In the wake of Bill and Melinda Gates’s divorce announcement earlier this month, several reports have emerged detailing the dissatisfaction in their soon-to-be-dissolved union. While many billionaire couples face problems surrounding fidelity and arguments over who is in their cohort, the tiffs between Mr. and Mrs. Microsoft boiled down to a very specific version of those anxieties: Bill Gates’s connections to Jeffrey Epstein. According to reporting earlier this month in People, the Daily Beast, and the Wall Street Journal, the pair argued on several occasions over the computing giant’s connections to the convicted sex offender, to the point that Melinda Gates reportedly began speaking to divorce lawyers in 2019, just after her husband’s ties to Epstein became public.
On Sunday night, another volley of reporting on Gates’s alleged behavior was published, including several details on the Microsoft co-founder’s improprieties at work. According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft board members ultimately decided that he must step down from the board in the midst of a company investigation into a romantic relationship with a subordinate in 2000. While Gates and Microsoft admitted to the relationship — which a spokeswoman for the philanthropist called “an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably” — his team denied that the “decision to transition off the board” was related to the investigation.
Pursuing sexual relationships at a powerful institution he co-founded was not just limited to Microsoft, or the affair in 2000. According to the New York Times, Gates tried to date women working for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, asking people out by email — “If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,” he wrote in 2006 — and in person. Witnesses also claim that he was dismissive of his wife in meetings at their shared group, and that Gates did not respond to her request for an outside party to investigate a sexual-harassment claim against their money manager, who is still on the job.
More information on the Epstein connection also came to light on Sunday evening. While it’s already understood that Melinda Gates was not thrilled by her husband spending time with the alleged sex trafficker, the Times notes that Gates ignored her advice on the subject and continued meeting with him. Epstein provided some advice of his own, according to the Daily Beast, which reported that the predator met with Gates dozens of times between 2011 and 2014 and told him how to end his “toxic” marriage to Melinda. Apparently going to Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion to get the advice was more impactful than the advice itself.