Bill Gates Calls Relationship With Epstein 'a Mistake', Says Divorce From Melinda is 'Sad Milestone'
US billionaire entrepreneur Bill Gates and his wife Melinda finalised their divorce after 27 years of marriage earlier this week. According to previous reports, Melinda was less than thrilled by the relationship between her husband and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has admitted that he made a huge mistake when communicating with Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender who died in prison in 2019.
"It was a huge mistake to spend time with him and give him the credibility. I made a mistake," Bill Gates said, as quoted by the CNN.
Gates and Epstein are said to have met dozens of times between 2011 and 2014, with the majority of these meetings taking place at the latter’s Manhattan residence.
According to "Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story" penned by Miami Herald investigative journalist Julie Brown, Gates even boarded Epstein’s private jet in 2013 to fly to Palm Beach, Florida, where he owned a mansion which was at the epicentre of the ongoing sex trafficking scandal for which his ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, is awaiting trial.
Following the revelations, Gates claimed that he “didn’t have any business relationship or friendship” with the financier, who was convicted in 2008 of procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute and served 13 months in prison.
The Microsoft billionaire also said he “didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that".
In July 2019, Epstein was arrested again and charged with sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York. The disgraced financier hanged himself in his Manhattan prison cell a month later.
Divorce is a 'Sad Milestone'
Aside from addressing rumours about his friendship with Epstein, Gates also opened up on his recently finalised divorce from his wife of 27 years, Melinda.
"Definitely a very sad milestone," Bill Gates said. "Melinda is a great person and that partnership that we had coming to an end is a source of great personal sadness."
Gates hopes that he and Melinda can continue to jointly manage their charity foundation.
Melinda Gates had reportedly retained divorce lawyers in 2019 amid concerns over revelations of her now former husband's relationship with convicted paedophile and human trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Back in May, the Daily Beast reported that the Microsoft founder apparently received marriage advice from Epstein. According to the publication, citing two people "familiar with the situation", during meetings at the financier’s mansion, Epstein ostensibly suggested that Gates should end his marriage with his wife after Bill complained about her.
"Going to Jeffrey’s was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda," said one of the people who reportedly attended several of the meetings, adding that Epstein and Gates "were very close".
However, a Gates representative told the outlet that Bill "never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein – on marriage or anything else", adding that he'd "never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein".
"Your characterisation of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated. Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false,” the representative added.
Since 2000, the Gates have led a charitable foundation worth an estimated $50 billion. The organisation's main areas of work include the fight against dangerous diseases and malnutrition in developing countries, and programmes in the field of health and education in the United States.