Is it even a divorce after 27 years of marriage? Now what's going to happen to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? As Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce to the world on Monday, the first set of murmurs were not like the usual concerns thrown around when other power couple splits.
Their separation has the potential to irrevocably impact the portfolios the couple is hugely invested in -- health, climate change, technology, social issues and real estate. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the pair collectively is worth $146 billion. "We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives," read the post on Bill Gates' twitter account.
Could anyone have guessed it?
The couple's love life and marriage came under widespread mainstream admiration and awe at the time Netflix's three episode-series Inside Bill's Brain, was aired.
In one of the episodes when Bill wins a hand against the series director Davis Guggenheim, he declares he has not just been lucky in life and war but also lucky in love. The documentary gives a peep into the psychology of Bill Gates and his relationship with Melinda.
Shortly after Melinda joined Microsoft as a product manager in 1987 and after a year of dating, their relationship could only go ahead in two directions -- either a break-up or the stamp of marriage. "You know, we cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married," says Bill in the documentary.
Wife, chosen through a whiteboard
One day, Melinda walked into Bill's bedroom and saw him making a list on a whiteboard. While one side of the list contained the pros of getting married, the other side had the cons. Gates admits to it being not the most romantic or spontaneous thing. "But I took the idea of marriage very seriously," he defends himself in the documentary.
After a year of casual dating, the relationship turned serious much to the surprise of both. At the time of their marriage, which took place in Hawaii in 1994, Bill Gates (being almost a decade older than Melinda) was 38 while she was 29.
How the world reacted?
While there was no dearth of memes and even meaningful messages around money being no guarantee to a happy married life, some voiced serious concerns around the effect on their philanthropy work.
"Imagine being so rich that your divorce can literally impact the state of funding for thousands of initiatives worldwide," wrote a user, while another recalled Bill Gates whiteboard list. "He had made a list of pros and cons of marriage before taking the decision. Did he use the same whiteboard while settling for divorce too?"