Melinda French Gates reflects on healing from ‘painful’ divorce with Bill Gates, his ties with Jeffrey Epstein

By | March 4, 2022

In her first interview since splitting from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates said she is starting to get to the other side of her “journey of healing.”

“I’m turning a page in the chapter now … I’m actually really excited about what’s to come in life ahead for me,” she said in a prerecorded interview with “CBS Mornings” anchor Gayle King, which aired Thursday.

Gates and French Gates finalized their highly publicized divorce last August in King County after 27 years of marriage. In a statement after the announcement of their divorce, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of nearly $50 billion, said the two would remain co-chair and trustees.

French Gates described her current relationship with Gates as “friendly” but not quite friends. She said they both intend to continue a “working relationship” at the foundation. French Gates is also continuing her focus on Pivotal Ventures, which funds projects that empower women.

In 2020, board members at Microsoft determined it inappropriate for Gates to continue sitting on its board as they investigated the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female Microsoft employee that was deemed inappropriate, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The board began looking into the relationship after The New York Times reported on Gates’s long-running relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

When King asked about his alleged infidelity, French Gates said it was not one incident or moment that led to their separation.

“Well, I certainly believe in forgiveness, so I thought we had worked through some of that,” she said. “It wasn’t one moment or one specific thing that happened. There just came a point in time where there was enough there that I realized it just wasn’t healthy, and I couldn’t trust what we had.”

Asked about her ex-husband’s ties with Epstein, French Gates said she met Epstein once to see “who he was.”

“I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door,” she said, describing Epstein as “abhorrent” and “evil personified.” She added that she made her feelings clear to Gates.

When King pressed for details on if Gates continued to meet with Epstein, French Gates said, “Any of the questions remaining about [Bill’s relationship] are for Bill to answer.”

French Gates said she “gave every single piece of myself to this marriage” and that she does not question or blame herself for the divorce.

The path has been hard fought, French Gates said, with days when she felt angry, upset and hopeless.

When asked whether she would be open to dating or “falling in love again,” French Gates said “definitely,” with a smile.

Microsoft Philanthropies underwrites some Seattle Times journalism projects.

Material from The Associated Press, Bloomberg and CBS is included in this report.

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