- Melinda Gates’ body language hinted at trouble in her marriage, a source told The New York Times.
- Footage from five interviews between 2010 and 2019 went some way to backing this up.
- Other clips are less conclusive. Another report said Melinda began planning a divorce in 2019.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce was a surprise to the public when it was announced last week — but reports have since suggested that signs of their fracturing relationship were visible for some time.
In a New York Times report from Saturday, a source described as someone who knows Melinda Gates well pointed to her body language when appearing in public alongside Bill.
According to the Times:
“A person who knows her well but spoke on condition of anonymity about such a private family matter said anyone watching her body language at events for the Giving Pledge — through which billionaires promise to give away at least half of their fortunes — and other public engagements could see that she was unhappy.”
The Giving Pledge is an effort by the Gateses to get the world’s billionaires to commit to giving away at least half of their wealth.
Insider reviewed five such appearances, between November 2010 and February 2019, in which they promoted the Giving Pledge. The talks appeared relatively benign, but there was some awkwardness.
In one interview in particular, recorded at a TED conference in April 2014, Melinda Gates looked blank-faced at times, staring away from her husband as he answered his share of the questions.
It was also in this interview that she talked up their working relationship at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, although admitting that a lot of their work their was separate.
“I’ve had a lot of women say to me, ‘I really don’t think I could work with my husband. That just wouldn’t work out.’ We enjoy it,” Gates said.
“We don’t travel together as much for the foundation actually as we used to when Bill was working at Microsoft. We have more trips where we’re traveling separately. But I always know when I come home, Bill’s going to be interested in what I’ve learned,” she added.
“I think we have a really collaborative relationship, but we don’t spend every minute together, that’s for sure.”
Insider reached out to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for comment on this story, but did not immediately receive a response Monday morning.
The Times report went on to describe how Melinda established herself as a force in her own right, both within the foundation and in the broader world of philanthropy.
The Journal reported that Melinda Gates first started discussions with divorce lawyers in October 2019, the same month that her husband’s meetings with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein were revealed by The New York Times.