Here's What's Next For Melinda Gates After The Divorce

Most of us might have been blindsided to hear that Melinda and Bill Gates were ending their marriage after more than 25 years together, but it appears that the writing was on the wall as far back as 2019, when The Wall Street Journal says Melinda Gates had begun meeting with lawyers about ending her marriage. In fact, the paper also reveals that the power couple had been in divorce negotiations for most of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown. 

But now that the dust has settled, and the whole world is in the loop, The New York Times says that in fact, Melinda and Bill Gates hadn't just been planning their divorce for a while, they had also been pursuing his-and-hers interests too. Melinda Gates had been taking a closer look at women's issues through Pivotal Ventures, while Bill Gates was investing in clean energy projects through his own Gates Ventures. Philanthropy expert Benjamin Soskis even tells The New York Times that the Gates Foundation was ready for the split because "Institutionally, the foundation had already absorbed the separation. They [Bill and Melinda Gates] each have their own areas of interest. It's not as if this was a unitary entity that is suddenly shattered."

Melinda Gates will continue to champion women's issues

In her book "The Moment of Lift," Melinda Gates had written "I've been trying to find my voice as I've been speaking next to Bill and that can make it hard to be heard." Now that she and Bill Gates have been "decoupled," Melinda Gates is expected to continue using her voice as she moves forward, to champion women's issues like maternal health and contraceptive rights through her own foundation. Back in October, she had told The New York Times that it was her dream "to have a company that has all the tools to work on social issues for women and minorities, even in addition to our education work that we were already doing in the foundation." That could happen with Pivotal Ventures, as its goal is to go beyond basic women's issues in order to address a lack of opportunity for women.

Even though she will be exploring her own interests, Melinda Gates is not expected to leave the foundation she and her soon-to-be ex-husband set up together. As a spokesman told Barrons, "No changes to their roles or the organization are planned. They will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation's issues, and set the organization's overall direction."