After Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce documents revealed the couple never had a prenup, many are wondering how the couple, with a combined net worth of $130 billion, will split their assets.
Gates, the world’s fourth-richest man, has spoken in the past about how each of his three children will only inherit about $10 million of his fortune.
When asked about rumours that he would only leave his three children — Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe — $10million each during a Reddit AMA session in 2013, Gates explained that it was for their benefit.
“I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favour to them,” he said.
He and Melinda share three children and founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to address several major global issues.
The couple has donated $45billion through the foundation since its inception, including $1.75 billion to fighting Covid-19.
Bill Gates, 65, was a geeky teenager when he started what would become the world’s most valuable company, and was for a time the world’s richest man and most prominent philanthropist.
He stepped down as Microsoft chief executive in 2008 to devote more time to philanthropy and later left the board, keeping only the title of “founder and technology advisor.”
Melinda Gates, 56, met Bill at Microsoft in 1987, shortly after she joined the tech firm, and the pair married in 1994.
In a 2019 Netflix documentary series, he described his wife as “truly an equal partner,” while she looked back on some of their first interactions to call him “funny and very high-energy.”
Their foundation is among the world’s richest, having provided more than $54 billion in grants over two decades in areas including malaria and infectious disease control, agricultural research, basic health care and sanitation in various parts of the world. It has an endowment of more than $46 billion.
The couple’s divorce could create new questions about their wealth, most of which has yet to be donated to their foundation, despite co-creating the Giving Pledge, which encourages billionaires to give the majority of their wealth to charity.
In recent years, Bill Gates has largely distanced himself from Microsoft and the tech industry, instead speaking about poverty and health initiatives, and the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the foundation pledged some $250 million to help fight the pandemic, with some of the funds channeled to the distribution of life-saving doses of Covid-19 vaccines to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Gates, who had been warning as early as 2015 about the potential dangers of a global pandemic, became the target of conspiracy theorists who claimed he knew in advance about Covid-19.