Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates admitted that his association with dead sex offender Jeffery Epstein, which gave the latter credibility, was a 'huge mistake'. Gates also called his recent divorce 'a source of great personal sadness'.
Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates ended their 27-year marriage with a divorce which was finalized by a judge in King County, Washington, on Monday. According to court records neither party will receive "spousal support" or change their names.
Gates Had 'Several Dinners' With Epstein
Opening up about his relationship with Epstein, the billionaire philanthropist admitted to having several dinners with him.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on his CNN show, Epstein said that he met the sex offender in the hope of raising money for global health issues.
"I had several dinners with him, you know, hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts that he had might emerge," Gates said. "When it looked like that wasn't a real thing, that relationship ended."
"It was a huge mistake to spend time with him and give him the credibility of being there. There were lots of others in that same situation, but I made a mistake," he went on to add.
Earlier, The Daily Beast had reported that during their meetings Gates often called his marriage toxic. The meetings often took place at Epstein's New York townhouse. The outlet reported that while Epstein would advice Gates to end his marriage, the philanthropist would ask Epstein to rebuild his image after he pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008.
Speaking to the outlet, insiders who were in knowledge of the meetings and issues discussed said that Gates found freedom in Epstein's den where he also met other people. "[It's] not an overstatement. Going to Jeffrey's was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda," one of the people who was at several of the meetings said, adding that Epstein and Gates "were very close."
Gates Says the Family Will Heal From the Divorce
The power couple had created a furore after they announced their split in a public statement issued on May 3. "We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this next life," read the statement.
It was also reported that Melinda reportedly started consulting divorce lawyers after Gates's multiple meetings with Epstein were made public in October 2019.
Speaking about his former wife, Gates said she was "a great person, and that partnership that we had coming to an end is a source of great personal sadness".
On being asked if he had 'regrets' about recent allegations that he engaged in workplace misbehavior, Microsoft cofounder said that it is a time of reflection. "Certainly everyone does [have regrets] 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's happening," he told CNN.