Ten months after announcing her divorce, Melinda French Gates is publicly sharing details of her split with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and where she’s headed now.
The couple announced their divorce on May 3. The two were married for 27 years, raised three children, and jointly created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charitable foundation and a powerhouse in global health.
French Gates and Gates appeared to have an enviable partnership and a shared passion for the foundation. But following the divorce it was revealed that in 2000, Gates had an affair with a Microsoft employee, and in a separate incident he sent messages to a female Microsoft employee that were deemed “inappropriate” by the company in 2008.
French Gates met her future husband in 1987 while herself working at Microsoft.
CBS Mornings on Wednesday posted a sneak peek of the interview between French Gates and broadcaster Gayle King that will air in full on Thursday.
Melinda French Gates opens up about divorce and her “journey of healing” https://t.co/JL5I2TXfqB
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) March 2, 2022
In French Gates’ first TV interview since the divorce, King asked about the affair and how she handled it.
“Well, I certainly believe in forgiveness. So I thought we had worked through some of that,” said French Gates. “It wasn’t one moment or one specific thing that happened. There just came of point in time where there was enough there that I realized it wasn’t healthy and I couldn’t trust what we had.”
French Gates said she grieved the loss of a marriage that she expected to last “a lifetime,” experienced anger and shed “a lot of tears for many days.”
The separation has attracted significant public attention given the couple’s tremendous wealth and philanthropic influence.
In July, their foundation announced a two-year trial period to see how effectively French Gates and Gates can work together. If the arrangement proves untenable, French Gates will resign as co-chair and trustee. She would receive personal resources from Gates to continue her philanthropic work, not tapping the foundation’s $65 billion endowment.
But already French Gates’ focus has shifted. Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that French Gates “is no longer pledging to give the bulk of her wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and instead plans to spread it among philanthropic endeavors.”
French Gates’ reported net worth is estimated to be $6.3 billion.
In the teaser to the full interview, King notes that their conversation will be “wide ranging” and not solely focused on the divorce.
In addition to her work with the foundation, French Gates in 2015 created Pivotal Ventures, an organization promoting initiatives that empower women and families. Experts and observers have been eager to see where she will direct expertise and wealth.
“I started on this journey of healing and I feel like I’m starting to get to the other side. And I do feel like I’m turning a page in the chapter now,” she said. “I mean, it’s 2022 and I’m actually really excited about what’s to come and life ahead for me.”