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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Bill and Melinda Gates are ending their 27-year marriage. Here's how the Microsoft cofounder spends his $129 billion fortune, from a luxury-car collection to incredible real estate.

Bill and Melinda Gates are ending their 27-year marriage. Here's how the Microsoft cofounder spends his $129 billion fortune, from a luxury-car collection to incredible real estate.

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates have been married for nearly 27 years and have three children together.

Bill and Melinda Gates are ending their 27-year marriage.

The couple announced the news in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday, saying that while they plan to continue working together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they no longer believe they can continue growing as a couple.

Gates, who cofounded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975, is worth $130.5 billion, according to Forbes. He's one of only eight moguls worth over $100 billion and is currently the fourth-richest person in the world.

Gates has made some lavish purchases over the years: He owns a Washington estate worth $125 million, a private airplane, and a luxury-car collection. More recently, he dropped $43 million on a 5,800-square-foot home in Del Mar, California. But these indulgences make up only a fraction of his massive fortune, and Gates isn't known to throw his money around.

In fact, the couple previously said it's unfair they're so rich. Instead of spending billions on themselves, they often donate it to charity through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They've also pledged to give away most of their fortune through the Giving Pledge, which they launched in 2010.

Keep reading for a look at how Gates spends his billions.

Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier version of this story.

Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of $130.5 billion.

Bill Gates speaking at an event in Washington, 2014.

He long held the title as the world's second-richest person until Elon Musk unseated him in November 2020.

Microsoft founder, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, on October 9, 2019.

Now, Gates is the world's fourth-richest person and part of a eight-man club of people currently worth more than $100 billion.


Gates has invested in a variety of stocks and assets and launched a $1 billion investment fund, Breakthrough Energy, with 20 others.


Despite his massive fortune, Gates previously told Ellen DeGeneres that when he became a billionaire at age 31 (history's youngest billionaire at the time), he didn't go on a spending spree.

Bill Gates on "Ellen."

But he has indulged in things over time, he said, like a private plane.


It's been reported that Gates owns a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, which costs $40 million and can seat up to 19 people.

A Bombardier private jet, though not the one Gates owns.

Gates also spent a lot on his estate, Xanadu 2.0, in Medina, Washington. It took him seven years and $63 million to build. He purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988.

This aerial photograph taken on July 13 shows Bill and Melinda Gates' home in Medina, Washington which cost more than $60-million and four-years to build.

At 66,000 square feet, his home is worth about $125 million today.


In 2017, he paid $1,041,292.55 in property taxes on it, according to public filings.

An outside deck is shown at the home of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Tuesday, April 18, 2006, in the Seattle suburb of Medina, WA.

The estate has a trampoline room, which Gates told DeGeneres his three kids love.


There are roughly $80,000 worth of computer screens sitting around the house.


Devices worth $150,000 can display different paintings or photographs on the screens at a single touch. However, there are real paintings on the wall as well — like the Winslow Homer painting Gates purchased for $36 million in 1988.


There's also a 60-foot pool — in its own separate, 3,900 square-foot building.


That's not to mention the 2,100-square-foot library, home to a 16th-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30 million in 1994.


Gates reportedly pays to have sand imported from St. Lucia in the Caribbean to the shore surrounding his house.

Kids play in the water on the beach of Rodney Bay in St. Lucia.

In addition to a home theater for 20 guests, six kitchens, and 24 bathrooms, Gates' house has various garages for 23 cars.


It's perfect for Gates, an avid luxury-car collector. His first big splurge after founding Microsoft was a Porsche 911 supercar, he told DeGeneres. He later sold it, and it was auctioned for $80,000.

A Porsche 911.

But that wasn't Gates' last Porsche — he also has a Porsche 959 in his car collection.

Bill Gates and a 1988 Porsche 959, not Gates' actual car.

Outside of his Washington pad, Gates also has a 4.5-acre vacation ranch in Wellington, Florida, with a 12,864-square-foot mansion. He reportedly dropped $27 million to buy a whole string of properties in the area. The area is hotspot for wealthy equestrians.

Horses in a corral, though not at Gates' ranch.

