The One Thing Bill Gates Says He Wishes He Did More in His Marriage

Two years before the couple filed for divorce, Bill Gates said he didn't do this enough.

On May 3, Bill and Melinda Gates announced they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage. The pair, who share three adult children, shocked the country with the news of their split. "After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," they said in a joint statement, which they shared on Twitter. "We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."

Many couples who separate feel like they could've done more to save the relationship, and it seems Bill Gates is no different. Two years before the Gateses announced their split, the Microsoft co-founder acknowledged a regret he had in his marriage. To see what he wishes he did more during his relationship with Melinda, read on. And for more from another beloved couple, John Travolta Shares One of the Hardest Things About Losing Kelly Preston.

Bill Gates previously said he wished he thanked his wife more.

Bill Gates Melinda Gates
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In 2019, Netflix released the docuseries Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. Within the three-part series, both Bill and Melinda Gates got candid about their relationship. Although it came out two years before the couple's divorce filing, it seems the Microsoft co-founder was already expressing remorse for decisions he made in the marriage.

As People first pointed out, in the last episode of Inside Bill's Brain, the director asked the billionaire businessman, "If you got hit by a bus today, died, what's the one thing, the one thing you said, 'God, I wish I had done that I haven't done [that]?'" Bill responded, "You know, thanking Melinda."

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The couple said they will continue working together.

Bill Gates Melinda Gates
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In their divorce announcement, the Gateses also talked about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that they built together. Founded in 2000, it's now worth over $40 billion, according to the foundation's website.

"Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," Bill and Melinda Gates said in their statement. "We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation. … We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

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The couple met at Microsoft, and almost didn't date.

Bill Gates Melinda Gates
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Bill Gates met then-Melinda French at Microsoft, which was just a start-up at the time. It was also Melinda's first job out of college.

In the third episode of the Inside Bill's Brain series, the Microsoft co-founder said (according to People), "When we first met, she had other boyfriends, and I had Microsoft. We were like, 'Hey, we're not really serious about each other, are we? We're not going to demand each other's time.'" Melinda said, "I was new to Microsoft. There were a lot of men there. You know, you're still looking around, you're still figuring it out."

Eventually, the two fell in love. "After about a year of that, sort of to our surprise, certainly my surprise, we said, 'Hey, I love you,' and she said she loved me, and then it was like, 'Wow. Now, what's going to happen?'" Bill recalled. Melinda explained that although Bill wanted to be married, he struggled with how he could commit to marriage and Microsoft at once. Ultimately, the couple said "I do" on New Year's Day in Hawaii in 1994.

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Their friends have long admired their relationship.

The same year the docuseries debuted, Melinda shared a video from their wedding day in honor of their 25th anniversary. The video shows Melinda laughing as Bill struggles to cut the cake, thinking the ritual meant he had to slice a piece for every guest. "I thought my heart was full that night, but the last 25 years have taught me just how full a heart can get," she wrote in her Facebook post.

The couple's friend Mike Slade shared his thoughts about the pair during the first episode of the docuseries. "It doesn't feel like there's any inequality, even though he's the one who started Microsoft and not her," Slade said of the couple.

Although Bill regrets not thanking his wife enough, Slade said it was clear that he appreciated Melinda. "He appreciates everything about her," said Slade. "I've never heard him complain about her. He's the only person I know on this earth who I've never heard complain about his wife."

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Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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