It’s been reported that after marrying his wife, Bill Gates would spend a long weekend every year at a cozy beach cottage in North Carolina with his old girlfriend.
In the wake of the couple’s split announcement, their bizarre arrangement that was first reported in a 1997 issue of Time magazine has been brought to light.
In the old article, the tech billionaire admitted that he would spend a long weekend every year at a cozy beach cottage in North Carolina with his former girlfriend and fellow nerd techie Ann Winblad. “We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” he said of the private getaways, which he claimed were part of the deal when he married Melinda in 1994.
Ann herself spilled to the magazine what they would be doing during the secluded trips. “We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,” she shared. “And we marvel about how, as two young overachievers, we began a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and it landed us at the center of an amazing universe.”
Bill added that he even sought Ann’s approval before proposing to Melinda. “When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval,” he said, noting that Ann gave Melinda’s the thumb’s up. Ann said of Melinda, “I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina.”
The magazine noted that during the interview, Bill still had a photo of him and Ann on a trip to Germany in his office. He also kept a picture of Ann and a bunch of pals from a trip to Indonesia in 1995.
It’s unclear how long their strange entanglement went on, but Ann herself has been married to San Francisco private investigator Edward Alex Kline, the younger brother of actor Kevin Kline.
Bill and Miranda announced their separation on Monday, May 3 after 27 years of marriage. “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,” they said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“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,” the billionaire philanthropists concluded their statement. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
The now-former spouses share three children, 25-year-old daughter Jennifer Katharine, 21-year-old son Rory John and 18-year-old daughter Phoebe Adele.
The couple said they had a separation contract, which they wanted the court to enforce, but did not say that they had a prenup.