As Bill and Melinda Gates begin their long (and seemingly very public) divorce, one name continues to make headlines: Jeffrey Epstein.
Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire who died in jail back in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges, continues to haunt the reputations of all of his high-powered friends and colleagues— and it seems as though the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft is no exception. According to information that has surfaced recently through the Wall Street Journal and People, Melinda Gates was reportedly worried about Bill’s relationship with Epstein as early as 2013, and the disgraced millionaire was apparently a ‘sore spot’ in the couple’s marriage.
While publicly, Bill claims to ‘regret’ ever meeting Epstein, and ‘recognizes it was an error in his judgement to do so,’ others have been sceptical about their relationship. According to a New York Times report in 2019, Bill first met Epstein after the latter had already done a stint in jail for soliciting prostitution for a minor— and was already a registered sex offender. After they met in 2011, Bill Gates reportedly emailed several colleagues about Epstein’s ‘lifestyle,’ calling it ‘very different’ and ‘intriguing,’ according to Vice. However, Bill now claims that this was in reference to his ‘unique decor.’
Regardless though, Bill met with Epstein multiple times over the course of their friendship, and in 2013, Bill even flew on Epstein’s private plane (now infamously nicknamed the Lolita Express). Multiple victims of Epstein have now come forward and claimed that they were assaulted on that plane by many of his high profile guests— including Prince Andrew of the British Royal family.
However, as allegations surrounding Epstein’s conduct continued to come out, Bill continued to claim that the pair were never particularly close, and that his interest in forming a partnership with him was strictly for philanthropic purposes. “I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him. I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that,” Gates claimed. “There were people around him who were saying, hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people. Every meeting where I was with him were meetings with men. I was never at any parties or anything like that. He never donated any money to anything that I know about.”
Still, throughout the years, Melinda was deeply concerned with Epstein’s character and after a meeting with Epstein in 2013, Melinda expressed that she was extremely uncomfortable, according to Vice. Reports have now emerged that towards the end of 2019, in the months following Epstein’s jail cell suicide, Melinda began meeting with divorce lawyers. This came shortly after the New York Times released a report that revealed that the pair might have had a more involved relationship than Bill Gates was letting on, and that they had had numerous meetings over the years— including meetings at Epstein’s New York mansion, according to Vanity Fair.
While the details of Gates’ friendship with the disgraced millionaire are still unclear one thing is certain, the effects of the Epstein case have long lasting consequences— both for the victims and for the perpetrators. While Epstein may be dead and his infamous Palm Beach mansion demolished, this won’t be the last time that his name makes headlines. And it is clear that Jeffrey Epstein will continue to haunt the lives of many of his most powerful friends— forever tying them to one of the most shocking sex trafficking cases in recent history.