders in Davos, Switzerland. Bill also resigned from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway. The Gates Foundation tried to show that the resignations were in a bid so that Bill could focus more on philanthropy However, it was actually because the couple was in discussions on how to divide his $130 billion fortune in the divorce, the outlet said.
Bill has been speaking to lawyers including Ronald Olson, a partner at the firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, who has represented Mark Zuckerberg and is a board member at Berkshire Hathaway, where he sat alongside Bill and Warren Buffett, a close friend of Bill.
After the initial expose of his meetings, Bill in September 2019 had told the WSJ: "I met him. I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him." But things are now becoming clearer after the announcement of their divorce.
Melinda all through last year was working with her current legal team, legal docs show, including Cohen. The Gateses were already around 1,250 miles apart when they finally signed their divorce filing, according to the WSJ.
Melinda signed her divorce petition in Bellevue, Washington, near the family home and the foundation's headquarters, while Bill signed the papers from Palm Desert, California. The WSJ reported also say that the couple waited until their youngest child, Phoebe, turned 18 in September to formally announce the split. The three children will inherit $10 million each, while the rest will be given to charity, under The Giving Pledge.