Bill Gates Talks ‘Grieving’ the Loss of His Marriage, Pandemic Lessons

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Just about a year ago, Bill and Melinda French Gates announced they were ending their 27-year marriage, and the divorce became final in August

Since then, both halves of the former couple have spoken publicly about the marriage. In an unusually candid article published May 1, Bill Gates spoke to The Times of London about how he’s coping with being single, how he’s changed over the years, and lessons he learned from the coronavirus pandemic.

Life without Melinda

In a recent interview, Gayle King asked Melinda French Gates whether Bill had more than one affair, and she deflected, saying he had to answer that. Well, he won’t. He told the Times of London he won’t address whether there were multiple affairs, but called his marriage “great” and said “I wouldn’t have changed it.”

Asked if he’d marry again, he said he recommends marriage, but has no current plans to wed again. 

In that same Gayle King interview, Melinda French Gates said she wouldn’t say she and Bill were friends today. He acknowledged her interview, but said he would call them friends. The two still work together through The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

But he feels the loss of the marriage. “I’m also grieving the same way she is,” he said. 

Regrets meeting Epstein

Gates did say it was wrong for him to ever meet financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, something Melinda French Gates seemed particularly disturbed by in her Gayle King interview. He called it a “huge mistake” to not realize that by meeting with Epstein, it would be seen that he was accepting of his behavior.

Empty nesting in a mansion

Not only did Melinda French Gates move out of the Gates’ famous 66,000-square-foot lakeside mansion near Seattle, which has 18 bathrooms and a beach filled with sand from the Caribbean, but their youngest child went off to college, making the home known as Xanadu 2.0 seem even emptier.

“I have this nice house that lends itself to great discussions,” Gates says. “But it feels too big most of the time. I am only a small-sized person.”

Gates says he misses the “mess and noise” of the kids, and that in “normal days” he did the dishes, with help from them. “Now, it’s either restaurant or Door Dash or somebody who comes in and helps,” he says. (Imagine being the Door Dash food delivery driver who gets the call to deliver to the Gates mansion!)

Parsing the pandemic

Gates’ new book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic, comes out on Tuesday. He said he wasn’t surprised when a mystery illness out of Wuhan forced the world into lockdown, as he’d been fearing a pandemic for some time. From the beginning, he believed a vaccine was the best way out, and calls the vaccines “our greatest weapon.”

But he was shocked when he became the focus of vaccine conspiracy theories, including bizarre claims that he was somehow inserting tracking chips into the coronavirus vaccine.

“Yes, I work in the world of vaccines and I have a lot of money,” he said. “But, you know, to claim that I control people’s bodies is bizarre.”

He never got COVID

Gates, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, and of course has the privileges of the wealthy as far as staying away from crowds, says he never got COVID-19. Nor did his ex-wife, his three children, his two sisters or their husbands.

And he knows how much better a pandemic he had than most people.

“I had perfect internet, large houses, a private plane with zero risk of infection,” he notes. “I was able to see my kids.”

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