The news has circulated all over the internet and social media that the world richest man on the planet announced his final separation on his Twitter account.
The news was perhaps surprising because his marriage to Melinda seemed much more enduring than his computers.
Almost all of us, including those of us who fail math in high school, know that “parallel lines don’t cross,” but those of us who have lived a little do know that “parallel lives” can cross.
Melinda French and Bill Gates are good examples despite the fact that today we learned that their lives were uncrossed.
Melinda was born in 1964 and grew up in Dallas. His father, Ray, was an aerospace engineer and his mother, Elaine, was a homemaker and mother of three full-time children. Elaine lived with some frustration that she had not been able to attend college. Therefore, every extra dollar that came into the family went to a fund destined to pay for the future university studies of their children.
The parents convinced Catholics, enrolled Melinda in a religious school. The girl did not excel in catechism classes but was famous for putting together complicated puzzles and for her ability to learn mathematics.
Also because he could navigate without drowning in a world that was beginning to be discovered: that of computers.
His curiosity and intelligence went hand in hand, and he began taking advanced math courses. Upon finishing high school, he enrolled in college to study computer science and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1986.
The following year he earned a master’s degree in business administration with a focus in economics from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. If the mother dreamed of a college degree, her daughter had accomplished more.
Nine years before Melinda came into the world, William Henry Gates was born, to all of Bill. His father was a well-known lawyer and his mother was a professor at the University of Washington.
Bill did not go to a private religious school but to a public one, where he did not stand out for better or for worse. It was one of the bunch. In high school, he did go to an elite school that had something that at that time was the future: computers. From the elite high school, Bill went on to the elite university: Harvard. However, he was only there for a year. In 1976 he dropped out of college. In time he would become not only the founder of Microsoft but also the most famous college “dropout” in his country.
Melinda’s life seemed as orderly as the numbers she mastered so well. However, she ended up in a toxic relationship. He never revealed the protagonist’s name, but he did say that their relationship had “a profound effect on how I saw myself and why I wasn’t using my voice.”
Meanwhile, Bill had an affair with Ann Winblad , a successful businesswoman. They met in 1984, but no friend introductions or blind dates.
As good ” techies “, they discovered each other in a videoconference and their first meetings were virtual, thus becoming one of the first couples of “cyber-boyfriends” in history.
They separated in 1987 because Wimblad, five years older than Bill, wanted to get married and have children but her boyfriend said he did not feel prepared for the responsibility. So each one went their own way.
That same year, Melinda entered Microsoft as an intern. Four months later, she was invited to participate in a computer fair in Manhattan. There he was surprised by the sense of humor and spontaneity of his boss: Bill Gates.
One afternoon she was in the parking lot when she ran into Bill, who asked her out, but only two weeks later. “It doesn’t seem spontaneous enough to me,” Linda said, “Ask me again when the date is less,” she added, and left.
Far from making Bill angry, Linda’s attitude made him fall in love. It wasn’t three hours after he called her on the phone and asked her out that night. “Does this seem spontaneous to you?” He asked. She answered yes.
Bill was fascinated by this cultured, intelligent woman with more college degrees than him. She with that bright, relaxed man who made her laugh out loud. They both loved mind games, but he gave up in love when she beat him to a math game. They fell in love despite the distrustful face of Melisa’s mother, who did not approve of her daughter having a relationship with her boss.
Despite the disapproval of her future mother-in-law, the romance continued. If everyone in love at some point brings flowers or chocolates to his girl, having Gates’s wallet helped other romantic gestures.
After sharing a romantic weekend in Florida, the tycoon asked the pilot of his private plane to make an unexpected stopover in the city of Omaha, in Nebraska, where despite being Sunday and at night, he managed to open one of the most exclusive jewelers in the city for his girlfriend to choose the engagement ring.
It was not the only “expense.” On their wedding day, seven years after the first kiss, Gates rented an entire island in Hawaii to celebrate the marriage and thus avoid press harassment. Two years later the couple welcomed their first daughter, Jennifer, then Rory and Phoebe arrived.
For her part, Melinda proved to be a confident woman. Every spring, she agreed that her husband would spend a weekend with his ex-girlfriend Winblad in a cabin he owns in North Carolina and where they took long walks talking about … biotechnology.
If her husband’s relationship with his ex did not raise questions, the state of the world did. At her bachelorette party, Melinda received a letter from her mother warning her that “those to whom much is given, much is expected.” A year before her wedding, a trip to Africa showed her what inequality was. A year after their wedding, Melinda read that millions of children died in poor countries as a result of diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. He decided he had to do something and he did it.
Together with Gates they created foundations to help the most vulnerable. They became the greatest philanthropists in the world. Since 1994, it is estimated that they have delivered about US $ 35,000 million, in the form of cash and shares. Although there is no shortage of distrustful ones who assure that, more than donations they are shortcuts to obtain important tax exemptions.
If changing the big world is complicated, the everyday too. One of the great fights of the marriage occurred in 2013. Bill wrote the annual letter of the foundation created between the two but did not want his wife to participate. “We both got angry,” Melinda wrote, adding, “I thought we were going to kill each other. I thought, ‘Well, maybe this will end our marriage at once.’ The husband got away with it but included a section written by Melinda. In 2014 it became a joint letter, but mostly written by Bill. Just in 2015, it became a letter with the contribution of both.
Coexistence is not always easy whether you are a millionaire or not, especially if you live with a work obsessive. Melinda described an everyday episode, although quite revealing: “One day I was in a rush packing things in the car and helping my children, when suddenly I realized that Bill was not helping me because he was so busy reading a book about Winston Churchill. You don’t know the fury I felt that day ”.
The woman boasted of helping her husband find a balance between work and family, but admitted that she still ” needs a little training ” and that she often felt lonely in her marriage. In favor of her husband, she stressed that with Bill Gates she never felt in an inferior position, because he always treated her as his equal.
To offset the stress her workaholic husband could put her on, Melinda chose to meditate once a day and keep a spiritual journal.
He also participated in a “spiritual group” of women who were in the same situation and with whom he had been dating at least once a month for the last 18 years.
As her husband was little in the house, they decided to share at least a moment and so they decided, after dinner, to wash the dishes together. “” One night I realized that an average of 10 or 15 more minutes passedthan the others to leave the kitchen once we finished eating, “said Melinda. “One day I got really angry and yelled at them ‘Nobody leaves the kitchen until I leave!'” Washing dishes became a Gates tradition and ritual. In addition, cell phones were turned off after 10 pm To preserve some privacy for their children, they were registered at school with their mother’s last name.
“I taught them to have a fast radar to know who loves them for themselves and who is interested in seeing their house, meeting their father …”.
Despite the efforts, the fortune, the shared, the donated and the children, after 27 years the marriage came to an end. In her book No Turning Back: The Power of Women to Change the World , Melinda was sincere: “We have reached a point in our lives where Bill and I can laugh at the same things. And believe me, there were very hard days in our marriage when you asked yourself: ‘Can we handle this?’ Unfortunately, the answer is no”.
In the statement that he uploaded to his official Twitter account, the computer genius assured that both will continue working together in the foundation they have; however, as a couple they will no longer maintain the emotional bond .
“After thinking a lot and working hard on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the past 27 years, we have raised three amazing children and built a foundation that works around the world to enable all people to lead healthy and productive lives. ”
With a brief in networks Melinda and Bill finished they decided to uncross their path. Go to know where they will party, meanwhile as the tango says “how great has been our love and yet, oh, look what was left”.