Bill hires Warren Buffett's 97-year-old lawyer pal in $130billion split from Melinda: Gates enlists help of 'the broadest thinker he's ever encountered' as it's revealed there's no prenup and 27-year marriage is 'irretrievably broken'

 Bill Gates has hired his 97-year-old billionaire lawyer friend Charlie T Munger to represent him in his divorce from his wife Melinda. 

The Microsoft founder and his wife announced on Monday that they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage. In papers filed in Washington state, Melinda, 56, described their relationship as 'irretrievably broken' and the couple's eldest daughter, 25-year-old Jennifer Gates, has spoken publicly on social media about the 'challenging stretch' the family recently endured. 

No other details of why the pair are splitting have been given but the court papers reveal the pair did not have a prenuptial agreement in place when they married in 1994 - putting their $130billion fortune at the center of the split. 


Lawyers are shocked there was no prenup, given Bill had already made his first billion dollars at the age of 31 in 1987 - the same year he met Melinda. 

Now, their myriad assets are up for grabs. 

Munger, 97, is not a family lawyer. His expertise is in business, philanthropy and real estate. He and Bill are friends from their time at Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's holding company which Bill served on the board of for 16 years and where Munger remains Vice Chairman.    

Munger divorced once himself, in the 1950s, and lost all of his money in the process. He remarried and rebuilt his wealth.

Both Gates and Buffett have heaped high praise on him. Gates previously described him as the 'broadest thinker he has ever met'.  Buffett said of him in the same 2017 Farnam Street interview: 'He comes equipped for rationality… I would say that to try and typecast Charlie in terms of any other human that I can think of, no one would fit. He’s got his own mold.'    

Charlie Munger, left, Bill Gates, center, and Warren Buffett. Munger, a 97-year-old WWII vet and billionaire, is representing Gates in his divorce. The pair both worked at Berkshire Hathaway - Buffett's holding company. Munger is still the Vice Chairman. Bill left the company's board in 2020 to focus on philanthropy

Charlie Munger, left, Bill Gates, center, and Warren Buffett. Munger, a 97-year-old WWII vet and billionaire, is representing Gates in his divorce. The pair both worked at Berkshire Hathaway - Buffett's holding company. Munger is still the Vice Chairman. Bill left the company's board in 2020 to focus on philanthropy

Bill and Melinda Gates announced their split after 27 years of marriage on Monday

Bill Gates is being represented by Charles T Munger (right with Warren Buffett), a 97-year-old father-of-eight who is worth $2.2bn, in his divorce from wife Melinda. Mr Munger also happens to be the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company run by Gates' billionaire pal Warren Buffett

In a divorce petition filed in Washington state and obtained by DailyMail.com showed Melinda filed for divorce from Bill on Monday, describing their marriage as 'irretrievably broken'

Melinda filed a petition for divorce from Bill on Monday in the Superior Court of Washington - King County. In the petition (pictured) she described their marriage as 'irretrievably broken' 

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife announced the split on Twitter. They both posted the same joint statement
The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife announced the split on Twitter. They both posted the same joint statement

The 65-year-old Microsoft founder and his 56-year-old wife shared the news with identical statements on Twitter (pictured)

The couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2019 family photo. The kids  - Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 25, 21 and 18

The couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2019 family photo. The kids  - Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 25, 21 and 18

The pair are pictured during a Zoom appearance on April 19 at One World: Together At Home, a broadcast special to support healthcare workers 


The couple met in 1987 - the same year Bill became the world's youngest billionaire at the age of 31 - married in Hawaii in 1994, and have three children together: Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe 18.

They also established the world's largest charitable foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 which has contributed more than $50billion to causes including eradicating polio and malaria. The foundation has also been a major investor in coronavirus treatments.

In a joint statement posted to their Twitter accounts on Monday, the pair said their work with the foundation will continue but their marriage will not, adding: 'We no longer feel we are able to grow as a couple in this next phase of our lives.'

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 documents, which were obtained by DailyMail.com, came to light after the couple's eldest daughter revealed their family has been going through a 'challenging stretch of time'. 

Jennifer Gates, 25, spoke out about the divorce announcement on Instagram on Monday afternoon, 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.' 

Jennifer is the oldest of Bill and Melinda's three children, followed by 21-year-old son Rory and 18-year-old daughter Phoebe.   

Bill and Melinda both posted the same joint statement about their divorce on Twitter, which read: '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 comes less than two weeks after they made their last public appearance, virtually, at a COVID event for healthcare workers. 

Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975, almost 20 years before he married Melinda. The company made $1million in sales by 1978 and by 1987, he had become the world's youngest ever billionaire. He met Melinda that year. They are pictured in 1998

Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975, almost 20 years before he married Melinda. The company made $1million in sales by 1978 and by 1987, he had become the world's youngest ever billionaire. He met Melinda that year. They are pictured in 1998

Bill was already a billionaire he married Melinda in the early 1990s. He founded Microsoft in 1975 and became the world's youngest billionaire in 1987 at the age of 31. He also met Melinda that year when she was working at the company where he served as CEO. 

They married six years later but he deliberated over it and, according to previous interviews given by Melinda, even made a list of pros and cons for marriage on a whiteboard. 

The reason behind their split after over a quarter-century remains a mystery but Melinda has previously suggested her husband had trouble balancing work and family. 

