January 9, 1994: Bill and Melinda Gates greet guests during a wedding reception in Seattle.
The two had said yes the week before in Hawaii.
Now, almost three decades later, they are going their separate ways privately.
"After a lot of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we made the decision to end our marriage," said the two on Twitter.
Dave Weaver / AP
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and programmer Melinda Ann French met at his company.
They are known not only as business people but also as philanthropists.
In September 1999, in Seattle, they announced the creation of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which funds scholarships for college students belonging to a minority.
Photo: STEVAN MORGAIN / AP
In 2000 they created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
They want to continue working together for this foundation in the future.
The picture shows Bill and Melinda Gates in March 2001 with the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
Photo: DAVID KARP / AP
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world.
Today, with an estimated fortune of 125.6 billion US dollars, he ranks fourth in the ranking of the US business magazine "Forbes".
When this picture was taken at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new University of Washington building on May 4, 2001, it was still at the top of the list.
His foundation donated $ 12 million to build it.
Photo: ANDY ROGERS / AP
Bill Gates is a tennis fan and has played alongside Roger Federer for charity.
This picture was taken at a charity event in Seattle in October 2001, where he doubled with Andre Agassi against Amazon founders Jeff Bezos and Pete Sampras.
Here he and his wife listen to tips from former world number one Martina Navratilova.
Photo: Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images
Bill and Melinda Gates - here with the former South African President Nelson Mandela at an AIDS conference in Johannesburg in 2003 - made their separation public on Monday.
"We no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our life," they write.
Photo: THEMBA HADEBE / AP
As public as the two always appeared - here the British Queen Queen Elizabeth II welcomes the couple - they want to survive their separation in private: "We ask that the privacy of our family be respected," said a joint statement.
Photo: Getty Images
The couple in Bangladesh in 2005: they have jointly set up a "foundation that is committed to making healthy and productive lives possible for people around the world," the message now says.
"We continue to share the belief in this mission and will continue to work together in the foundation."
Transparency notice: In addition to vaccine research, the Gates Foundation also supports media companies in the USA and Europe, including the “Global Society” project at SPIEGEL with around 2.3 million euros over three years. You can read more about this
Transparency notice: In addition to vaccine research, the Gates Foundation also supports media companies in the USA and Europe, including the “Global Society” project at SPIEGEL with around 2.3 million euros over three years.
You can read more about this
GAZI SARWAR / AP
Bill and Melinda Gates in 2006 with the former President of China, Hu Jintao: For Bill Gates, a company is always family.
His father, William Gates, was involved in the foundation's inner circle for two decades; the lawyer died last year at the age of 94.
Photo: TED S. WARREN / AP
The gates at a swimming competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing: As a student, Bill Gates dropped out of university to found Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen.
His parents stood by him anyway.
Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach / REUTERS
The couple at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009: "In the past 27 years we have raised three incredible children," they write looking back on their marriage.
Photo: Christian Hartmann / REUTERS
However, the joint work was not always harmonious.
In her book, published in 2019, Melinda reports on a dispute over the foundation's annual newsletter.
Bill originally wrote the newsletter alone, but Melinda wanted to write it together.
In 2013 there was a sale from Melinda, a year later a little more, and it wasn't until 2015 that the newsletter became a real co-production.
Photo: Anthony Bolante / REUTERS
As public as the two regularly appeared, they revealed so few details from their private life.
Photo: Rick Wilking / REUTERS
Above all, the financial consequences of the divorce should now lead to speculation - nothing is known about this so far.
Photo: Francois Lenoir / REUTERS
The couple's eldest daughter, 25-year-old Jennifer Gates, wrote on Instagram: "It's a challenging time for our whole family."
Photo: Shannon Stapleton / REUTERS
In 2016, then US President Barack Obama awarded the Gates the Medal of Freedom in the White House.
Bill was "funny and very energetic," said Melinda Gates in the documentary about what is currently the fourth richest man in the world.
Photo: SHAWN THEW / EPA
"She is truly an equal partner," said Bill Gates in a 2019 Netflix documentary series about his wife.
“She's a lot like me because she's optimistic and interested in science.
She can deal with people better than me.
She's a little bit less persistent than me when it comes to gaining knowledge, like immunology. "
Photo: POOL New / REUTERS
The two met in 1987 shortly after Melinda joined Microsoft as a product manager - her first job after graduating from Duke University.
Photo: JULIEN DE ROSA / EPA
When they met by chance in the Microsoft parking lot, Bill is said to have asked Melinda out on a date - but only for a day two weeks later.
Melinda is said to have amused the long-term planning.
Shortly thereafter, Bill called her and suggested they meet that evening.
Photo: JULIEN DE ROSA / EPA
The couple married in 1994. Before the application, Melinda said, she caught Bill listing the pros and cons of marriage on a whiteboard.
Photo: ELIZABETH SHAFIROFF / REUTERS