Bill Gates might have had one of the most bizarre arrangements ever during his marriage to Melinda, and it involved his former girlfriend.
After marrying his wife, Bill Gates would spend a long weekend every year at a cozy beach cottage in North Carolina — with his old girlfriend.
The billionaire Microsoft founder made sure the bizarre arrangement was part of the deal when he married Melinda French in 1994, he told Time magazine in a 1997 profile.
“We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” Gates said of his private getaways with fellow nerd techie and ex Ann Winblad.
Gates even sought Winblad’s 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,” he said, adding that Winblad gave the other woman the thumb’s up.
Winblad recalled, “I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina.”
Gates — who announced with Melinda on Twitter on Monday that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage — 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 close pair continued making the yearly jaunt down South together even after breaking up in 1987, when Winblad, who at 70 is five years older than Gates, was reportedly more ready to settle down.
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.”
At the time of the interview, Gates still had a photo in his office of him and Winblad on a trip to Germany, the magazine said.
He also had a snap of him, Melinda and a bunch of pals from a trip to Indonesia in 1995 among the rare personal pictures in his work space.
Gates and Winblad, a software expert and venture capitalist from Seattle, Wash., started off their romance like any other good computer-geek couple — with virtual dates, the outlet said.
They would each be in different cities but go to see the same movie at the same time and then talk about it over the phone.
Bill wasn’t such a big deal when I started dating him,” Winblad recalled to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2005.
“And there was a period of time when my net worth was higher than his, and I had to pay for everything. It was a very short period of time, but it was memorable,” she quipped.
Meanwhile, Gates seemed eager to please Winblad — agreeing to stop eating meat at the time, although he has since fallen back on that stance, Time said.
Gates — who announced with Melinda on Twitter on Monday that they were divorcingafter 27 years of marriage — 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.