Microsoft founder Bill Gates had an ‘inappropriate’ sexual relationship with a female staff member in 2000, and resigned while an investigation into the relationship was being investigated by the company board.
The affair came to light after the Microsoft employee wrote to the board in 2019 detailing the affair – and allegedly asked that Gates’ estranged wife Melinda Gates, 56, read the letter.
Gates, 65, quit the board suddenly in March 2020 while the investigation was still underway.
Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000, the year the tech mogul and billionaire began an affair with a female Microsoft engineer. The affair came to light in 2019 when the employee wrote to the Microsoft board
The couple are pictured with their three kids Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) in 2019. The kids were said to be ‘very angry’ with their father, according to the sources
The Microsoft board decided that Gates should step down after the relationship was deemed to be ‘inappropriate’, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Gates left the board of Berkshire Hathaway on the same day.
The same day Gates quit Microsoft he also announced he was stepping down from his position with the board of Berkshire Hathaway, run by his friend Warren Buffet.
In a press release the tech mogul said he would continue to serve as a technical adviser to Chief Executive Satya Nadella.
A Microsoft spokesman told the Wall Street Journal: ‘Microsoft received a concern in the latter half of 2019 that Bill Gates sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000.
‘A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern.’
A spokeswoman for Gates said his decision to leave the board had nothing to do with the affair.
‘There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.’
The spokeswoman told the Journal his ‘decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.’
The revelations of Gates’ extra-marital affair, the first time he has admitted cheating on his estranged wife, came within hours of two separate bombshell reports on the unraveling of their marriage.
The New York Times revealed on Sunday how Gates asked two women who worked at Microsoft and his philanthropic foundation out on dates while still married to Melinda.
Melinda, who now goes by Melinda French Gates, was also upset at the way allegations of sexual harassments against Michael Larson, one of Gates’ key lieutenants and the manager of his personal fortune, were handled.
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast revealed Gates sought marriage advice from convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein during dozens of meetings at his $77 million Manhattan townhouse between 2011 and 2014, far more than had previously been reported.
Gates told Epstein his marriage to Melinda was ‘toxic’, which both men found funny, according to the report.
Gates suggested Epstein become involved with the couple’s philanthropic organization and ‘rehabilitate his image’ after his 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution, according to a person who attended the meetings.
Gates’ visits to Epstein’s ‘lair’ was an escape from the marriage, according to the source, who said the pair ‘were very close’.
Bill and Melinda Gates, one of the world’s richest couples with a fortune of $130billion, announced this month they were getting divorced, with Melinda saying the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ in divorce filings.
Bill Gates, pictured in 1985, had an affair with a Microsoft engineer in 2000 which came to light when the woman wrote to the company board in 2019
Bill and Melinda Gates, seen at their marriage in 1987. The Microsoft board decided the relationship between Gates and the female staff member was inappropriate, and he quit while it was being probed
The Times reported that Gates asked out a Microsoft employee in 2006 after watching her make a presentation.
‘If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened,’ Gates emailed the employee, according to the Times.
The woman took his advice and Gates’ advance didn’t materialize into anything physical.
A couple of years later, Gates asked out an employee with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The pair were in New York for a work trip, when he told her: ‘I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?’
Melinda was also unhappy about the way sexual harassment allegations against Gates’ key moneyman Michael Larson, above, were handled
The woman told the Times the approach made her feel uncomfortable, but she laughed it off.
The report said there was no expectation that the women would suffer professional repercussions for spurning Gates’ advances.
It’s not clear whether Melinda Gates, who met Bill at Microsoft in the late 1980s, was aware of her husband’s advances.
Melinda also stepped in after Michael Larsen, the man who has overseen the enormous expansion of Gates’ personal fortune through an investment vehicle Cascade Investment, was accused of sexual harassment.
In 2017, a person wrote to Bill and Melinda to complain that Larson was harassing a female staff member at a bicycle shop part-owned by a venture capital firm Rally Capital, owned by the former married couple.
The woman reached a settlement in 2018, signing a non-disclosure agreement and receiving a payout.
However, Melinda was not happy with the outcome and ordered an independent investigation.
According to the New York Times, Larson was placed on leave during the investigation but was reinstated and still leads Cascade Investments.
The tipping point though appears to have been revelations about Gates’ close ties to Jeffrey Epstein, which caught Melinda by surprise when they were first reported in October 2019.
Their friendship began in 2011, three years after Epstein had pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor.
The Daily Beast reported on Sunday that the pair had met ‘dozens of times’ at Epstein’s palatial $77m townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side between 2011 and 2014 – far more than had previously been known.
The pair would chat about science and philanthropy, as well as joking and gossiping in a ‘men’s club’ atmosphere, the Daily Beast claimed.
Melinda Gates warned her husband Bill against any further contact with Jeffrey Epstein after the couple had an uncomfortable meeting with the convicted sex offender in 2013.
Melinda was ‘furious’ at Bill’s relationship with Epstein after the couple visited the predator’s Upper East Side townhouse in September 2013.
The meeting proved a turning point in Bill’s relationship with Epstein, after Melinda expressed how uncomfortable she was with the sex offender and said she wanted nothing to do with him, the sources said.
Gates and Epstein became friendly in 2011 when Epstein pitched a fund to the Gates Foundation and JP Morgan.
When they met, Epstein had already spent a year in prison for soliciting child prostitution, but he was welcomed back into the upper echelons of New York society.
After their first meeting, Gates sent an email to colleagues saying of Epstein: ‘His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.’
A spokesperson for Gates said the ‘characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate’.
‘Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false.’
The same month the New York Times published details of Gates’ friendship with Epstein in 2019, Melinda began consulting with divorce lawyers, which culminated in the announcement this month that their 27 year marriage was over.
The same day Gates quite Microsoft he also announced he was stepping down from his position with the board of Berkshire Hathaway, run by his friend Warren Buffet
Melinda Gates warned her husband Bill against any further contact with Jeffrey Epstein after the couple had an uncomfortable meeting with the convicted sex offender, according to a new report . Bill Gates is pictured at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2011, from left: James E. Staley, at the time a senior JPMorgan executive; former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers; Epstein; Gates and Boris Nikolic, who was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s science adviser
Melinda Gates warned her husband Bill (with her left) against any further contact with Jeffrey Epstein (right) after the couple had an uncomfortable meeting with the convicted sex offender
Bill was already a billionaire he married Melinda in the early 1990s. He founded Microsoft in 1975 and became the world’s youngest billionaire in 1987 at the age of 31. He also met Melinda that year when she was working at the company where he served as CEO.
Gates’ spokeswoman Bridgitt Arnold denied Gates had mistreated employees.
‘It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates’s divorce,’ Arnold said.
‘Your characterization of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated,’ she told The Times.
There have been a steady stream of revelations about the inner workings of the Gateses’ 27 year marriage since their surprise announcement they were getting a divorce on May 3.
In an interview with the DailyMail.com, Gates biographer James Wallace revealed how Gates held naked parties with strippers in his bachelor days.
Wallace wrote two books on the Microsoft founder in the 1990s, and uncovered eyebrow-raising details of Gates’s frat-like life as a single man.
‘A lot of those Microsoft kids back then, they were young guys in pizza-stained t-shirts for two or three days working on software code,’ the former Seattle Post-Intelligencer investigative reporter said.
‘Then they would have some pretty wild parties, where they would go out and get strippers in Seattle and bring them over to Bill’s home.
‘He wasn’t a choir boy back then, he wasn’t just this little computer nerd. He did have a life back then.’
A spokeswoman for Gates said ‘There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.’ She said his ‘decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter.
In a press release the tech mogul said he would continue to serve as a technical adviser to Chief Executive Satya Nadella, above
In 1997, Wallace’s second book on the billionaire, Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace, described the alleged naked parties at Gates’ Laurelhurst, Washington home in even more lurid detail.
The former Post-Intelligencer reporter wrote that national media wanted to keep their flow of technology and business stories from Gates and therefore ‘didn’t report on the wild bachelor parties that Microsoft’s boyish chairman would throw in his Seattle home, for which Gates would visit one of Seattle’s all-nude nightclubs and hire dancers to come to his home and swim naked with his friends in his indoor pool.’
Wallace wrote that Gates’s ‘womanizing’ also put strain on his nascent relationship with his now-estranged wife Melinda.
‘Though Gates began dating French [Melinda’s maiden name] in 1988, he continued to play the field for a while, especially when he was out of town on business, when he would frequently hit on female journalists who covered Microsoft and the company industry,’ the author wrote.
In the Gates’ divorce petition, which was filed in Superior Court of Washington – King County on Monday, Melinda asked the judge to dissolved the marriage ‘on the date stated in our separation contract’. The separation contract was not included in the filing so that date is unclear.
In the absence of the pre-nuptial agreement, the only agreement pertaining to the divorce is the separation contract.
Melinda did not ask for any spousal support but requested a trial date in April 2022. However it is likely the divorce will be settled without a trial.
The petition states that finances pertaining to the couple’s two children are addressed in the separation contract. The document was signed by both Bill and Melinda, as well as their attorneys.
Both Bill and Melinda hired powerhouse law firms to assist in the divorce. Melinda is represented by a team of four New York based attorneys from two separate firms: Cohen Clair Lane Griefer Thorpe & Rottenstreich LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
Bill is represented by three Los Angeles-based attorneys from Munger Tolles & Olson. One of the founding attorneys, Charles T Munger, is a longtime partner of Bill’s billionaire friend Warren Buffett.
Bill founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen. He served as CEO until 2000 then moved into a director role while gradually scaling back his involvement to dedicate more time to philanthropy.
He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014. Last year he stepped down from the board of Microsoft entirely, as well as the board of Berkshire Hathaway.
Melinda – the daughter of an aerospace engineer and a housewife – was born Melinda Ann French in Dallas, Texas, in 1964 and attended the elite Duke University in North Carolina before joining Microsoft in 1987.
Bill also grew up privileged in Seattle, where he was born in 1955. His father was a prominent lawyer and his mother was on the board of the financial holding companies. He dropped out of Harvard to pursue Microsoft in the 1970s.