In 1987, a young Duke University graduate named Melinda French joined Microsoft as a product manager. A few weeks later at a company picnic she was approached by its CEO. Bill Gates asked her for a dinner date. But she refused.
“That’s not spontaneous enough for me,” she reportedly told him. Fast forward three decades later, and Bill and Melinda Gates’ marriage has lasted 24 years. And together, they are the world’s most powerful (and richest) couple.
We take a look inside their idyllic marriage and what makes it click even after so many years.
5 curious things you didn’t know about Bill and Melinda Gates’ marriage
Image source: Facebook / Bill Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates’ marriage is the stuff fairy tales are made of. A young girl is approached by Prince Charming (he literally has everything). While she refuses at first, she eventually gives in to his love and devotion towards her. Let’s dive a little deeper into their love story
1. They had a “spontaneous” beginning
Bill and Melinda Gates met each other at work. She was his employee and he was her employer.
At a company picnic, he asked Melinda out. But she was reportedly put off by the idea that he wanted to plan a dinner date two weeks later. “I had no idea what I was going to be doing then. I said, ‘that’s not spontaneous enough for me,’” she told Fortune.
So instead, she gave him her number and asked him to call her closer to the date he wanted to take her out. But he called her the same night. From then on, there was no looking back for them.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. At the time, Melinda’s mother did not think it was a good idea for her daughter to date the CEO of the company she worked for. They dated each other for seven years before they wed.
2. They had a lavish wedding
Image source: Facebook / Melinda French Gates
They got engaged and travelled to Africa in 1993. It was during this trip that they saw extreme poverty. At her TED talk, Melinda revealed that it was during a walk down a beach in Zanzibar, the couple “started to talk about” how they might use their fortune to help those in need.
They got married in 1994 at the Manele Bay Hotel in Hawaii and the party reportedly cost $1 million. However, they wanted to keep the prying eyes of the media away.
So Bill resorted to reportedly booking all the hotel rooms along with the helicopters on the island of Maui to “prevent unwanted visitors from flying over.”
3. They are coequals
In an interview with Fortune, billionaire Warren Buffett discussed Bill and Melinda Gates’ marriage and their relationship. He shared that Bill is “smart as hell, obviously… but in terms of seeing the whole picture, [Melinda’s] smarter.”
Melinda also concurs, it seems. She credits the maturity of their relation to their willingness to work hard to make it work.
“We’ve had to change to really be coequals. It’s not something that immediately happens overnight, but we’re both committed to it,” Melinda shared.
She also shared that she was instantly attracted to his curious nature. “I was definitely attracted to his brilliant mind, but beyond that, his curiosity,” she shared with Fortune. “And he has a huge sense of fun. I love that wry side of him,” she added.
4. They are a power couple in its true sense
Image source: Facebook / Bill Gates
But their love for each other is not the only thing that makes them click. They are partners in every sense of the word — both personally as well as professionally.
Not only are they parents to three children, together they are worth $89.6 billion. They also run a philanthropic enterprise, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, that boasts a $40.3 billion endowment.
“Melinda and I believe that everyone deserves the chance for a healthy and productive life — and so with the help of our amazing partners, we are working to find innovative ways to help people in need all over the world,” Gates wrote on one of his Reddit AMAs.
Not surprisingly, the couple received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 from US President Barack Obama for their efforts.
5. They are leaving very little inheritance for their kids
While most billionaires would prefer to pass on all of their inheritance to their children, the Gates think otherwise. Out of their $89.6 billion fortune, each of the three kids (Jennifer Katharine Gates, 21, Rory John Gates, 18, Phoebe Adele Gates, 15) will inherit only $10 million.
The rest will go to charity.
Gates shared the details of his inheritance during his TED talk. “We want to strike a balance where they have the freedom to do anything but not a lot of money showered on them so they could go out and do nothing,” he said.
The two have also always wanted their kids to be humble and religious. So not only were they were not allowed to own cellphones till they turned 14, they were encouraged to go to the church.
Bill told Rolling Stones, “We’ve raised our kids in a religious way; they’ve gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in.”
It is safe to say that Bill and Melinda Gates’ marriage is not just ideal, it is also iconic. They are true partners and who care not only about each other but also about the world.
Source: Business Insider
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(Feature image courtesy: Wikimedia)