When people look at Bill Gates, they can’t help but see green. After all, over four decades, the Microsoft founder amassed a net worth of over $100 billion (though he donates a hefty chunk to charity). And while so many billionaires let their money and egos go to their heads, Bill is nothing like them.
Over the past 25 years, Bill has avoided the relationship pitfalls so many wealthy folks fall into, remaining faithfully married to his beloved Melinda Gates. Recently, the happy couple revealed the surprising trick that keeps their relationship running as smooth as Windows 10.
While many billionaires have gotten divorced at least once in their lifetimes, Bill Gates and his beloved wife Melinda are still going strong despite all the money, fame, and glory. But the secret to their lifelong romance might not be what you expect.
Before he ever met Melinda, everyone knew Bill Gates was a genius. Because he had an IQ that’s been said to be between 160-170 and a passion for electronics, people knew he was going to make it big.
And they were right! In 1975, along with friend Paul Allen and a team of brilliant minds, Bill launched the tech company that would come to define his entire life: Microsoft. He may have always believed in it, but he had no idea just what it would become.
By 1981, the company had grown to have 128 employees; by 1985, Microsoft went public with incredible results: on opening day, their shares leapt from $21 per to $28 per. To call that a success would be an understatement.
Two years later, in 1987, Melinda French joined the company as a marketing manager but hadn’t met Bill until they happened to sit next to each other at a trade fair dinner. Within minutes, the two felt a special kind of connection to each other.
“When I look back, I had a lot of respect for [him], and [he] had respect for me,” Melinda says. “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.”
She also mentioned how much Bill always made her laugh, saying “he was funnier than I expected him to be.” Sure, most people don’t think of Bill as a comedian, but privately, he could be the funniest man in the world.
However, their difference in positions was a big factor in their relationship at the time. “I was down several levels at Microsoft,” she said, “and [Bill] was the CEO. We’ve had to change to really be coequals.”
Even after the couple went public, it wasn’t always a smooth road. Bill was making a ton of money. Suddenly, she was invited to fancy parties, driving in limousines, and eating caviar.
Still, despite all of their differences, the two were inseparable as ever. So, On New Year’s Day of 1994, they got married. But instead of taking some time off for their honeymoon, they jumped right into another venture.
See, Melinda had always been interested in using her marketing talents to help people. Now that she was married to a man with means, she could afford to take some time off work and travel afar to aide where she could.
In 2019, the husband and wife celebrated their silver anniversary. “Bill, when I met you nearly thirty years ago, I never could have imagined all of the things we’d build together,” Melinda said. No wonder people wanted to know the secret to their love!
Their three kids, Jennifer, Phoebe, and Rory, have made their life complete, and according to Melinda, Bill would do anything to spend time with their little ones,including driving them to school!
“Bill and the kids cherished those moments in the car,” Melinda said. “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.”
Because Bill was still busy running a billion-dollar company and driving his children around, Melinda decided to become a full-time mom. Once again, the marriage’s dynamic shifted.
Yet this didn’t mean that she would be a hard-working housewife without the help of her husband. “One night I realized I was still in the kitchen a good ten, 15 minutes after everybody else doing the last-minute things,” she said. “Now, nobody leaves the kitchen until I leave the kitchen!”
When the Gateses aren’t doing the dishes, they’re expanding on Melinda’s dream to make the world a better place. Together they began supporting one charity after another until they eventually decided to switch gears.
At the turn of the century, they created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which became the largest private foundation in the world. Its slogan reads: “All lives have equal value. We are impatient optimists working to reduce inequity.”
The foundation helps improve education in both the U.S. and developing countries. Workers try to cure several life-threatening diseases by distributing vaccines in places that need them.
All in all, the charity kept Bill and Melinda busy and happy. They seemed to have worked out exactly how to deal with their different roles, their money, and their notoriety.
But what about other tech moguls who aren’t known for slapping on those dishwashing gloves? While Bill could be considered the O.G. computer master, there are a couple of others who could use a little help with their love life.
The world best knows Mark Zuckerberg as the founder and CEO of Facebook. That’s right, he’s the guy who started the site where your friends overwhelm you with dog and baby photos. But if you asked Mark, he’d describe himself totally differently.
The tech guru said that his most important job is being a family man. His wife Priscilla Chan means way more than any social media project. After all, they’ve been together longer than Facebook has existed!
Facebook / Mark Zuckerberg
Fate, or maybe just a happy accident, forced them together at a crowded frat party in 2003. Both Priscilla and Mark were attending Harvard University at the time, though he nearly blew his first impression.
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Fumbling for a pick-up line, he told Priscilla he’d rather go on a date with her than finish his take-home midterm. She almost walked away from Mark then and there, but found they had natural chemistry. Granted, the students were on very different tracks.
Priscilla, the first in her family to attend college, studied biology. She hoped to eventually move on to medical school and become a doctor. Mark, as a computer science concentrator, wasn’t in any of her classes. However, she did know him by reputation.
The fresh-faced Zuckerberg established himself as a programming prodigy, but one with a penchant for getting in hot water. He nearly got expelled after he built a website called Facemash, which allowed Harvardians to rate the attractiveness of their fellow students.
However, that failure provided the inspiration for a networking site called The facebook, which Mark founded in his dorm. Once it started to take off, he dropped out of Harvard following his sophomore year. Priscilla, meanwhile, stayed to finish her degree.
Though Zuckerberg and his Facebook launch team moved out to Silicon Valley, he made it clear that he wanted to stay with Priscilla. She met him in the middle by enrolling in med school at the nearby University of California, San Francisco.
After a couple of years, Priscilla made a big leap. She moved into Mark’s rental home in Palo Alto and then asked if he wanted to meet her family in China! The young entrepreneur accepted right away, even learning some Mandarin for the big trip.
So, for anyone in their inner circle, the news of their engagement came as no big surprise. In 2012, Facebook reached a billion users and became a publicly traded company, but Mark’s highlight of the year was marrying his best friend.
Facebook / Mark Zuckerberg
Though Mark had to look after his Facebook empire, and Priscilla was hard at work with her pediatric practice, both agreed they wanted children. Their hearts filled up with joy once she discovered she was pregnant — at first.
But the next couple years, Priscilla suffered a series of devastating miscarriages. Neither she nor Mark discussed it much in public, but people started to worry about the couple. Were they starting to lose hope about growing their family?
Facebook / Mark Zuckerberg
Two years down the road, Priscilla gave birth to August, their second daughter. The proud mom and dad felt relieved that their pregnancy struggles were behind them, though parenting wasn’t without its own challenges.
Namely, sleep became a big issue for Priscilla. At certain points in the night, one or both daughters would inevitably wake up, crying. Mark or Priscilla would comfort them, of course, but that wasn’t the only problem.
Days later, Mark unveiled his grand invention: the Sleep Box. Instead of displaying the time or sounding an alarm, the device would simply emit light between 6 and 7 a.m. That simple signal would let Priscilla know if she should get up or go back to sleep.
As basic as the idea sounds, it worked like a charm! Both Priscilla and Mark had more energy to tackle their busy days. That’s especially important since these two have more on their plate than you’d expect!
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