One of Bill and Melinda Gates’ daughters has described ‘a challenging stretch of time’ for the family in an emotional post about her parents’ divorce.
Jennifer Gates, 25, commented on the split in an Instagram story on Monday, writing: ‘I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so.
‘I won’t personally comment further on anything around the separation, but please know that your kind words and support mean the world to me,’ she wrote.
Jennifer is the oldest of Bill and Melinda’s three children, followed by 21-year-old son Rory and 18-year-old daughter Phoebe.
A Stanford graduate, she took a year off to focus on her equestrian career, before enrolling at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York.
As a showjumper, Jennifer competed against the offspring of other famous parents including Steve Jobs’ daughter Eve and Michael Bloomberg’s daughter Georgina, as well as Bruce Springsteen’s daughter Jessica, and Steven Spielberg’s daughter Destry.
Jennifer is engaged to Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nassar.
Her comments came as the Gates’ – one of the world’s richest couples with a fortune of $130billion – announced they were ending their 27-year marriage.
In a joint statement posted to their Twitter accounts on Monday, the pair said their work with their foundation will continue but their marriage will not.
‘After a great deal of thought and a lot of work, we have made the decision to end our marriage.
‘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.
‘We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue to 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 announcement came less than two weeks after the couple appeared together, virtually, at an event for healthcare workers.
Bill, 65, and Melinda, 56, met in 1987 while she was working at Microsoft, the company that he founded. That same year, Bill became the world’s youngest billionaire at the age of 31.
The couple married in Hawaii 1994 and would go on to establish the world’s largest charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000.
Since then, it has contributed more than $50billion to causes including eradicating polio and malaria. The foundation has also been a major investor in coronavirus treatments.
While the couple have no prenup, it appears a lot of the work of dividing up their estate – which includes properties in five states, a private jet, an astonishing art collection and a fleet of luxury cars – has already been done, as their divorce papers repeatedly refer to a ‘separation contract’ which both have signed. The contract itself has not been made public.
The reason behind their split after more than a quarter-century remains a mystery but Melinda has previously suggested her husband had trouble balancing work and family.