Bill Gates is making headlines for all the wrong reasons following the disintegration of his marriage of nearly three decades.
Gates, the world’s fourth-richest person, and wife Melinda French Gates filed for divorce earlier this month after 27 years of marriage.
Since then, a steady stream of scandalous revelations about the tech billionaire’s private life have hit the media.
‘Long before divorce, Bill Gates had reputation for questionable behavior’, was the title of an article published in The New York Times on Sunday.
The article detailed French Gates’ history of voicing concerns about her husband’s behaviour, including his relationship with notorious convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and an affair with an employee.
Gates first got to know Epstein in 2011, and while French Gates “expressed discomfort with her husband spending time with the sex offender … Mr Gates continued doing so, according to people who were at or briefed on gatherings with the two men,” the NYT report said.
“So, in October 2019, when the relationship between Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein burst into public view, Ms. French Gates was unhappy. She hired divorce lawyers, setting in motion a process that culminated this month with the announcement that their marriage was ending.”
Microsoft probed Gates’ employee affair
Microsoft conducted a probe into its co-founder’s involvement with an employee almost 20 years ago after it was told in 2019 that he had tried to start a romantic relationship with the person, the company has revealed.
Microsoft said it had received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Gates “had sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement.
“A committee of the board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern,” the statement said.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Microsoft’s board had decided that Gates’ involvement with the female employee was inappropriate and he needed to step down in 2020, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on whether the board had decided Gates should go.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for Mr Gates said his decision to leave the board of Microsoft had nothing to do with his involvement with an employee.
“There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably. Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter,” the statement said.
“In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”
A spokesman for the Gates Foundation told Reuters it stood by the statement to the paper.
The billionaire, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and served as its CEO until 2000, said in March 2020 that he was stepping down from the board to focus more on philanthropy.