From Ann Winblad to Melinda Gates

For almost three a long time, Bill and Melinda Gates reigned as one in every of world’s most high-profile energy {couples} — however the billionaire computer genius’ estranged wife wasn’t the primary lady to fireplace up his onerous drive.

Before Gates met Melinda in 1987, the Microsoft co-founder had no less than two different main romances, each of which left a long-lasting impression on his life.

Here’s what is thought about Gates’ two ex-girlfriends, Ann Winblad and Jill Bennett, as effectively particulars of his courtship together with his future spouse.

Jill Bennett

Bennett, who has been described as his “first serious girlfriend,” met Gates at a celebration in 1983 in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood the place the pair bonded over tennis, computer systems, and mutual pals.

Born a day aside on the identical hospital, the then-27-year-olds marveled over how a lot that they had in widespread, the Seattle Times reported.

“We even look a little alike,” Bennett advised the newspaper.

But after courting for a few years, the pc gross sales rep finally grew bored with Gates’ workaholic way of life.

Bill Gates and his ex-girlfriend Jill Bennet.
Bill Gates and his ex-girlfriend Jill Bennet.
Photo by © Doug Wilson/CORBIS/Corbis through Getty Images

“He would often show up at her house dead on arrival,” James Wallace, who’s the writer of the 1997 biography, “Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace,” advised The Post.

She described how Gates even took the radio out of his automobile, as not to distract him from brainstorming about his enterprise.

“He was always mutli-tasking. His attention wasn’t 100 percent on her. He was always thinking about all the other computer stuff,” mentioned Wallace, who interviewed Bennett about Gates.

But the previous couple stayed shut as pals, with Bennett even creating the Mary Gates Lectureship Series in 2003 to honor Bill’s mom who died of most cancers, the Seattle Times reported.

Bennett was additionally identified with breast most cancers, working for years to discover a treatment earlier than finally succumbing to the illness in 2004, the newspaper reported.

Bill paid tribute to his ex-girlfriend, calling her battle with the illness brave.

“She was a remarkable human being — gifted, dedicated, and full of life,” he mentioned. “She fought her cancer as bravely as anyone I’ve ever known. She never gave in — she actually found strength in bringing attention to the issue and inspiring people to work toward a cure.”

Ann Winblad

Winblad was one other ex-girlfriend who stayed for years in Bill’s life even after he walked down the aisle with Melinda.

The pair began dating in 1984, after assembly at a pc convention, Time reported in 1997.

Ann Winblad, an ex-girlfriend of Bill Gates.
Ann Winblad, an ex-girlfriend of Bill Gates.
Photo by © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG through Getty Images

What adopted was a sequence of “virtual dates,” the place they might watch the identical motion pictures on the identical time after which talk about, the journal reported.

But the couple known as it quits by 1987, when Winblad, who’s 5 years older than Gates, was reportedly extra prepared to quiet down.

Ann Winblad and Bill Gates would split by 1987.
Ann Winblad and Bill Gates would break up by 1987.
REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Still, they continued to take a yearly journey to Bill’s Outer Banks house.

“We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,” Winblad, a software program knowledgeable and enterprise capitalist from Seattle, Wash., advised the journal.

“And we marvel about how, as two young overachievers, we began a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and it landed us at the center of an amazing universe.”

The getaways didn’t cease when he married Melinda, who reportedly gave her husband her blessing to continue them.

“We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” the Microsoft mogul advised the journal of the journeys.

Winblad has since married Alex Kline, 63, a personal investigator two grownup youngsters from a earlier marriage, a supply advised The Post. They wed about six years in the past.

Melinda French Gates

When the Microsoft co-founder met his future spouse at a commerce present in New York in 1987, it wasn’t precisely love at first sight.

“When we first met, she had other boyfriends, and I had Microsoft,” Bill mentioned in a 2019 Netflix docuseries “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates.

She briefly labored for the corporate of their advertising division earlier than she was appointed as General Manager of Information Products within the early Nineties.

Melinda French Gates in 1995.
Melinda French Gates in 1995.
Photo By Paul Harris/Getty Images

But someplace alongside the road, they discovered that that they had a romantic connection.

“I think [Bill] wanted someone that had a lot of intellectual curiosity. They had a lot in common that they could talk about,” Wallace, Bill’s biographer, advised The Post.

Bill reportedly even consulted his ex, Winblad, earlier than proposing and made a professionals and cons record about whether or not to commit.

“He made a list of the dos and donts for getting married. Here’s all the pluses for getting married and here’s all the negative,” Wallace mentioned.

Bill and Melinda tied the knot on New Year’s Day in 1994 in Hawaii.

The two welcomed their first daughter, Jennifer, in 1996, adopted by their son, Rory, in 1999 and daughter, Phoebe, in 2002.

The pair introduced their break up on May 3, after 27 years of marriage, saying they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

The divorce announcement was adopted by Gates confirming that he had an affair during their marriage with an unnamed Microsoft worker, although he mentioned the connection was in 2000 and ended “amicably.”

Bill and Melinda Gates in Sun Valley Idaho, 1998.
Bill and Melinda Gates in Sun Valley Idaho, 1998.
New York Post

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