Melinda Gates trashed her ex-husband Bill for his questionable friendship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and revealed that he continued to meet with him despite her having ‘nightmares’ about him.
In her first interview since her divorce from the billionaire last year, Melinda told CBS Mornings that she insisted on meeting Epstein back in 2011 because she wanted to see ‘who this man was’.
‘I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein. I made that clear to him. I also met Jeffrey Epstein exactly one time. I wanted to see who this man was and I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door.
‘He was abhorrent, evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. That’s why my heart breaks for these young women. That’s how I felt, and I am an older woman. He was awful.’
She told host Gayle King that Bill had to answer the many times he met Epstein, and even suggested that it contributed to the divorce.
‘It was not one thing, it was many things [that led to the divorce]. Any of the questions remaining about what Bill’s relationship with him was… those are for Bill to answer.
‘I made it very clear how I felt about him.’
Melinda also revealed that she and Bill are not friends but are ‘friendly’ and work together, and she suggested he had more than one affair throughout their 27-year-marriage.
‘Those are questions Bill needs to answer,’ she said when asked about reports he cheated multiple times. He previously acknowledged one affair.
‘I believe in forgiveness. I thought we had worked through some of that,’ Melinda said of his 2000 affair with a Microsoft employee.
‘I gave every single piece of myself to this marriage. I was committed from the day we got engaged to the day I got out of it.’
The interview was filmed at the offices of Melinda’s new company, Pivotal Ventures, in Seattle.
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Melinda Gates in her CBS interview. She lifted the lid on her marriage to Bill Gates for the first time, telling how the trust in their relationship was broken by his 2000 affair
Bill Gates in Jeffrey Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, the scene of many of his crimes, in 2011 – after the pedophile had spent time in prison for having sex with minors
Bill has said in the past that meeting with Epstein multiple times was a ‘huge’ mistake and error in judgement.
In a statement to CBS, he said: ‘Meeting with Epstein was a mistake that I regret deeply. It was a substantial error in judgement.’
Elsewhere in the interview, Melinda told of being in ‘tears’ about the divorce moments before having to attend a Gates foundation meeting, and how she is dating again.
‘I hope that happens for me again. I am dipping my toe in the water a little bit,’ she said, adding that she ‘definitely’ wants to be in love again.
She said dating was ‘interesting at this point’ but did not give any additional details.
He was abhorrent, evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards.
The 57-year-old, who shocked the world when she and Bill announced in May 2021 that they were ending their 27-year marriage, previously told how she endured emotionally challenging times whilst working with the billionaire.
The pair’s divorce was finalized privately in Washington – where their Gates Foundation is based – in August.
The terms of it were never made public but Bill was worth around $152billion at the time, giving Melinda a 50 percent settlement of $76billion. That does not include the couple’s vast property portfolio which comprised of homes in New York, Washington, and California.
In a preview of the interview, Melinda took a swipe at her ex’s infidelity, saying: ‘I gave every single piece of myself to this marriage. I was committed from the day we got engaged to the day we ended it.’
‘BILL HAS TO ANSWER TO INFIDELITY’: AFFAIR WITH MICROSOFT EMPLOYEE THAT ‘BROKE’ THE TRUST IN THE MARRIAGE
Melinda revealed that Bill’s 2000 affair with a Microsoft employee ‘broke’ the trust in their marriage, and also suggested that he was unfaithful more than once.
Kingasked Melinda: ‘Once trust is broken, isn’t it hard to get it back?’ to which the philanthropist responded: ‘Very, it’s very hard to get it back, in any relationship.’
‘I certainly believe in forgiveness so I thought we had worked through some of that,’ she said of the couple’s attempt to work through Bill’s affair.
‘It wasn’t one moment or one specific thing that happened, there just came a point in time where there was enough there that I realized it just wasn’t healthy, and I couldn’t trust what we had.’
Asked for her response to reports that Bill cheated multiple times, she replied: ‘Those are questions Bill needs to answer.’
Bill and Melinda were married for 27 years before announcing their split last May. They are shown together (left) in 2017 and Bill is shown (right) at the Munich Security Conference last month
A spokesman for Bill previously acknowledged that he had an affair, but that it had nothing to do with him stepping down from the board at Microsoft in 2020.
‘There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably.
‘Bill’s decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier,’ a spokesman told The Wall Street Journal last year.
‘I WISH HIM WELL BUT WE’RE NOT FRIENDS’ – WORKING TOGETHER AT THE GATES FOUNDATION THROUGHOUT DIVORCE
Melinda spoke about how, despite the couple going through their divorce behind the scenes, they were still able to work ‘effectively together’.
