Melinda Gates Filed for Divorce Over Bill's Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
Court documents show Melinda had concerns over Husband's ties to child trafficker
Melinda Gates cited Bill's relationship with child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein as grounds for divorce, bombshell court documents have revealed.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Melinda first met with divorce lawyers to discuss ending her marriage to Bill Gates in October 2019.
According to the Journal, divorce filings show that Melinda was concerned about her husband's relationship with convicted pedophile Epstein.
When the couple announced last week that they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage, they gave no official reason for the split.
But in 2019, citing Bill's ties to Epstein, Melinda said that her marriage was "irretrievably broken" and had been working with lawyers since then to prepare to dissolve it.
Bill Gates had flown with Epstein on Epstein's "Lolita Express" private jet from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, as far back as 2013 - four years after Epstein had served time behind bars for child sex abuse charges.
Melinda had been concerned with her husband's relationship with the pedophile since 2013, the Journal reported.
Melinda reportedly told her husband she was uncomfortable with Epstein after the couple met him that year.
However, Bill continued a relationship with Epstein, despite her concerns.
Everyone’s gonna act like Bill Gates didn’t also hang out with Jeffrey Epstein? pic.twitter.com/S2hi1GgHw7— paige s. (@PaigeSully88) April 4, 2020
Bill previously played down his relationship with Epstein, telling The Journal in 2019 that he had met him but "didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him."
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokesperson for Bill Gates, said that year that Gates had met Epstein on multiple occasions to discuss philanthropy.
"Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so," Arnold said at the time.
Epstein was found dead in a lower Manhattan jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges.
Neither Bill nor Melinda Gates or their foundation has yet to comment on the report.
The Journal’s Sunday report notes that the Gates’ divorce, which the couple announced last week, had been in the works since at least 2019, according to documents reviewed by the outlet.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with an endowment of nearly $50 billion, donates about $5 billion annually to causes around the world. Last year, it donated $1 billion to combat COVID-19 through the administering of vaccines.
In a statement after the Gateses' announced their divorce on Twitter, the foundation said the two would remain co-chairs and trustees and that no changes in the organization were planned.
"They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation's issues and set the organization's overall direction," the foundation said.