Melinda Gates had been seeking a divorce since 2019 after Bill's meetings with Jeffrey Epstein became public, Wall Street Journal reports

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Bill and Melinda Gates.
Bill and Melinda Gates. Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images
  • Melinda Gates reportedly considered divorce for two years before officially filing for one.

  • She's met with several lawyers, The Wall Street Journal reported.

  • The announcement of the Gateses' divorce rocked philanthropic and tech communities last week.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Melinda Gates had been meeting with divorce lawyers for years before announcing her split with Bill Gates, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The two have been married for 27 years and announced on May 3 that their union would come to an end.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," a joint statement posted to Twitter said. "Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives."

The decision rocked the philanthropic and tech communities, but The Journal's reporting indicates it was a long time coming.

Melinda Gates was said to have been in conversation with divorce lawyers since 2019 before finally filing for divorce.

She reportedly worked with lawyers across multiple firms to fix a marriage she went on to call "irretrievably broken."

Neither Bill nor Melinda Gates has said what led to the split. The Journal, however, mentioned previously reported concerns that Melinda Gates was said to have had about her husband's connection to Jeffrey Epstein.

Sources told The Daily Beast last week that Bill Gates' willingness to meet as early as 2011 with Epstein - who by then had already pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in 2008 - "still haunts" Melinda Gates.

According to the outlet, the couple met with Epstein in New York City at his Upper East Side mansion in September 2013. Sources told The Daily Beast that soon after the meeting, Melinda Gates told friends of her discomfort during the encounter. Several people close to the couple reportedly said she was "furious" over her husband's relationship with Epstein. Bill Gates told The Journal in 2019 that he was not friends with Epstein.

Documents reviewed by The Journal say that after The New York Times first reported in October 2019 that Bill Gates had met more than once with Epstein, Melinda Gates called her advisors multiple times.

The two said in their joint Twitter statement that they planned to continue to work together on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission," they said.

Insider's Erin Snodgrass contributed to this report.

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