Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing after 27 years

Gates, the fourth richest man in the world with a net worth of $130bn (£93bn), married Melinda in January 1994.

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Bill Gates and wife Melinda have decided to divorce after 27 years of marriage| Courtesy Photo.

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are to get divorced, the couple has announced.

In a joint message posted on their respective social media accounts, the couple said they made the decision after “a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship”.

Gates, the fourth richest man in the world with a net worth of $130bn (£93bn), married Melinda in January 1994.

“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,” they said.

“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.”

The couple, who married on a golf course on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, have three children together – Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.

Bill and Melinda Gates with their children| Courtesy Photo.

They live in an earth-sheltered mansion in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington.

Gates, at aged 31 in 1987, was already the youngest billionaire ever several years before he got married.

He became the world’s richest man in 1995 at the age of 39 with a fortune of £12.9bn (9.2bn) – with his company Microsoft introducing Internet Explorer to the world later that year too.

In 2000, the couple founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – a merging of the William H Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation – which is reported to be the largest private foundation in the world.

Holding $46.8bn (£33.6bn) in assets, the foundation aims to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty across the globe, as well as to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology in the US.

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