In the divorce petition, which was filed in Superior Court of Washington - King County on Monday, Melinda asked the judge to dissolved the marriage 'on the date stated in our separation contract'. The separation contract was not included in the filing so that date is unclear. 

In the absence of the pre-nuptial agreement, the only agreement pertaining to the divorce is the separation contract.  

Melinda did not ask for any spousal support but requested a trial date in April 2022. However it is likely the divorce will be settled without a trial.  

The petition states that finances pertaining to the couple's two children are addressed in the separation contract. The document was signed by both Bill and Melinda, as well as their attorneys. 

Both Bill and Melinda hired powerhouse law firms to assist in the divorce. While Bill is represented by three lawyers from Munger Tolles & Olson - including Charles - Melinda is represented by a team of four New York based attorneys from two separate firms: Cohen Clair Lane Griefer Thorpe & Rottenstreich LLP and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. 

The Gates' divorce, though one of the most expensive in history, is not the most expensive. 

That title goes to Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who split his $150billion fortune with his wife MacKenzie in 2019 after his affair with Lauren Sanchez was revealed.

They, unlike Bezos, are both part of The Giving Pledge - a collection of the world's richest people who have all vowed to devote at least half of their fortunes to charity. 

In 2000 they founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - the most influential private foundation in the worth with an endowment work nearly $50billion.  

Over the last year the foundation has focused on the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. 

As of December, the foundation had committed a total of $1.75billion to the global pandemic response. 

Jennifer Gates, 25, (pictured) responded to the news of her parents' split in an Instagram post on Monday evening
Jennifer's Instagram post is shown above

Jennifer Gates, 25, (left) responded to the news of her parents' split in an Instagram post on Monday evening (right)

Bill made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest ever billionaire. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year
Melinda is pictured in 1995, the year after she married Bill

Bill made his first billion in 1987, becoming the youngest ever billionaire. He was 31. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Melinda joined the company that year. He is shown, left, in 1985, aged 29, and she is shown, right, in 1995, the year after they married

Bill and Melinda tied the knot in 1994 after dating for about seven years. They are pictured together in 1998

Bill and Melinda tied the knot in 1994 after dating for about seven years. They are pictured together in 1998


In their statement on Monday, the Gates vowed to continue that work together after their split. 

The couple met in 1987 when Melinda was working at Microsoft as a project manager and was seated next to Gates at a business dinner.   

Melinda described the meeting in her 2019 biography The Moment of Lift, writing: 'I showed up late, and all the tables were filled except one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. I sat in one of them. A few minutes later, Bill arrived and sat in the other.'

After a year of dating, Bill made a list of the pros and cons of getting married.  

'You know, we cared a lot for each other and there were only two possibilities: either, we were going to break up or we were going to get married,' Bill said in a Netflix documentary about his life. 

She has playfully told how he made a pros and cons lift of whether or not they should get married on a whiteboard. They eventually tied the knot on a golf course on the Hawaiian island of Lanai in 1994, and welcomed their first child together, Jennifer, in 1996.  

In 2019, shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary, Melinda gave a rare interview to The Sunday Times in which she revealed how Bill struggled to balance work with family. 

'We’ve just gotten to a point in life where Bill and I can both laugh about more things. 

'And, believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, "Can I do this?"' she said. 

In her memoir published that same year Melinda wrote about her private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. 

Bill founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen. He served as CEO until 2000 then moved into a director role while gradually scaling back his involvement to dedicate more time to philanthropy. 

He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014. Last year he stepped down from the board of Microsoft entirely, as well as the board of Berkshire Hathaway.

Melinda - the daughter of an aerospace engineer and a housewife - was born Melinda Ann French in Dallas, Texas, in 1964 and attended the elite Duke University in North Carolina before joining Microsoft in 1987.  

Bill also grew up privileged in Seattle, where he was born in 1955. His father was a prominent lawyer and his mother was on the board of the financial holding companies. He dropped out of Harvard to pursue Microsoft in the 1970s. 

The couple welcomed their first child together, Jennifer, in 1996, followed by son Rory in 1999 and Phoebe in 2002.  

Bill grew up privileged in Seattle, where he was born in 1955. He is pictured in a childhood yearbook photo
Bill (left) is pictured with friends in a childhood yearbook photo

Bill grew up privileged in Seattle, where he was born in 1955. He is pictured in two childhood yearbook photos

Melinda - the daughter of an aerospace engineer and a housewife - was born Melinda Ann French in Dallas, Texas, in 1964. She is pictured (right) in a yearbook photo from high school

Melinda - the daughter of an aerospace engineer and a housewife - was born Melinda Ann French in Dallas, Texas, in 1964. She is pictured (right) in a yearbook photo from high school


Bill hires Warren Buffett's 97-year-old lawyer pal in $130billion split from Melinda: Gates enlists help of 'the broadest thinker he's ever encountered' as it's revealed there's no prenup and 27-year marriage is 'irretrievably broken' Bill hires Warren Buffett's 97-year-old lawyer pal in $130billion split from Melinda: Gates enlists help of 'the broadest thinker he's ever encountered' as it's revealed there's no prenup and 27-year marriage is 'irretrievably broken' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:34 Rating: 5

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