If you thought Melinda Gates divorcing Bill Gates was going to mean a big payday for her, just wait until you hear about how it might change the fortunes for their children!
Bill and Melinda’s three kids — Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18 — are now adults, something which may well have had an impact on the decision to split. We’ve heard the couple had been stuck in a “loveless” marriage for years and may have only been waiting for Phoebe to hit college age before pulling the trigger on the breakup.
We haven’t ever heard of the parents having different views on how to raise their heirs, but there’s now reason to speculate that Melinda may not have been on board with Bill’s pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps ideals.
Related: Bill Cheated?! Microsoft CEO Reportedly Pursued Multiple Women At Work!
For many years now, reports have been out there that the Gates planned to leave their children only $10 million. Yes, those are some big, fancy bootstraps, but when you consider the couple’s estimated net worth is in the neighborhood of $130 billion — with a B — it suddenly becomes clear how relatively small that is. If you’re interested in the math, it’s less than one percent of the fortune. Actually, it’s less than .008 of one percent of the fortune each. So one can understand why folks are so shocked by the decision.
Back in 2011, Bill explained his intent in an interview with DailyMail.com, saying of leaving his kids a more sizable portion:
“I don’t think that amount of money would be good for them.”
While he wouldn’t confirm the figure of $10 mil, he did acknowledge:
“It will be a minuscule portion of my wealth. It will mean they have to find their own way.”
He further clarified:
“They will be given an unbelievable education and that will all be paid for. And certainly anything related to health issues we will take care of. But in terms of their income, they will have to pick a job they like and go to work. They are normal kids now. They do chores, they get pocket money.”
Curious what that pocket money amount is, but OK. Sounds pretty reasonable, tbh. And make no mistake, $10 million is still a LOT of money.
Where is the rest going? Well, Bill and Melinda were reportedly committed to giving most of it to charity. Now at least some fraction of that is going to divorce lawyers, sadly. But not just divorce lawyers. That’s the new info here…
According to an investigation by Page Six, Melinda has actually listed “top trust and estate attorneys” Loretta Ippolito and Bruce Birenboim of the firm Paul Weiss as her representatives in the divorce, along with divorce attorney Robert Cohen (who has repped Michael Bloomberg and Ivana Trump).
Related: Bill Was Friendly With Jeffrey Epstein For Years
The outlet’s experts, big time divorce attorneys (and mother-daughter team) Harriet Newman Cohen and Martha Cohen Stine, point out it’s “most unusual for trust and estate lawyers’ names to be listed on a divorce filing.” Trust and estate lawyers handle inheritance, not divorce — so the experts say this is a major signal that Melinda is looking to change the amount being left to her kids.
Newman Cohen says Bill leaving the kids such a small fraction of the total fortune is “tantamount to disinheriting the children” and wonders whether Melinda had a change of heart:
“Maybe she wanted to leave more to her children than $10 million each. Maybe she didn’t agree.”
“We see divorces for the reason that the mother wants to protect the children. She may be like every other woman … protecting her children.”
“Protecting” her kids, now that’s interesting. We’ve heard the family has all taken Melinda’s side — is it possible she’s worried about some kind of retaliation? And the trust attorneys are there to make sure Bill doesn’t cut them out even more?
We definitely could see Melinda hiring trust attorneys to ensure the children are taken care of — but we always assumed she was on board with the big move to donate most of the fortune to charity, perhaps even the brains behind it. Is it possible she thinks the bootstraps the kids are holding could be just a little more comfy and luxurious? Like .08 of one percent instead?
As much scrutiny as this divorce is under, we wouldn’t be surprised if we learn of any big changes.
[Image via Daniel Deme/WENN.]