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Microsoft co-founder and former richest man in the world, Bill Gates, and his wife, former Microsoft employee Melinda Gates, are getting divorced.

In a statement on Twitter, the billionaire philanthropists confirmed their separation after almost 30 years together.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” their statement read.

“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.

“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

Replies to the tweet were turned off.

Bill and Melinda Gates have been in the news quite a bit since the pandemic started, since their private foundation (reportedly the world’s largest) has helped fund the development of COVID-19 treatments. Bill Gates also used his massive sway to prevent vaccines from being shared around the world. Swings and roundabouts, hey.

This publicity also means they’ve been the target of cooked anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories which, you know, probably put a fair bit of additional strain on their marriage.

Soon will come the matter of splitting their fortune, which is one of the biggest in history.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bill Gates is worth US$146 billion (roughly AU$187 billion). The couple’s main residence is a US$127 million (AU$164 million) Earth-covered mansion in Washington state called Xanadu 2.0.

While Bill Gates is no longer the richest man in the world, his fortune is still pretty bloody huge.

The Gates’ announcement comes two years after Amazon founderĀ Jeff Bezos and ex-wife, author Mackenzie Scott, announced their divorce, which made Mackenzie the third-richest woman in the world overnight.

The world will be watching very closely this time around to see who gets what.

Image: Getty Images / Kevin Mazur