When people think of Bill Gates, it’s hard not to think of the color green. As of 2020, the Microsoft co-founder is worth $113.7 billion, donating a hefty sum to charities. And while many billionaires let their status go to their egos, Gates is different.
He has been faithfully married to Melinda Gates since 1994, having three beautiful children with her during that time. So, what makes the Gates’ different than other business tycoons and high-profile celebrities? Keep reading; the happy couple has revealed their secrets to a long marriage that runs as smooth as the latest Microsoft software.
Bill Gates Before Melinda
Before Bill and Melinda Gates were married back in 1994, the former was quickly making a name for himself. With a passion for electronics and an IQ between 160-170, people knew he was going to go places sooner rather than later.
In 1975, alongside friend Paul Allen and a team of other brilliant minds, launched something that would change his life forever: Microsoft. Of course, at the time, Gates had no idea the impact Microsoft would have on the world, nor that it would wind up defining his entire life.
Microsoft Found Success With Their First Retail Software
A few years later, in 1981, the company had grown to have 128 employees. Then, a few years after that, in 1985, Gates launched the first retail version of Microsoft Windows. But he didn’t expect the astounding results that followed.
On the opening day of the software, Microsoft shares jumped from $21 per person to $28 per person. It was a huge success for Gates and the rest of the workers, and something that would allow them to grow the company even more.
Melinda Joined The Fold In 1987
It wasn’t until a few years after the first retail launch that Melinda French came into the Microsoft fold. In 1987, French was hired as a marketing manager for the company. And, ironically, she never met Bill until one fateful evening.
During a trade fair dinner, Bill and Melinda sat next to one another. Right off the bat, the two felt a special connection to one another. Little did the two know, but they would be married in less than ten years.
Melinda Loves Bills Sense Of Curiosity
While Melinda was attracted to his brilliant mind, there was something else that drew her to Bill. During an interview, Melinda said, “When I look back, I had a lot of respect for [him], and [he] had respect for me.”
“I was definitely attracted to his brilliant mind, but beyond that, his curiosity. And he has a huge sense of fun. I love that wry side of him.” Can anyone else picture Bill Gates, the master of electronics, having fun outside of tinkering with computers?!
She Loves His Sense Of Humor
It’s hard to imagine Bill Gates having a sense of humor, considering he’s up there as one of the wealthiest men in the world. We mean, when you’re busy running an empire, who has time for fun, games, or joking around? Well, according to his wife, it’s one of the things she loves most about him.
During an interview, Melinda explained how Bill always made her laugh, saying, “he was funnier than I expected him to be.” We can see why that would be a trait you weren’t expecting the then-CEO of Microsoft to have, Melinda!
They Were On Two Opposite Ends Of The Company
While Bill and Melinda hit it off at the dinner, they were still at opposite ends of the company, with Bill technically being her boss. He was the CEO of a company that was quickly become a big player in the industry while Melinda was a marketing manager. They were in two different worlds.
They knew something was going to have to change if they wanted to be a couple. During an interview, Melinda said, “I was down several levels at Microsoft, and [Bill] was the CEO. We’ve had to change to really be coequals.” Obviously, the change wasn’t an overnight occurrence.
It Was A Bumpy Road
It took some time, but Bill and Melinda eventually went public with their relationship. But it wasn’t an easy road. It was actually very bumpy and full of twists and turns, and roadblocks Melinda wasn’t used to from her ordinary life.
All of a sudden, she was dating a man who was a massive contender in the advancement of technology, being invited to fancy parties, and eating caviar. Was it going to be too much for Melinda to live such a high-profile life?
Bill Made A Pros And Cons List Of Getting Married
It came down to two things: the couple was either going to break up or they were going to get married. In the mini Netflix docu-series Inside Bills Brain, Melinda said, “He had to make a decision.” But this is Bill Gates, so obviously his decision had to first be organized in a pros and cons list.
Laughing at the memory, Melinda said, “his whiteboard had the pros and cons of getting married. He wanted to be married, but he didn’t know whether he could actually commit to it and [run] Microsoft.”
The 1994 Wedding And Their 2000 Venture
Despite the whiteboard list, the two couldn’t get enough of each other. So, on New Years Day, in 1994, Bill and Melinda were married on a golf course on the island of Lanai in Hawaii. Of course, being the Gates, they didn’t go on a honeymoon as most newlyweds.
Instead, they spent their time coming up with a new venture for the company. But this time, instead of computers and engineering, it was something that was near and dear to Melinda’s heart.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2000, the couple started the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, previously the William H. Gates Foundation. The goal of the non-profit was to help reduce extreme poverty, expand educational opportunities while gaining access to technology, and to enhance healthcare around the world.
