When Melinda Gates began meeting with divorce lawyers in 2019, two years before she eventually filed, it was due in part to her concern over her husband's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, as reported in October 2019 in The New York Times.
It was a former employee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who told the Wall Street Journal that Melinda had worries about Bill's relationship with Epstein, a convicted sex offender. Those revelations came to light in an article in The New York Times in 2019.
After the Times story dropped in October 2019, there were a flurry of calls between Melinda Gates and her attorneys, the Journal reports after reviewing documents. Bill Gates had met with Epstein on multiple occasions, and had spent at least one late night at his Manhattan townhouse.
Bill Gates' office said at the time that these meetings were all about philanthropy. A spokesperson for Gates, Bridgitt Arnold, said that "Bill Gates regrets every meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgement to do so. Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein's ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’s personal values and the values of his foundation."
The meetings between Gates and Epstein went on even after Melinda Gates had expressed her concerns with Epstein.
In 2013, Melinda Gates reportedly told Bill after a meeting with Epstein that she was not comfortable with him. Epstein died in prison in August 2019 from a reported suicide, and shortly thereafter, in September, the Journal interviewed Gates about his relationship with him. "I met him. I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him," Gates said.
It was in October that the Times story came out. It reported that "...beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions — including at least three times at Mr. Epstein's palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night, according to interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship." This was per documents reviewed at the time by the Times.
"Employees of Mr. Gates's foundation also paid multiple visits to Mr. Epstein's mansion," the Times reported. "And Mr. Epstein spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund — an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Mr. Epstein."
Gates praised Epstein to colleagues in a 2011 email, saying "His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me."
Arnold was quoted in the Times story, too. In explaining the email, she said he "was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence — and Epstein's habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates." She said that the introduction between the two men had been at the hands of "high-profile people."
Gates, whose foundation has worked hard to help girls globally, met with Epstein after Epstein's had been in prison for soliciting sex from a minor. When Gates met with him, Epstein was already a registered sex offender.
The couple announced on May 3 that they would be splitting up.