Melinda Gates first met with divorce lawyers to discuss ending her marriage to Bill Gates in October 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.Why it matters: The Journal reports that Melinda Gates was concerned about her husband's relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.When the couple announced earlier this week that they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage, they gave no official reason for the split. The big picture: Melinda Gates consulted with lawyers at several firms about her divorce "since at least 2019," according to the Journal.According to the Journal, Melinda Gates had concerns about Epstein as far back as 2013.Bill Gates met with Epstein several times starting around 2011, well after the latter was convicted of sex crimes, per the New York Times. Of note: The couple met Epstein in 2013 to discuss philanthropy, and Melinda Gates later voiced her discomfort with these meetings. Her husband and several employees continued with the meetings, per the Journal.In an interview with the Journal in 2019, Bill Gates said of Epstein, "I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him," and described his meetings with him as philanthropic networking. Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.