Bill and Melinda Gates announced the end of their marriage in a tweet Monday, May 3, 2021. Bill Gates calls his father, Bill Gates Sr., “the real Bill Gates.” He wrote on Instagram about how he learned generosity from his mother, Mary Maxwell Gates. Bill and Melinda Gates announced the end of their marriage in a tweet Monday, May 3, 2021.
Gates had two sisters, who went on to serve in similar roles as their parents. Both of his sisters, like their mother, Mary Gates, served on the Board of Regents for the University of Washington, according to the university’s website.
Gates has three children with his wife, Melinda Gates. Melinda Gates is an advocate for women in technology, according to Money. She met her husband four months into her job after she was seated next to him at a dinner. The couple founded the world’s largest non-profit organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000.
Their oldest child, Jennifer Gates, is 23, and preparing for her graduation from medical school at Stanford University. She is an accomplished equestrian and calls herself “a lifetime learner,” according to Mercury News. Their son, Rory Gates, is 20, and their youngest daughter, Phoebe Gates, is 17.
Here’s what you need to know:
1.Bill Gates’ Parents Were Notable in Seattle & His Mom Helped Launch Microsoft’s Success
Mary Gates was appointed to the United Way of America board, along with John Opel, the CEO of IBM. The New York Times reported Opel mentioned Gates to some of his executives, who decided to take a risk with Bill Gates and his fledgling company, Microsoft. Microsoft built the Microsoft Disc Operating System (MS-DOS) for IBM’s first personal computer, which became the small software company’s first success.
Bill Gates Sr., also called William Henry Gates Sr., was an attorney with Preston, Gates & Ellis.
Bill Gates wrote about his father on Instagram, calling him “the real Bill Gates.”
“My dad and I share the same name. After starting Microsoft, people used to ask him if he was the real Bill Gates. I always hope he says, “Yes.” I hope he tells them that he’s all the things the other one aspires to be. Happy #fathersday to the real Bill Gates,” he wrote on Instagram.
Gates’ parents are also philanthropists, like their son became. The Mary Gates Endowment has provided undergraduate scholarships for University of Washington students for 20 years, according to the university’s website. Bill Gates Sr. is co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “who guides the vision and strategic direction of the foundation and serves as an advocate for the foundation’s key issues,” according to the website.
Mary Gates died at age 64 from cancer. Bill Gates wrote about her on Instagram, sharing a picture from his wedding.
“My mom was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known. She used to ask me at the dinner table how much of my allowance I planned on giving to the Salvation Army at Christmas. Melinda had a similar upbringing, and even before we got married we talked about how we would give back. Tomorrow, I encourage you to join us in one of our favorite traditions,” he wrote before Giving Tuesday.
You can read more about Bill Gates’ parents here.
2. Gates Met His Wife, Melinda Gates, When They Both Worked At Microsoft & Later Founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda Gates, was born Melinda Ann French to Ray French and Elaine French in Dallas, Texas August 15, 1964. She has an older sister and two younger brothers, according to Biography. She had an early interest in computer programming which started when her father, an aerospace engineer, brought home an Apple II, one of the earliest consumer computers. She learned basic programming languages and gained further interest during an advanced math class in an all-girls Catholic school, according to the Independent.
Melinda French met her future husband four months into her job at Microsoft. She was seated next to him at an Expo trade fair dinner in New York. A few months later, he saw her in the car port and asked her on a date, the Independent reported.
Melinda Gates is an advocate for women in technology. She recently published her first book, a New York Times bestseller, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.
Together, Melinda and Bill Gates founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, which is the world’s largest private charitable foundation with a $40 billion trust endowment, according to Forbes.
A tweet signed by both Bill and Melinda Gates announced they decided to end their marriage after attempts to save their relationship. The tweet said:
After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. 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. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.
Gates often shared photos of his wife on Instagram. Sometimes he shares a photo of the two together, writing a sweet message. Other times, he shares photos of her in her business and philanthropy roles, showing obvious pride in her work.
“Happy birthday to my favorite person,” he wrote August 15, 2019. “@melindafrenchgates, you’ve had an amazing year. I can’t wait to see how you top it.”
