Bill Gates spent one weekend a year with his ex: was this relationship decisive in his divorce?
Sylvie Claire / May 5, 2021
Bill and Melinda Gates announced this Tuesday via Twitter their divorce after 27 years of marriage. The couple who is one of the most powerful and richest in the world will have to divide their assets, as they had not established a marriage contract.
The Daily Mail reveals this Wednesday morning that Bill and Melinda Gates made another rather incongruous agreement decades ago that the Microsoft boss could spend a long weekend at the beach every year with his ex-girlfriend, Ann Winblad, a venture capitalist.
This strange arrangement raises several questions now that the couple who is the head of 130 billion dollars announces its separation.
Bill, 65, and his best friend, Ann Winblad, 70, dated in the 1980s but broke up in 1987, the same year he met his future wife Melinda. Ann wanted to get married but Bill was not ready for marriage and was working day and night at the time to build his then billion dollar Microsoft empire.
However, after his separation, the couple maintained a beautiful friendship and in an article published in 1997 in TIME Magazine, Bill even mentioned Ann: When I was thinking of marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked her approval.
Ann approved and the former lovers - with Melinda's blessing - maintained their annual vacation: Bill spending a long weekend each year with Ann at her beach house in North Carolina.
Every year in the spring, Bill and Ann take their buggy ride, hang gliding and beach walks.We can play a game while discussing biotechnology, Bill said in the 1997 interview.
Ann explained that their meetings were about taking stock: We share our thoughts on the world and ourselves. And we marvel at how, as two young super achievers, we started a great adventure on the bangs of an unknown industry and it brought us to the center of an amazing universe.
Bill and Ann first met in 1984 at a Ben Rosen-Esther Dyson computer conference.
Ann and Bill began virtual dating by going to the same movie at the same time and talking about it afterwards on the phone. She even convinced him to stop eating meat for a short time.
They broke up three years later, but in the TIME Magazine article, Ann gave her opinion on the choice of Melinda: I thought right away that she would be an ideal partner for him because she had intellectual stamina.
Ann is not a sweetheart. She is married to San Francisco private investigator Edward Alex Kline, 63, who is the younger brother of actor Kevin Kline.