Bill Gates admits he 'made mistakes' in his marriage

‘I caused pain and I feel terrible about that’: Bill Gates refuses to say whether he was unfaithful to ex-wife Melinda but he ‘certainly made mistakes’ in closest hint yet that he cheated on her

  • Bill Gates admittedly made mistakes during his marriage to his now-ex Melinda
  • He has declined to confirm allegations of extramarital affairs
  • ‘I don’t think delving into particulars is constructive, but I caused pain,’ he said
  • His remarks come just days after he said working with Jeffrey Epstein a mistake
  • Gates also admitted Melinda advised against getting involved with the financier
  • He claims ignoring her advice was another one of his ‘big mistakes’ 

Billionaire Bill Gates confirmed he ’caused pain’ to his ex-wife and ‘certainly made mistakes’ in their marriage, but refused to address any allegations of infidelity.

Gates, 66, was asked about his faithfulness to his former wife during a TODAY Show interview Tuesday after Melinda French Gates, 57, suggested in March that he had more than one affair throughout their 27-year-marriage.

‘I certainly made mistakes, and I take responsibility,’ Gates told anchor Savannah Guthrie, declining to elaborate further. ‘I don’t think delving into the particulars at this point is constructive, but yes, I caused pain, and I feel terrible about that.’ 

Gates first met Epstein in 2011 after the financier had been convicted of soliciting sex from a minor in 2008. Epstein was also invited to fundraising dinners that promoted the Gates Foundation.

The billionaire revealed Tuesday that Melinda had advised against getting involved with the financier.

Billionaire Bill Gates confirmed during a TODAY Show interview Tuesday that he ’caused pain’ to his ex-wife Melinda and ‘certainly made mistakes’ in their marriage, but refused to address any allegations of infidelity

‘I certainly made a huge mistake. Not only meeting him in the first place, but I met with him a number of times,’ Gates told Guthrie. ‘I had a goal of raising money for global health. I didn’t realize that meeting with him almost downplayed the incredibly awful things he did.

I learned more about that over time. But, you know, I’d add that to the list of big mistakes, including where Melinda’s advice was sound and I should have followed it sooner than I did.’

The TODAY host hit back, questioning why Gates seemingly wasn’t concerned about working with Epstein even though Melinda allegedly had a ‘visceral reaction the first time she met him.’

‘No, he was a bad person,’ the billionaire answered. ‘I had a reason that I thought those meetings would lead to something good. But I shouldn’t have done them.’

‘I certainly made mistakes, and I take responsibility,’ Gates said of his marriage to Melinda French Gates. ‘I don’t think delving into the particulars at this point is constructive, but yes, I caused pain, and I feel terrible about that.’ The former couple is pictured together in 2019

Gates’ admission of fault comes just two days after he shared how he made ‘a huge mistake’ by attending fundraising meetings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein . The pair are pictured together at Epstein’s mansion in 2011

His remarks echoed the narrative he gave The Times in an interview published Sunday which also probed his working relationship with Epstein.

‘At the time, I didn’t realize that by having those meetings it would be seen as giving him credibility,’ Gates told the newspaper.

‘You’re almost saying, ‘I forgive that type of behavior,’ or something. So clearly the way it’s seen, I made a huge mistake not understanding that.’

The dinners were a point of contention between the Microsoft billionaire and his now ex-wife and business partner, Melinda French Gates, who described Epstein as ‘evil personified.’

The couple announced their separation last year after 27 years of marriage.

In earlier interviews, Gates stated how he ultimately stopped meetings with the convicted sex offender after he realized the meetings would not be productive for his philanthropic foundation.

‘I had dinners with him. I regret doing that. He had relationships he said with people he said would give to public health. Not nearly enough philanthropy goes in that direction,’ Gates said in a September 2021 interview. 

‘Those meetings were a mistake. They didn’t result in what he purported, and I cut them off. You know, that goes back a long time ago now,’ he said to PBS.

The billionaire has previously claimed he had concerns about Epstein, who had pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2008 of procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute – years before the tech mogul met the financier. 

‘I had several dinners with him hoping that what he said about getting billions of philanthropy for global health through contacts he had might emerge. When it looked like that wasn’t a real thing that relationship ended,’ Gates said. 

The Microsoft co-founder reportedly visited Epstein’s home numerous times and even talked with him about his ‘toxic’ marriage while the pedophile allegedly gave him advice on ending the union, according to the Daily Beast. 

