Melinda Gates reportedly told her friends that she was quite upset after she and her husband Bill Gates had an uncomfortable meeting with the convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein in 2013. In fact, Melinda was so furious at Bill that she also warned against any further contact with Epstein after the two visited the pedophile's Upper East Side townhouse in September 2013, according to the Daily Beast.
Bill and Melinda announced their divorce on Monday, ending their 27-yaer wedding. Although the exact reason behind the divorce isn't yet known, speculation is rife that Bill's association with Epstein could be another possible reason behind the divorce.
Bill and Melinda met Epstein on the same day the philanthropic couple accepted the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award at the Pierre Hotel and were photographed with then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, according to the Daily Beast. It's not exactly known what happened at the meeting or why did they meet, but Melinda was frustrated about Bill's relationship with Epstein.
So much so that she even told her friends that she wanted nothing to do with Epstein, the outlet reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Melinda's friends told the outlet that she is still haunted by Epstein, who had been accused for years of molesting underage girls and killed himself in 2019 while locked up in Manhattan on sex-trafficking charges.
It's unclear whether Melinda had concerns about Epstein's prior conviction, or simply disliked him. One unnamed source who worked in tech with Bill and was also around Epstein told The Daily Beast that unlike Bill, who insists he never saw anything untoward going on in his home, he had his suspicions.
"I can't make the claim that so many are claiming. If you ask Bill Gates, he'll say, 'Oh I had absolutely no idea he wasn't up to anything of the highest moral character.' 'But I seriously doubted Epstein's moral character. The people around him had a varying spectrum of what they knew and what they didn't know and how they rationalized it," the source said.
"He just was an obnoxious guy. He almost made a point of having bad manners, not paying attention at dinner," the source said, adding, "I could see how anybody, even without suspicions, would not want to be around him."
Bill's Strong Ties with Epstein
The outlet reported that ties between Gates and Epstein were allegedly much deeper than the billionaire Microsoft co-founder had earlier admitted, and cited a New York Times report that said the two met several times beginning in 2011. By that time it was already three years that Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in Florida.
Bill had earlier said that he initially hoped the wealthy financier would help him raise money for his global health initiatives. In 2011, Bill even wrote in an email to his colleagues: "[Epstein's] lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me."
A spokesperson for Bill Gates told the Times that he "was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence - and Epstein's habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates. It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval," she said.
In March 2013, Bill flew on Epstein's private plane, the aircraft that has been dubbed the 'Lolita Express' because it was allegedly used to traffic young girls. Bill flew from Teterboro in New Jersey to Palm Beach in Florida.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokesperson for Gates, told the Times that Bill was not aware that the plane belonged to Epstein.
"I met him. I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him," Bill had said in September 2019 to NYT, according to the Daily Beast. "I didn't go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. There were people around him who were saying, 'Hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people,'" he had said.
It's still not clear what resulted in Bill and Melinda's divorce. The couple announced on Monday that they are splitting with an almost similar tweet. Sources told the outlet that Bill's friendship with Epstein, who cultivated wealthy and powerful friends, still haunts Melinda to this day.
It's also unclear how deep the relationship between the two men was, but speculation is rife that Bill's links with Epstein could be a possible reason that could also have created a crack in the couple's marriage. The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that financial and public-relations specialists had been working on specifics of the duo's split "for weeks" before the announcement.