Melinda Gates' body language at events with Bill gave away her unhappiness years before their divorce announcement, NYT report suggests

·3 min read
bill and melinda gates
Bill and Melinda Gates at a TED conference in 2014. YouTube/TED
  • Melinda Gates' body language hinted at trouble in her marriage, a source told The New York Times.

  • Footage from five interviews between 2010 and 2019 helped back this up.

  • Another report said Gates began planning a divorce in 2019.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce was a surprise to the public when it was announced last week - but reports have suggested that signs of their fracturing relationship were visible for some time.

In a New York Times report from Saturday, a source pointed to Melinda's body language when she appeared in public alongside Bill.

The Times' report said:

"A person who knows her well but spoke on condition of anonymity about such a private family matter said anyone watching her body language at events for the Giving Pledge - through which billionaires promise to give away at least half of their fortunes - and other public engagements could see that she was unhappy."

The Giving Pledge is the Gateses' effort to get the world's billionaires to commit to giving away at least half of their wealth.

Insider reviewed five appearances, from November 2010 to February 2019, in which they promoted the Giving Pledge. The talks appeared relatively benign, but there was some awkwardness.

In one interview, recorded at a TED conference in April 2014, Melinda Gates looked blank at times, staring away from her husband as he answered questions.

She talked up their working relationship at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, though she acknowledged that a lot of their work was separate.

bill and melinda gates 2
Melinda Gates seemed more at ease in another interview in 2015. YouTube/Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis

"I've had a lot of women say to me, 'I really don't think I could work with my husband. That just wouldn't work out.' We enjoy it," Gates said.

"We don't travel together as much for the foundation, actually, as we used to when Bill was working at Microsoft. We have more trips where we're traveling separately. But I always know when I come home Bill's going to be interested in what I've learned," she added.

"I think we have a really collaborative relationship, but we don't spend every minute together, that's for sure."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday morning.

The Times' report went on to describe how Gates had established herself as a force in her own right within the foundation and in the broader world of philanthropy.

Further behind-the-scenes details of the Gateses' divorce were revealed in a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday.

The Journal reported that Melinda Gates had started discussions with divorce lawyers in October 2019, the same month that The New York Times revealed her husband's meetings with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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