Bill Gates Tiptoes Around Questions About His Rumored Infidelity

Since Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce on May 3, 2021, they have cautiously addressed the end of their marriage while attempting to keep the most sensitive details private. Melinda has been more upfront about what caused the divorce, making her state of mind clear. Bill hurt her, and she's not trying to hide it. "For me, there's still healing that needs to happen," the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-founder told Gayle King on "CBS Mornings" on March 3, explaining why she can't be friends with her ex-husband yet.

While Melinda has been incisive in how Bill's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein played a role in her decision, she has remained reticent regarding Bill's rumored infidelity. Two weeks after their intention to divorce was made public, The New York Times reported Bill admitted to having an extramarital relationship with a Microsoft employee several years prior. "There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably," Bill's spokesperson Bridgitt Arnold said in an email.

Melinda has neither confirmed nor denied the speculation, though she addressed it. "I certainly believe in forgiveness, so I thought we had worked through some of that," she told King when the host asked her about the affair. Melinda, however, refused to elaborate further: "I think those are questions Bill needs to answer." Despite his rep's confirmation in May 2021, Bill himself has shied away from a definitive answer — but it's getting harder for him to avoid the subject.

Bill Gates admits hurting Melinda but won't elaborate

Bill Gates is stopping short of confirming he was unfaithful during his 27-year marriage to Melinda Gates. "I certainly made mistakes and I take responsibility," Bill told Savannah Guthrie on TODAY on May 3. "I don't think delving into the particulars at this point is constructive, but yes, I caused pain, and I feel terrible about that." Bill admitted to hurting not only his ex-wife but his three children as well. "I have responsibility for causing a lot of pain to my family," he told Guthrie. "It was a tough year. I feel good that all of us are moving forward now."

Reports of Bill's affair came to light after he resigned from Microsoft's board of directors following a 2019 internal investigation into his purported inappropriate behavior, The New York Times reported. Microsoft felt compelled to look into the matter after the board learned Bill "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," spokesperson Frank X. Shaw said.

This isn't the first time Bill takes responsibility for unspecified mistakes. "I will always be sorry for the pain that I caused Melinda and our family," he said in a statement to "CBS Mornings" in response to Melinda's March interview. Bill also expressed grief over their marriage's demise, suggesting it wasn't his decision. "The divorce is definitely a sad thing," he told Guthrie. "We were partners, we kind of grew up together, and now that's different."