Bill and Melinda Gates didn’t just break each other’s hearts.
The stunning announcement of the billionaire couple’s divorce has sent shockwaves through China, where distraught fans of the philanthropic duo took to social media to lament the split, CNN Business reported Wednesday.
“You and Melinda have made huge contributions to people around the world. Even if you don’t hold hands together in future life, I hope your foundation can still continue and help more people,” a user on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, wrote in response to Bill Gates’ Monday announcement.
“Even you are divorced,” another responded.
“How can the rest of us have hope of entering a marriage?”
Since the news broke, the “Bill Gates’ divorce” hashtag on Weibo has seen more than 830 million views and at least 66,000 discussion posts — eclipsing the 91 million views that came in when Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced in 2019, the outlet reported.
Weibo denizens have spent the last few days wondering how the couple will split up their massive fortune and whether the breakup will impact the couple’s influential philanthropic organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
While Bill Gates no longer runs Microsoft, his company has spent decades building relationships with Beijing where the tech giant’s Western products are still allowed while others like Facebook and Google have been shut out.
The number of followers Bill Gates has on Weibo — 4.1 million, nearly quadruple the followings of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple chief Tim Cook — is indicative of that success.
Kai-fu Lee, a prominent Chinese tech figure who previously worked as the head of Google China and helped establish Microsoft Research Lab Asia, said on Weibo it was difficult for him to believe the news.
“[Bill and Melinda are] the most affectionate couple I’ve seen among celebrity entrepreneurs,” the techie wrote in a Weibo post.
On Monday, the couple announced in a joint statement they’d be divorcing after 27 years of marriage. It was later revealed that Melinda Gates filed for the split, writing in court papers the marriage was “irretrievably broken.”