Billionaire benefactors Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of one of the world’s largest private charitable foundations, filed for divorce on Monday after 27 years of marriage but pledged to continue their philanthropic work together.

The pair announced the news with identical tweets that read, “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. 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.”

The relationship between the couple dates back to 1987 when they started dating. They had met for the first time at a trade show in New York. Finally, they got hitched on New Year’s Day in 1994 in Hawaii. They also have three children.

The billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates together run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation aims at helping towards leading a healthy and productive life. It must also be noted that the organisation has spent millions on widespread social causes like vaccinations for children and fighting infectious diseases.

Melinda’s long journey away from Bill’s shadow is set to enter a new phase after the billionaire benefactors announced on Monday that they would divorce after 27 years, saying in a court filing that “this marriage is irretrievably broken.” The 56-year-old Texas-raised computer scientist, who met Bill Gates, 65, at a company dinner in New York, will continue to run the foundation with him. But she has also positioned herself, in a solo capacity, as an activist for women’s rights.

In 2015, she founded Pivotal Ventures, an investment company focused on women and families, while her book is centered on issues of female empowerment. “The world is finally waking up to the fact that none of us can move forward when half of us are held back. The data is clear: empowered women transform societies,” she wrote in a note about her book.

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