Days after Bill and Melinda Gates announced their impending divorce, sources have begun to provide some sordid allegations about the cause of a separation dating back to at least 2019.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, a relationship between the billionaire tech magnate and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein created a major rift in the marriage.
“It was an error in judgment”
Sources close to the ex-couple told the outlet that Melinda Gates had been wary of Epstein since an uncomfortable meeting in 2013, but Bill Gates continued to meet with him through 2019 despite her misgivings.
Epstein pleaded guilty to a felony charge related to solicitation of prostitution involving a minor in 2008 and served 13 months in county jail.
Bill Gates even stayed late into the night at Epstein’s mansion on one occasion in 2019, the report alleged, although a reason for the visit was not included. Employees at Gates’ foundation also reportedly visited the same mansion on multiple occasions.
At this point, the claims appear to suggest the Microsoft co-founder’s connection to Epstein was important for some reason — and might have cost him his marriage. Officially, he said through a spokeperson in 2019 that any meetings with Epstein were forcued on philanthopic issues.
A statement at that time asserted that Gates “regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so.”
“Very different and kind of intriguing”
The New York Times reported that he sent an email to colleagues in 2011 stating that Epstein’s “lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me.”
Of course, Epstein died while in prison while awaiting trial on new charges related to sex trafficking women and girls. Gates’ email certainly raises speculation regarding what he found so “intriguing” about the financier’s lifestyle.
Evidence indicates Epstein had been pitching a global health charitable fund to potential investors, which appears to back up Gates’ official statement on the matter.
It is possible, however, that Melinda Gates simply did not want the family’s fund to be associated with a convicted sex offender and thus objected to the relationship.
In any case, the latest wrinkle in their ensuing divorce saga is likely to guarantee reporters will continue poking around at the story for some time to come.