NEW YORK, NY – Melinda French Gates, the ex-wife of Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, said in a recent interview that her husband’s relationship with “evil personified” sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was one of the many factors that contributed to their divorce after 27 years of marriage, which was finalized in August 2021.
While speaking with Gayle King on “CBS Mornings” on Thursday, French Gates, 57, said that she did not approve of her husband’s meetings with Epstein, but agreed to meet with the sex offender “exactly one time” in order to judge who he was for herself.
“I did not like that he had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein, no. I made that clear to [Bill],” she said. “I regretted it the second I walked in the door. He was abhorrent. He was evil personified. My heart breaks for these women.”
Epstein, a disgraced U.S. financier and convicted sex offender, who committed suicide in 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting federal sex-trafficking charges involving minors, was alleged to have been extensively involved in the sexual exploitation of women and underage girls.
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Other reasons that French Gates cited for contributing to her divorce included alleged infidelities on the part of her husband with an employee.
Gates, 66, issued a statement after his ex-wife’s interview, stating that he had a “working relationship” with Epstein that he now realizes was a huge faux pas.
“Meeting with Epstein was a mistake that I regret deeply,” said the billionaire tech tycoon. “It was a substantial error in judgment.”
Epstein had managed to entice a number of rich and powerful men into his circle; however, according to a 2021 New York Times report, Gates began his relationship with Epstein after he had pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2008 by a Florida state court of procuring a child for prostitution, unlike others who steered clear at that point.
“Beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions – including at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night,” the article says. “Employees of Mr. Gates’ foundation also paid multiple visits to Mr. Epstein’s mansion. And Mr. Epstein spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund – an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Mr. Epstein.”