A Look Inside The Life Of Bill Gates

Bill Gates has found himself in a media frenzy after announcing his divorce from wife Melinda on Monday, May 3, 2021 (via People), but the tech mogul is used to being in the public eye. Rising to fame in 1987 when he became the world's youngest billionaire at 31-years-old, Gates' work as co-founder of Microsoft changed the world forever (via History).

Today, Gates is worth a whopping $146 billion (per Celebrity Net Worth). And although he's known for quite a few luxuries, such as a $127 million mansion coined "Xanadu 2.0" (via Hello), the tech giant is now known as a philanthropist first and foremost. Following in the steps of charity-focused billionaires like Warren Buffett with their "Giving Pledge," Gates and Melinda have already given more than $45 billion through their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (via Vox).

While the Microsoft co-founder has a life most only dream of, Gates seems to think of his fortune as a mix of ambition and luck. As his ex-girlfriend, Ann Winblad, told Time, the pair once marveled at how their "great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry" eventually  "landed [them] at the center of an amazing universe." While Gates is seen as a genius throughout the world, his humble disposition sets him apart from other billionaires.

Bill Gates took a risk to get his career started

Back in the mid-1970s, when most people still used typewriters and saw computers as huge, room-filling machines, Gates and co-founder Paul Allen had the vision to bring desktops to the people. As Gates wrote in a 2015 email to Microsoft employees, "Early on, Paul Allen and I set the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home" (via CNN).

A crazy idea to most people, Gates and Allen set out to make their dream a reality, founding Microsoft in 1975. But it surely was a risk –- while Allen quit his job, Gates infamously left Harvard University where he was a student (via History). The bright side? Apart from becoming a multi-billionaire, Gates eventually was given an honorary Harvard Doctor of Laws degree after giving a commencement speech (via Reuters).

Writing about founding Microsoft, Gates stated, "It was a bold idea and a lot of people thought we were out of our minds to imagine it was possible." Still, Gates and Allen moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and quickly released one of the world's first personal computers, the Altair 8800. Finding its way into countless homes, sales increased to $1 million, and in 1979, once it began to license its operating system, revenues only grew. After a move to Washington, and the decision to go public in 1986, Gates became the world's youngest billionaire (via History).

He's all about philanthropy... and some luxuries

Although Gates is known for following Warren Buffet's footsteps in putting charity first, pledging to donate 99% of his wealth (via The Telegraph), the tech great still leads a billionaire lifestyle. Sure, Gates' favorite meal is a McDonald's cheeseburger (via The Telegraph), he prefers talking about philanthropy with pals like Buffet (via Gates Notes), and you won't see him dressed in designer. But while Gates says "money has no utility to [him] beyond a certain point," he still has a lavish life.

Gates and soon-to-be-ex-wife Melinda own several properties, luxury cars, and planes (via People). As per Hello, their star mansion is "Xanadu 2.0," a $127 million home in Medina, Washington overlooking Lake Washington. The 66,000 sqft. property features seven bedrooms, 18 bathrooms, six kitchens, a cinema, a library, a pool with an underwater music system, and an artificial stream with fish. Apart from Xanadu 2.0, the Gates' also own ranches in Wyoming and Florida (via Hello), and properties in Central America (via People). Plus, the couple owns more than $690 million worth of farmland in the U.S. (via DW).

Gates' schedule is planned minute-to-minute, and he will jet from country to country for speaking engagements by days-end (via The Telegraph). Stopping by to meet presidents and kings, Gates life is lavish, but he still "wants to take a nickel out of every dollar," and will only leave kids Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18, with 1% of his fortune.

All about Bill Gates' 27-year marriage

According to The New York Times, while Gates put his career with Microsoft as a top priority for years, he eventually stepped down from his company's board to focus on his family. While sources told the outlet that Bill and Melinda's marriage "neared collapse" several times, they always pulled through, putting the focus on their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As per People, Bill said in the Netflix doc "Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates" that he wished he thanked Melinda more, which no doubt had a hand in the dissolution of their relationship.

Although Melinda left her job developing products at Microsoft early on to focus on philanthropy work and raising children Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe, Melinda was a sharp businesswoman in her own right (via USA Today). According to BBC, the two met in the 1980s when Melinda joined Microsoft and clicked at a business dinner. Marrying in Hawaii in 1994, the pair soon had their three children and grew their $40-plus billion foundation together. Telling the Associated Press that Bill and she are "equal partners," the billionaire couple seemed to be a match made in heaven until their divorce announcement.

While the Gates stated that they will "continue [their] work together at the foundation," they will now lead separate lives. As Bill reportedly wrote on a whiteboard the pros and cons of marriage before proposing (via BBC), it's clear the decision was well-thought-out – we wouldn't expect anything less from Mr. Gates!