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Before Bill and Melinda Gates tied the knot in 1994, they reportedly had an arrangement that he could take his ex-girlfriend on an annual weekend getaway.

Bill and entrepreneur Ann Winblad started dating in 1984. They broke up in 1987, according to a Time magazine profile on Bill Gates.

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"Even now, Gates has an arrangement with his wife that he and Winblad (pictured left) can keep one vacation tradition alive," Walter Isaacson wrote in 1997. "Every spring, as they have for more than a decade, Gates spends a long weekend with Winblad at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they ride dune buggies, hang-glide and walk on the beach."

Bill told Isaacson they spent time studying biotechnology, bioengineering and science. Bill said they played "putt-putt while discussing biotechnology.

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Winblad, pictured in this photo dated 1984, said she and Bill would "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."

While on vacation in Brazil, Bill and Winblad reportedly studied bioengineering, and James' Watson's textbook, Molecular Biology of the Gene.

While in Santa Barbara, California, they listened to tapes Winblad recorded of American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman's lectures at Cornell.

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They were so close that after they broke up Bill asked for her approval to marry Melinda (pictured).

Winblad approved of their union, telling Bill that Melinda would be a "good match" because "she had intellectual stamina."

Bill and Melinda wed on New Year's Day 1994, and together they committed to fighting poverty, disease and inequity around the world.

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They announced their divorce on Tuesday, May 4. Melinda stated their marriage was "irretrievably broken."

The couple's three grown children will inherit less than 1% of their parents' $130 billion fortune.

The couple have pledged to donate at least half of their wealth to charitable causes.

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Bill and Melinda Gates have filed for divorce after 27 years of marriage. The billionaire couple announced the divorce in a tweet on Bill Gates' Twitter page on Monday, May 3.

Gates, 65, who is worth a reported $130 billion, and Melinda, 56, started dating in 1987 after meeting at a trade show in New York, WENN.com reported. They wed on New Year's Day in 1994. She is a former general manager of Microsoft.

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"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," a joint 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."

Bill Gates, is best known as chairman and CEO of Microsoft, which he co-founded with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975.

Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in January 2000 to work full-time at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The foundation has been criticized for its fight to end transmissible diseases such AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by injecting children with experimental vaccines in third world countries.

The foundation has donated at least $1.75 billion in the fight against the coronavirus. Most of the funding has gone toward producing vaccines.

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