Melinda Gates began consulting divorce lawyers in 2019, after learning the extent of Bill Gates' relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. The billionaire couple called it off, last week, after 27 years of marriage.

The Journal reports that a former employee for the Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation confirmed that the divorce was, in part, due to Bill's friendship with Epstein. 

The Daily Beast also reported that Melinda was “furious” when Bill met with Epstein in 2013. Bill has said that meeting with Epstein was a “mistake in judgment."

Melinda Gates, Bill, Jeffrey Epstein
Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

The couple announced their divorce in a joint statement on May 3.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives," the statement read. "We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

Following news of the separation, Shannon and Shannade Clermont reached out to Bill in his social media DMs.

"I heard you're single now. I always admired a strong intelligent brilliant man like yourself," they said in the messages.

[Via]