‘First of all we both want to work together – we founded this institution in 2000 – both of us. It has both of our names on the building.
‘I believe in that institution, my values are baked into that institution. So I have always felt like it calls us to be our higher selves.
‘Even during the difficult times in the last 18 months while we were going through this process behind the scenes, we were able to show up and work effectively together.
The ex-couple, who share three kids (pictured), have not publicly spoken out about the split, however Bill is reported to have blamed himself in an off-the-record Q&A session back in July
‘I’m not saying it was easy but I’m saying for me I had days where I had tears the hour before an online meeting or I’d be angry but I still rose to be my higher self and I think we can continue to do that.’
She said the pair are not yet ‘friends’ but are ‘friendly’.
‘We certainly have a working relationship. We are friendly at this point. Friends is a different word for me. That might come over time but for me there is still healing that needs to happen.
‘I wish him well. I certainly don’t wish him any harm.
‘We have a productive working relationship and I think that will continue,’ she said.
CRYING ON THE CARPET AND REALIZING HER MARRIAGE WAS OVER BUT THAT SHE DID ‘NOTHING WRONG’
Melinda spoke candidly about sobbing on the floor as her marriage fell apart, and working ‘through’ the divorce.
‘I think it’s really important to say, look, I had a lot of tears for many days, I mean days where I’m literally lying on the floor on the carpet… thinking, ‘How can this be? How can I get up? How am I going to move forward?” she revealed.
‘[There were] days [where] I certainly was angry. That’s part of the grieving process. You’re grieving a loss of something you thought you had and thought you had for your lifetime. This is painful stuff.
‘At the end of the day though 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. It’s 2022 and I’m actually really excited about what’s to come and life ahead of me.’
I had a lot of tears for many days, I mean days where I’m literally lying on the floor on the carpet… thinking, ‘How can this be? How can I get up? How am I going to move forward?”
She added: ‘I don’t question myself now, not at all. I gave every single piece of myself to this marriage. I was committed to the marriage from the day we got engaged to the day I got out of it.
‘Society used to put this on women like it was our fault. I did nothing wrong. I hold my head high.’
The interview – which marks the first time that Melinda has publicly addressed her split from Bill – comes 10 months after the former couple first revealed to the world that they were separating, and just seven months after they finalized their $130 billion divorce settlement.
However, while Bill and Melinda have remained silent about what prompted their split, just weeks after their announcement, the Microsoft founder was rocked by several accusations that he behaved inappropriately towards female employees at the tech company.
In May 2021, multiple reports surfaced claiming the billionaire pursued extramarital affairs with women working at Microsoft; that same month, Bill’s spokesperson confirmed that he’d had an affair with a female staff member in 2000, while he was married to Melinda.
Bill was CEO of the company at the time. It is not clear what position or level of seniority the employee was.
The affair stayed a secret until 2019 when the employee wrote a letter to the board detailing what had happened and allegedly asking that Melinda read it.
The company opened an investigation into the claims.
While the investigation was still ongoing in March 2020, Bill shocked the business world by announcing he was resigning from his position on the company board.
The same day Bill stood down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway, run by his friend Warren Buffet.
Then, in June of last year, he announced that he was stepping down from the board of the Gates Foundation, which he and Melinda founded together, and which she continues to play an active role in as co-chair of the board.
Although Bill has never spoken publicly about the split, he is reported to have told attendees at the Sun Valley conference in Idaho in July that the divorce was ‘his fault’.
While attending the so-called ‘billionaire summer camp’, the Microsoft founder opened up about the couple’s pending divorce in an ‘off the record’ question-and-answer session, according to the New York Post.
In the session, a tearful Bill reportedly admitted that the breakdown of the marriage was his fault.
‘He fessed up to messing up,’ one attendee told the Post. ‘He basically referred to the fact that it [the divorce] was his fault.’
The source added: ‘He did seem a bit emotional about it. He might have been on the verge of tears.’
However, in the seven months since their divorce was finalized, the former couple has put on an amicable display, coming together in October of last year to host the wedding of their eldest child Jennifer, who tied the knot with Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nassar in a lavish ceremony at her 142-acre estate in North Salem, New York.
Melinda has also thrown herself into the fight for gender equality, pledging in June 2021 that the Gates Foundation would spend $2.1 billion on the cause over five years – one of the largest single commitments the organization had made in more than two decades.
The philanthropist’s pledge seemed to send a clear message about her split from her ex-husband; Melinda had long pushed for gender equality to be a key priority for the Seattle-based foundation, while Bill had instead prioritized polio eradication and the development of vaccines.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism