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Bill and Melinda Gates


Photo: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Bill and Melinda Gates outside Buckingham Palace, March 2, 2005, in London, England.

Photo: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
Although they live a life of privilege and power, Bill and Melinda Gates are working together to give much of their wealth away. Through interviews, Bill and Melinda reveal their thoughts about marriage, working together, and raising their three children.


William Henry Gates III: October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington.

Melinda Ann French: August 15, 1964 in Dallas, Texas.

How Bill and Melinda Met:

Bill and Melinda met in 1987 at a Microsoft press event in Manhattan, New York.

Marriage Proposal:

Bill proposed marriage to Melinda in 1993 when he "secretly diverted a chartered plane they were taking home from Palm Springs one Sunday night to land in Omaha. Warren Buffett met them there, arranged to have a jewelry store open, and helped them pick a ring."
Source: Time.com.

Ages at Wedding:

Bill, 38. Melinda, 29.

Wedding Date:

Bill and Melinda were married on January 1, 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. The island has no stoplights, has 47 miles of coastline, lots of white sand, and is only 18 miles long and 13 miles wide.

To insure their privacy for the day of their wedding, Bill rented every hotel room at the hotel (250 rooms) and chartered every helicopter close by.

Bill and Melinda's $1 million, 15-minute, seaside wedding ceremony took place on the 12th tee of the Manele Bay Hotel golf course. William J. Sullivan S.J., Seattle University Chancellor, was the presider of the wedding ceremony and Steve Balllmer was Bill's best man.

Bill wore black slacks and a white dinner jacket. Melinda wore a $10,000 wedding gown designed by Victoria Glenn of Seattle. The white dress was made out of silk-faced organza.

Wedding Reception:

Wedding guests numbered approximately 130 and included Warren Buffet, Paul Allen, Craig McCaw, and Katharine Graham. Willie Nelson entertained the Bill and Melinda and their guests at the wedding reception.

Wedding Location Photos:

Manele Bay Hotel Photos
Lanai Photos


Part of their honeymoon was spent at the Wakaya Club in Fiji.


Bill and Melinda are the parents of three children:
  • Jennifer Katharine Gates: Born in 1996.
  • Rory John Gates: Born in 1999.
  • Phoebe Adele Gates: Born in 2002.

Planning on leaving his children $10 million each, "Gates has always said that, like Carnegie, he will give away most of his fortune before he dies. He plans to make sure his children are well taken care of but doesn’t want to leave them the burden of tremendous wealth."

Occupations and Interests:

Bill: Chairman of Microsoft, a software developer, and philanthropist. Bill is an avid reader, enjoys playing golf and bridge, and listening to Frank Sinatra music.

Melinda: Former marketing manager at Microsoft and an executive in charge of interactive content. She now works with Bill on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Melinda is Catholic. Bill's family was Congregationalist.


  • Medina, Washington: Bill and Melinda's $125 million, 40,000 square-foot mansion is an earth-sheltered home on Lake Washington with a view of the Olympic Mountains. The home, aside from all its technical aspects, has gardens, an art collection, an indoor pool, library, 30-car garage, trampoline room, reception hall, estuary, and a stocked trout stream.
  • Union, Washington: A vacation compound with four homes on the hood Canal's south shore. Nicknamed "Getaway."
  • Mustique Island: Bill and Melinda vacation on this exclusive island in the Grenadines.


Bill about his parents' marriage: "In my parents I saw a model where they were really always communicating, doing things together. They were really kind of a team. I wanted some of that magic myself."
Source: Daily Celebrations

Bill about his marriage in 1999: "I have a much more balanced life. I think I'm wiser about a lot of things."
Source: Daily Celebrations

Mary Gates, Bill's mother, in a letter to Melinda before she married Bill: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”
Source: Gatesfoundation.org - 051020

Melinda about raising their children: "I think it's very important that we instill in our kids that it has nothing to do with their name or their situation that they're growing up in; it has to do with who they are as an individual ... "I think we've got the right set-up for them. They have a lot of close friends... they have a lot of close family. I think we're doing the best we can at providing them with a normal environment."
Source: Komo TV

Melinda about working together: "We set out what's going to be our work time versus our foundation time versus family time, and we'll reassess that ... sometimes every week ... We talk a lot in our home together about where we're going, what I'm doing. I think this is very much a collaborative effort. We come at it from slightly different angles, but that's why it's a natural for us to do it together."
Source: Komo TV

Bill about working together: "Melinda and I work together on deciding what we want the foundation to do. It's fun for us to go on trips together around the world and see what the needs are."
Source: Komo TV

Melinda, about walking together: "Well, something most of our Medina neighbors could tell you is that we're in the habit of taking long, long walks together through our neighborhood. And it's on those long walks that we make many of those decisions."
Source: GatesFoundation.org - 000406

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