Gates’ visits to Epstein’s ‘lair’ were an escape from his unhappy marriage, and the pair ‘were very close’, a source said.

Flight records also reveal that Gates flew with Epstein on the so-called Lolita Express from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach on March 1, 2013, one of the few flights that year where pilot Larry Viskoski recorded the name of a passenger. 

A spokesperson for Gates told Insider last June that Gates had ‘absolutely no business partnership or personal friendship’ with Epstein, and any meetings between the two were about philanthropy. 

Melinda Gates in her CBS interview in March 2022. She lifted the lid on her marriage to Bill Gates for the first time including his encounters with Jeffrey Epstein

Melinda Gates and Bill Gates speak on stage during The Robin Hood Foundation’s benefit in New York City in May 2018

In her first interview since her divorce from the billionaire last year, Melinda told CBS Mornings in March that she insisted on meeting Epstein back in 2011 because she wanted to see ‘who this man was’. 

‘I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein. I made that clear to him. I also met Jeffrey Epstein exactly one time. I wanted to see who this man was and I regretted it from the second I stepped in the door. 

‘He was abhorrent, evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. That’s why my heart breaks for these young women. That’s how I felt, and I am an older woman. He was awful.’ 

She told how Bill had to answer for the many times he met Epstein, and even suggested that it may have contributed to the divorce. 

‘It was not one thing, it was many things [that led to the divorce]. Any of the questions remaining about what Bill’s relationship with him was… those are for Bill to answer. I made it very clear how I felt about him.’

During that same interview, Melinda also revealed that she and Gates are not friends, but are ‘friendly’ and work together. She suggested he had more than one affair throughout their 27-year-marriage.

‘Those are questions Bill needs to answer,’ she said when asked about reports he cheated multiple times. He previously acknowledged one affair.

‘I believe in forgiveness. I thought we had worked through some of that,’ Melinda said of his 2000 affair with a Microsoft employee. I gave every single piece of myself to this marriage. I was committed from the day we got engaged to the day I got out of it.’

A photo shows Bill and Melinda Gates while they were dating before getting married

Bill and Melinda Gates couple are pictured with their three kids in a 2018 family photo. The kids – Jennifer (center), Rory (right) and Phoebe (left) are now aged 26, 22 and 19. Bill and Melinda announced their split in May after 27 years of marriage

Gates, who was probed about the affair during his TODAY interview Tuesday, has refused to say whether he cheated on Melinda.

He admitted to making mistakes that he ‘feels terrible about’ and humbly acknowledged that he is no expert on marriage.

‘Divorce is definitely a sad thing,’ he told Guthrie. ‘I have responsibility for causing a lot of pain to my family.’

‘I feel good that all of us is moving forward,’ he said, before stating he was in no position to reveal life lessons or offer advice to the public.

‘You know, there are areas like climate or, you know, health where I have expertise,’ he said. ‘And on personal matters like this – you know, I don’t think of myself as an expert. I should be very humble about…

‘Success has a tricky aspect to it. So, I don’t have great advice for other people.’

He was also questioned about a statement he made in May 2021 where he revealed that he would marry Melinda ‘all over again’ and described their marriage as ‘great’.

Gates told TODAY co-host Savannah Guthrie that he and Melinda keep their priorities focused on their children and the Gates Foundation, which he feels ‘very lucky’ to continue to share with his ex-wife

Guthrie, however, pointed out that Melinda only described the pair as ‘friendly’ but ‘not necessarily friends’.

‘How do you see the relationship moving forward?’ she asked.

Gates replied: ‘Well this was a very tough thing. We had a lot of amazing things in our marriage. The kids, the foundation. The enjoyment we had. And so it is a very hard adjustment. 

‘I know divorces are different. But, you know, just a complete change and we were partners. We kind of grew up together. And now that’s different. We’re not married.’

He did say their priorities remain on their children and the Gates Foundation, which he feels ‘very lucky’ to continue to share with Melinda.

‘One of the things we built together is the Gates Foundation and we love that work,’ he explained. ‘We’ve got all the resources I was lucky enough to get. We’ve got Warren Buffett committed massive resources. So making sure that is spent well, saves lives. Melinda and I love doing that work together. 

‘So I feel very lucky that I is still have that with her. As well as, you know, we’ve got three incredible kids.’

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