After marrying his soon-to-be ex-wife in 1994, billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates would still take a long weekend every year with his secret girlfriend at a secluded beach cottage in North Carolina.
Gates even made sure that his wife, Melinda, would allow the bizarre arrangement to continue even after their wedding.
Gates revealed that he and Winblad started taking an annual trip to his ex’s Outer Banks home when they began dating in 1984 after meeting at a computer conference.
The secluded trips involved everything from riding dune buggies to hang-gliding and quiet strolls on the beach.
“We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,” Winblad told the mag.
“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.”
“We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” Gates said of his private getaways with his mistress, Ann Winblad. He even sought her approval before proposing to his wife.
“When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval,” Gates recalled.
Winblad gave him her honest opinion, “I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina.”
Gates — who is worth an estimated $130 billion — and his wife recently announced their divorce in a joint statement. The powerhouse couple had been married for 27 years.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” said the billionaire philanthropist couple.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
“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 statement goes on.
“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. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”