Since its inception, the foundation has been reported to be the largest private foundation in the world. And as of December 31, 2018, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of $46.8 billion. Not bad for a couple who was just about to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary!
2019 Marked Their 30th Anniversary
In 2019, Bill and Melinda Gates celebrated their silver wedding anniversary, 30 years of marriage. On the day of their anniversary, Melinda went to her Twitter account, saying, “Bill, when I met you nearly thirty years ago, I never could have imagined all of the things we’d build together.”
With 30 years of marriage under their belts, three kids, and no scandals, all while running a major company, it’s no wonder people wanted to know the secret to their longevity.
Their Three Kids Complete Their Life
Two years after their marriage, Bill and Melinda welcomed a healthy baby girl into their family. Jennifer Katharine Gates was born on April 26, 1996, and brought a lot of joy to the two business people. But they weren’t stopping their family there.
In 1999, they welcomed a son, Rory, into the mix. Then, in 2002, another daughter, Phoebe. According to Melinda, their children completed their marriage. And Bill would do anything for his kids, including driving them to school!
Bill And The Kids Cherished Their Car Time
When it comes to their three kids, Melinda thinks if Bill hadn’t driven them to school, it would have been a missed opportunity for them to get to know the true nature of their father. She said, “Bill and the kids cherished those moments in the car.”
“Listening to music together, the conversations over many years that they had – it’s a side of him that they might not have seen otherwise. It would’ve been a missed opportunity.”
The Dynamic Shifted One Night In The Kitchen
During an interview with Business Insider, Melinda explained how the dynamic of her and Bill’s marriage shifted one night in the kitchen, of all places. She explained that “One night, I realized I was still in the kitchen a good ten, 15 minutes after everybody else doing the last-minute things.”
“So one night we stood up after dinner, and people in the family started to melt away, like, off they go upstairs. So hand on my hips, I’m, like, ‘Nobody leaves the kitchen until I leave the kitchen. Everybody stayed and helped, and it’s been that way ever since.” From there, it was all about being united and communicating.
It’s All About Showing A United Front
Juggling a mega-cooperation, a wildly successful foundation, and not to mention three kids is enough to make anyone get stressed and take it out on the person they love most. But Melinda chalks her and Bill’s success up to one simple thing: maintaining a united front in all aspects of life.
During an interview with Lin-Manuel, Melinda said, “Just like in a family with kids, in business we show up with a united front that this is who we are.” Of course, that doesn’t mean the two don’t have their differences.
They Have The Hard Conversations
While they keep up a united front for their kids and business, that doesn’t mean Melinda and Bill don’t have their arguments and disagreements like every other couple. During an interview with Lin-Manuel, Melinda was asked what happens when the two of them disagree with one another. Her response was simple.
Melinda said, “But I would say this, neither of us is afraid of a little bit of grist in the system, neither in business nor in our marriage. That’s how you actually grow. And so we will have tough conversations.”
Never Have A Public Argument
One rule the two have is to never have an argument in public. While the two are high-profile people, their life is already out for the world to see. So, it makes sense that they would want to keep a bit of their private life, well, private.
During an interview with Lin-Manuel, Melinda said, “There’s definitely some tactical day-to-day pieces where you may not always agree.” She went on to stress that those disagreements are best left to the privacy of their own home and not in public or during appearances.
They Have Date Night Rules
And when it comes to communicating, it’s not just taking their arguments behind closed doors. Bill and Melinda agree there are certain topics they shouldn’t bring along on date nights. Pretty much, they’re taking the topics they discuss all the time out of the equation.
This means that after some time, they won’t talk about their kids, the business, the foundation, or even politics. Date night, to Bill and Melinda, is solely about talking about them as a couple.
They Talk AND They Listen
Talking is great when it comes to relationships, but if the other person doesn’t listen if there is a disagreement, then nothing really gets accomplished, and there is no growth. Bill and Melinda chalk their successful marriage up to not only talking but also listening to one another when they disagree on a point.
During an interview with Lin-Manuel, Melinda said, “I’m always interested in his point of view, and I know he’s always interested in mine, I think sometimes our disagreements sharpen the questions that we ask each other,’
Communication And Working Together Is The Name Of The Game
Bill and Melinda were married in 1994, and from there, they’ve had a long and happy marriage. And, according to the two Gates’, their success has everything to do with communicating with one another and working as a team. It also helps that they’ve had more than a few years to perfect listening to one another!
During an interview, Bill said, “Working together as well as raising a family together, there’s a certain intensity to that. But we’re very lucky because we mostly see things the same way, the goals are very much the same. It works well.”