Who Is Bill And Melinda Gates' Son, Rory Gates?

As Bill and Melinda Gates' decision to divorce continues to be the talk of Silicon Valley, many have wondered how their three children are handling the news. Granted, all three of the Gates children are all grown up, but parental divorce can even shake adults from time to time. Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18, have not publicly commented on the split. Their low-key lifestyles have drummed up a lot of curiosity about the Gates kids.

Rory John Gates finds himself in a unique position. At 21-years-old, he's led a quiet and reserved life, despite undeniably sharing some of his dad's features. Like his famous parents, Rory values his privacy. His social media profiles are private, allowing him to navigate the world as normally as you can when you're the founder of Microsoft's son.

"When my son Rory was born, I spent a lot of time imagining what this little person would be like and who he would be as he grew up," mom Melinda French Gates wrote in an Instagram caption celebrating Rory's birthday in 2017. "Now, as we near his 18th birthday, I have my answer. Rory is compassionate and curious."

Rory had a quiet upbringing in Washington

Rory John Gates was born on May 23, 1999. He grew up at the family's estate in Medina, Washington, which Bill Gates refers to as Xanadu 2.0, after the fictional mansion of the protagonist in "Citizen Kane" (per TheStreet).

All of Bill's kids went to his alma mater, The Lakeside School. He wanted to share his educational experience there with his kids. "Lakeside was one of the best things that ever happened to me," he said at a speech at the school in 2015 (per The Gates Foundation). "The experience and insight Paul Allen and I gained here gave us the confidence to start a company based on this wild idea that nobody else agreed with — that computer chips were going to become so powerful that computers and software would become a tool that would be on every desk and in every home. If there had been no Lakeside, there would have been no Microsoft."

Rory's moves after graduating the school were kept quiet to protect his privacy, but it wouldn't be long until he was spotted at the University of Chicago, where he's believed to be currently attending. In 2018, the school shared a photo of him along with the school's Moot Court team, leading many to believe Rory's pursuing a law degree.

Rory and his siblings had screen time limits

You might think the kids of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates might be privy to the latest in technological advances, but that isn't necessarily true. Bill and Melinda thought it was important to raise their kids with moderated tech use. As a result, Rory Gates and his sisters weren't allowed cell phones until they were 14.

"We often set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour," Bill told The Mirror in 2017. "You're always looking at how it can be used in a great way — homework and staying in touch with friends — and also where it has gotten to excess. We don't have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn't give our kids cell phones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier."

Rory considers himself a feminist

One of Melinda Gates' proudest moments with only son Rory Gates was watching him grow up respecting women and their place in the world. She reflected on this in a 2017 essay for Time.

"Across 18 years of conversations, sharp observations and everyday actions, he's demonstrated his belief that gender equality is something worth standing up for," she shared. "When we talk about these issues at the dinner table, he (and his friends!) have a lot to say."

Melinda shared a story of a time Rory accompanied her to East Africa. While there, the two talked to some local men who were looking to change the ideas around gender norms by splitting domestic work with their wives. Melinda was impressed, but Rory wasn't. "I thought that, in many ways, what these men were doing was extraordinary. Rory respectfully disagreed," she wrote.

"He told me he thinks that standing up to unfair norms is nothing more than exactly what men everywhere should be doing. Yes, he recognizes that the more entrenched the norms, the more courage it takes to confront them. But he also believes that it's a universal responsibility and one that he's already striving to uphold in his own life."