His daughter, Jennifer, is an accomplished equestrian, and he bought the property to support her passion.


In California, he owns the 228-acre Rancho Paseana, which he purchased for $18 million. It includes a racetrack, orchard, and five barns.


He added to his California real estate portfolio in 2020, dropping $43 million on an oceanfront home in Del Mar, California. It has six bedrooms, a 10-person Jacuzzi, and a swimming pool.

Del Mar, California.

He also reportedly purchased a 492-acre Wyoming ranch, which listed for $8.9 million back in 2009.


But Gates' real-estate portfolio doesn't end there.


He's made numerous investments through his personal investment firm, Cascade, including partial ownership of Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He reportedly owns nearly half of the Four Season Holdings' hotel chain through Cascade, including hotels in Atlanta and Houston. Gates shares 95% ownership with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.


In 2013, Gates and several unnamed buyers paid $161 million for the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. As of 2014, it was reportedly worth $200 million.


When he's not busy buying real estate or working, Gates needs a vacation or two to unwind. He's traveled to Australia and Croatia ...

Baska Voda, a tourist town on the Makarska Riviera, Dalmatia, Croatia.

... and Belize and the Amazon in Brazil.

Belize is known for its sandy beaches and warm weather.

He's also treated his family to a Mediterranean vacation on board the 439-foot superyacht Serene, which he chartered for $5 million a week. It included a helicopter.

The superyacht Serene is pictured at Auckland's Wynyard Wharf in Auckland, New Zealand.

He previously said that he likes to play tennis and go skiing. He's also been spotted spectating at tennis matches.


But Gates' downtime isn't always so adventurous. He's an avid reader, having indulged in quite the book collection.


He's also an "avid bridge player," as he once told Reddit.


Gates hates to shop for himself, but did admit that he likes to "buy nice things" for Melinda.


However, he once told Reddit that he doesn't like overspending on clothes and jewelry.


But Gates' splurges are only a fraction of his massive fortune. He previously told The Telegraph, "I have no use for money." Instead, he often donates to or invests his money in good causes.


Gates previously invested in Amyris, a synthetic-biology company that originally produced precursors to malaria drugs and hydrocarbon-based biofuel. Today, it focuses on health through fragrances, skincare, and sweetener.

Bill Gates speaks ahead of former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 in New York City.

In November 2017, Gates invested $50 million into Alzheimer's research.


He continued these efforts by recently investing $30 million with a group of investors into the Diagnostics Accelerator, a "venture philanthropy" fund to diagnose Alzheimer's earlier.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City, U.S., September 20, 2017.

Gates and Melinda have been huge on philanthropy. They were recently named the most generous philanthropists in the US by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, having donated more than $36 billion to charitable causes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Gates agreed to give away most of his fortune through the Giving Pledge, which he launched in 2010.

Melinda (L) and Bill Gates attend a session at the Congress Center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on January 23, 2015 in Davos.

The Gateses have spent money traveling for their charity work. They donated more than $2 billion in 2016 to causes related to global health and development and US education. In 2017, they donated $4.78 billion, mostly to projects run by the Gates Foundation.


They've pledged about $2 billion to defeat malaria, donated more than $50 million to fight Ebola, and pledged $38 million to a Japanese pharmaceutical company working to create a low-cost polio vaccine.

A girl gets inoculated with an Ebola vaccine on November 22, 2019 in Goma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Gates Foundation has also committed at least $2.5 billion to the GAVI Alliance, which works to improve access to vaccines in poor countries.

A nurse prepares the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in 2019.

Bill and Melinda also prioritize education. The Gates Foundation established the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which has received $1.6 billion.


It also partnered with the Dangote Foundation in 2016 to spend $100 million on eliminating malnutrition in Nigeria.


Throughout 2020, the Gates Foundation was active in the global COVID-19 response, pledging $100 million to help fight the pandemic. A major portion of those funds were used for vaccine development.

A patient receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

When it comes to the future of his fortune, Gates is leaving $10 million to each of his children, a fraction of his net worth.

Bill Gates with his daughter, Jennifer, and his wife, Melinda.

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