Melinda Gates started talking with divorce lawyers in October of 2019 after the New York Times first revealed Bill Gates had met with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein on multiple occasions, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. The report sheds new light on the timeline of the wealthy couple’s disintegrating marriage, something Bill and Melinda announced only last week with a joint statement about their pending divorce.
The New York Times first reported in a story dated October 12, 2019 that Bill Gates had met with Epstein, even including a photo of Epstein and Gates standing next to each other at Epstein’s apartment in 2011. The 2011 meeting was three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges in Florida: one count of “solicitation of prostitution” and one count of “solicitation of prostitution with a minor under the age of 18.”
Speculation ran rampant last week that the Bill and Melinda were splitting up over Bill’s ties to Epstein, but this is the first time a news report has hinted at the possibility so directly, though the Journal’s sources remain unnamed.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Ms. Gates consulted with divorce lawyers roughly two years before she filed for divorce from Mr. Gates, saying their marriage was “irretrievably broken,” according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The couple hasn’t said what prompted the split. One source of concern for Ms. Gates was her husband’s dealings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to the people and a former employee of their charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ms. Gates’s concerns about the relationship dated as far back as 2013, the former employee said.
The Times report in 2019 revealed that Bill had visited Epstein’s Manhattan apartment at least three times, staying “late into the night” on at least one occasion. When the meetings were revealed in 2019, Gates said he was only meeting with Epstein about philanthropy work. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an enormous nonprofit, though it’s not clear why it would need help from a shady pedophile like Epstein.
Bill still maintains he was only meeting with Epstein for innocent reasons, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the documents reviewed by the Journal, Ms. Gates and her advisers held a number of calls in October 2019 when the New York Times reported that Mr. Gates had met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions. Mr. Gates once stayed late into the night at Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, the Times reported.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gates, said in 2019 that the software mogul and Mr. Epstein had met multiple times to discuss philanthropy. “ Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,” Ms. Arnold said at the time.
The Journal’s new report notes that Epstein died in jail in August of 2019. And while it was ruled a suicide, there are plenty of theories that wealthy and powerful people may have conspired to kill Epstein, prompting the macabre meme, “Epstein didn’t kill himself.”
Melinda herself actually met Epstein on one occasion back in 2013, according to the Daily Beast, and that’s apparently when she knew something was not right, though the Beast report gives plenty of wiggle room about what Bill may have known.
“I can’t make the claim that so many are claiming,” the person told The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, referring to people in Epstein’s orbit who’ve said they had no suspicions of Epstein’s abuse. “If you ask Bill Gates, he’ll say, ‘Oh I had absolutely no idea he wasn’t up to anything of the highest moral character.’ But I seriously doubted Epstein’s moral character.”
“The people around him,” the person added, referring to Epstein, “had a varying spectrum of what they knew and what they didn’t know and how they rationalized it.”
This person wasn’t surprised that Melinda Gates was put off by Epstein, saying “a lot of people were uncomfortable with Epstein, completely independent of his” sexual misconduct. “He just was an obnoxious guy. He almost made a point of having bad manners, not paying attention at dinner… I could see how anybody, even without suspicions, would not want to be around him.”
What did Bill know and when did he know it? That still seems very much up in the air at this point. But we now know Melinda was quick to get divorce lawyers on the phone right around the time Bill’s ties to Epstein became known. Whatever Bill actually knew about Epstein, Melinda was clearly uncomfortable with the entire situation.