A meeting between Bill and Melinda Gates and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in 2013 left Melinda upset at the relationship between her husband and the financier, as reported by The Daily Beast on Thursday.
Sources told the outlet that her soon-to-be ex-husband’s friendship with Epstein — who had already pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in 2008 when the two struck up a relationship in 2011 —”still haunts” Melinda, according to The Beast.
According to the outlet, the couple met with Epstein in New York City at his Upper East Side mansion in September 2013. Sources told The Beast that soon after the meeting, Melinda told friends of her discomfort during the encounter. Several people close to the couple told The Beast she was “furious” over her husband’s relationship with Epstein.
Gates’ ties to Epstein were first reported by The New York Times in late 2019 following Epstein’s death by suicide in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was being held pre-trial. Epstein had been charged with multiple counts related to sex trafficking underage women in July of 2019.
Gates was among many several high-profile figures who faced backlash over ties to Epstein following the sex offender’s July 2019 arrest, but among the billionaires, politicians, and royals who parlayed with Epstein, Gates was rare in that he began his relationship with the financier after Epstein had already been convicted of sex crimes, according to The Times.
The Times reported that Gates and Epstein met multiple times from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, Gates rode on Epstein’s private jet from New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to the outlet, though Gates had previously denied he’d ever traveled with Epstein in a 2019 interview with The Wall Street Journal.
“I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Gates told The Journal. “I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. 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.”
The two men’s relationship appeared to cool in the fall of 2014, according to The Beast, following a $2 million donation to MIT’s Media Lab by Gates that the lab’s former director claimed was facilitated by Epstein. (A spokesperson for Gates denied this claim to The Journal: “Although Epstein pursued Bill Gates aggressively, any account of a business partnership or personal relationship between the two is simply not true. And any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false.”)
According to The Times, Epstein had soon after complained to an acquaintance that Gates had stopped speaking to him.
This week, Bill and Melinda announced they were separating 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,” the two said in a statement on Twitter on Monday. “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 Beast reported Thursday that financial and public relations specialists had been working on specifics of the duo’s split “for weeks,” before the announcement.
Gates and Melinda married in 1994 and have three children together. They also set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together.
A representative for the couple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.