You can read more about his wife here.
3. Bill Gates Has 3 Children & the Oldest Is an Accomplished Equestrian
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates have three children. The oldest, Jennifer Katharine Gates, is 23 years old and preparing for her graduation from Stanford University. Rory John Gates is 20 and and Phoebe Adele Gates is 17.
Jennifer Gates posted on Instagram September 18, 2019 she received her white coat as a medical student, and only has to pass a block exam.
“So incredibly honored to receive my white coat today surrounded by those who have encouraged and inspired me to pursue this education and career. Grateful is an understatement,” she wrote.
Gates often shares photos of her time competing in equestrian sports with her horse, Alex. She was featured on the cover of Equestrian Living in May, 2019. The magazine visited Evergate Stables, her farm in Wellington, Florida.
She appears close to her younger sister, who turned 17 September 14, 2019.
“Happy birthday to you @moonstarsandshine! How lucky am I to have the most intelligent, charming, radiant, charismatic sister! Wishing you the best day from across the world!” she wrote.
She also wrote on Instagram about her mother for her birthday, calling her “the most bad***, intelligent, compassionate, thoughtful, supportive, hilarious and wise human.”
Melinda Gates posted on Instagram for her son’s 18th birthday in May 2017, describing Rory as “a feminist.”
“When my son Rory was born, I spent a lot of time imagining what this little person would be like and who he would be as he grew up. Now, as we near his 18th birthday, I have my answer. Rory is compassionate and curious. He’s a great son and a caring brother. He’s inherited his parents’ obsessive love of puzzles. And one of the things that makes me proudest: Rory is a feminist. As he goes out into the world, I feel more optimistic than ever about the future his generation will build,” she wrote.
4. Bill Gates’ Sister, Libby Gates MacPhee, Followed in Her Mother’s Footsteps & Was Appointed to the University of Washington Board of Regents
Libby Gates MacPhee is the managing partner of Seattle Family Support, LLC. and a member of the board of regents at University of Washington. MacPhee was appointed to the board by Governor Jay Inslee in January 2019. Her role extends through 2024. Her mother, Mary Maxwell Gates, was also a member of the University’s board of regents. MacPhee served in governance roles for education institutions for the past 20 years, according to the university website.
She is also known as Elizabeth Armintrout. She was the former president of The Lakeside School.
“Elizabeth Armintroutis is an honorary board member of the Program for Early Parenthood Support and serves on the community grants committee of The Seattle Foundation, as well as being a founding member of the Washington Women’s Foundation,” her profile on Bill Gates and Friends says.
She earned her master’s degree in social work from the university in 2018. Her bachelor’s degree was in economics. She completed her undergraduate degree at Ponoma College in 1986. She has three young children, her profile says.
“Regent MacPhee has been very active in civic activities. Her community service includes serving on the board of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and she currently sits on the board of Seattle Foundation,” the university’s website says.
“As a recent graduate from the school of social work, MacPhee is in the process of developing a collaborative counseling practice. The practice will provide strengths-based mental health services to adolescents, adults and families in the Seattle area. Working together to inspire change and growth, the provider team will meet regularly to facilitate a client’s return to emotional wellness. The practice will include both individual and group settings,” the profile continued.
5. Bill Gates’ Sister, Kristianne Gates Blake, is a Certified Public Accountant
Gates’ other sister, Kristianne Gates Blake, is a certified public accountant in Spokane, Washington with her own practice. Kristianne Blake earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1975, according to her LinkedIn profile. She typically goes by Kristi Blake.
Blake, like her sister and other family members, also served on the board of regents for the University of Washington. She is no longer a member of the board.
“Kristianne Blake is a CPA specializing in personal financial planning and tax planning since 1975. She served as a partner with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells prior to starting her own firm in 1987,” says her profile on Bill Gates and Friends. “Kristianne Blake is President of Kristianne Gates Blake, PS. She is a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Washington and she serves as a trustee of the Russell Funds and the WM Group of Funds and as a director of Avista Corporation, Advantage IQ and Laird Norton Tyee.”