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Emily Rubeinstein: Enormous fortune on the line for shock Bill and Melinda Gates divorce - Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive

Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda did not sign a prenuptial agreement to divide their fortune, which includes properties in five states, a private jet, an art collection and a fleet of luxury cars.
The divorce papers filed by Melinda in Washington and obtained by the Daily Mail show Melinda did not ask for spousal support and has requested a trial date in April 2022.
However, it is unlikely the divorce will go to trial with the former couple referring to a separation contract, which includes information on finances pertaining to two of the couple's children.
The pair own a private jet and a number of properties including their main home in Washington and houses in California, Florida, Wyoming and Massachusetts. Their family home is a 6100 square metre mansion, which was purchased for US$2 million ($2.78 million) and was redesigned over seven years at a cost of US$63 million. It is now worth an estimated US$125 million ($174 million) and features seven bedrooms, a reported 18 bathrooms, an art-deco cinema, a dining room that can seat 24, an indoor-outdoor pool with an underwater music system, an artificial stream stocked with salmon and trout and reportedly a beach with imported sand.
There's also a trampoline room, a reception hall that can seat 150 people for dinner or 200 for a cocktail party, a library with secret pivoting bookcases with a bar hidden inside one.
The Gates also count a US$59 million ($82 million) ranch in Florida and a Wyoming ranch worth US$9 million ($12.5 million) in their property portfolio, which has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a guesthouse, caretaker's house, dairy cabin, stable and a hut located in the middle of a lake.
Two homes in California, one with a racetrack, orchard and fives barns with spaces for 50 hours was purchased for US$18 million ($25 million) and another for US$43 million ($60 million) features six bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Bill is a car lover and owns a Porsche 930 Turbo, a Jaguar XJ6, a Ferrari 348 and a rare Porsche 959, which was held up for 13 years by US customs. Most recently, he purchased an electric car, the Porsche Taycan.
The former couple announced their split over three decades after their romance blossomed at Microsoft, the company he co-founded that made him a billionaire.
The former couple met at Microsoft in 1987 after Melinda started working there as a product manager, hitting it off when they sat next to each other at a work dinner. Melinda said it took him quite a few months to ask her out.
The two married in Hawaii in 1994, seven years after meeting. He was 38 at the time and she was 29, and the couple went on to have three children together: Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18.
Bill Gates, 65, is the fourth richest person in the world, and is estimated to be worth US$130.5 billion ($181.6 billion), according to Forbes, after he became the world's youngest self-made billionaire when Microsoft went public in 1986.
Bloomberg's Billionaire's Index values Gate's fortune even higher at US$145.8 ($202.9 billion). The couple's divorce comes after 27 years of marriage.
When the pair met, they reportedly shared a love of puzzles, while Melinda enjoyed beating Bill at maths games, although the relationship wasn't serious at the start.
"She had other boyfriends, and I had Microsoft," said Gates.
"We were like, 'Hey we are not really serious about each other, are we? We are not going to demand each other's time.'"
"I was new to Microsoft, there were a lot of men there, and you are still looking around," Melinda Gates added.
When Melinda fell pregnant with their first child, Bill was shocked when she declared she was not going to continue working at Microsoft and would stay at home to be a full time mum.
She said she didn't have an example of working mothers while growing up in Dallas, although her mum led a small real estate investment set up by her parents.
"The other thing that played into it – I mean, we have to be honest: Bill was the CEO of Microsoft, rig...
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Emily Rubeinstein: Enormous fortune on the line for shock Bill and Melinda Gates divorce - Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive