Bill Gates’ wife has been talking to divorce lawyers for more than 18 months — and was concerned in part by his ties to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, according to a bombshell report Sunday.
Melinda Gates, 56, has been working with lawyers at several firms since at least October 2019 — the same month her husband was first exposed as having repeatedly met Epstein at his Manhattan mansion, the Wall Street Journal said, citing sources and divorce documents.
The Microsoft co-founder’s dealings with the convicted pedophile had been a source of concern for his wife, sources told the paper.
Melinda Gates — a global advocate for women and girls — had already warned her billionaire tech-mogul husband that she was uncomfortable with Epstein after they both met him in 2013, the outlet’s sources confirmed of earlier reports.
In 2013, the Microsoft multibillionaire also allegedly flew on Epstein’s so-called “Lolita Express” private jet from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to flight records.
Yet despite Melinda’s concerns, Gates and some staff from their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation maintained ties with the sick financier — who killed himself in his Manhattan lockup in August 2019, where he was awaiting further serious sex charges, the WSJ said.
After the initial expose of his meetings, Gates put his meetings with Epstein down to a “mistake in judgment.”
His wife was already meeting with lawyers, however, with the couple negotiating their divorce throughout the COVID-19 pandemic until their shock announcement last Monday, the report noted.
In that period, the couple had unexpectedly pulled out of the World Economic Forum gathering of leaders in Davos, Switzerland — and Gates also resigned from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway.
While the resignations were put down to Gates planning to focus on philanthropy, he and his wife were in fact already in discussions on how to divide his $130 billion fortune in the divorce, the outlet said.
Melinda was already working by then with her current legal team, legal docs show –including Robert Cohen, who has represented Michael Bloomberg and Ivana Trump in their divorces.
Her husband’s high-powered legal team includes Ronald Olson, a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson who has represented the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, the WSJ noted.
Olson is a board member at Berkshire Hathaway, the firm where Gates had until last year sat on the board alongside his close friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.
The Gateses were already around 1,250 miles apart when they finally signed their divorce filing, according to the WSJ.
Bill signed the papers from Palm Desert, California, while his wife did so from Bellevue, Washington, near the family home and the foundation’s headquarters, according to the filing.
A spokeswoman for Melinda Gates didn’t respond to questions about her reasons for seeking a divorce, the outlet said.
A spokeswoman for Gates said he stands by his 2019 statement that he met Epstein but “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him.”