Bill Gates, who on Tuesday, announced his divorce from Melinda Gates, had in an interview in 1997 said that he took annual vacations with his ex-girlfriend, software entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ann Winblad, even after his marriage. It is, however, not ascertained if the tradition still stands. The founders of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation filed for divorce on May 3. They said that hey have come to an agreement on how to split their assets.
Bill Gates and ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad met in 1984 at a Ben Rosen-Esther Dyson computer conference. Gates and Winblad broke up in 1987 because she was five years older and was more ready for marriage, stated the Time article from 1997. Even after his marriage to Melinda, Gates and Winblad had an arrangement that they could keep one vacation tradition alive. For more than a decade till the article was published, Gates would spend a long weekend with Winblad at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. They would ride dune buggies, hang-glide and walk on the beach.
Elaborating that they are kindred spirits, Gates told the magazine that they could play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology. "We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves. 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 centre of an amazing universe," Winblad had said.
The duo had previously -- before Gates' marriage -- gone to Brazil for vacation where they studied bioengineering together. In yet another vacation to a Santa Barbara ranch in California, they took tapes of Richard Feynman's lectures and studied physics. They learned about human evolution, helped by anthropologist Donald Johanson, in an excursion in Zanzibar. In each trip they would go to the beach with other couples for bonfires and games and a tradition called the sing-down -- where each team would be given a word and they would have to come up with songs that feature that word. So after his marriage, the two reached an agreement with Melinda that they could both take an annual vacation to keep up the tradition.
Winblad had even persuaded him to stop eating meat for a few years. He abandoned the experiment a few years later.
Bill Gates, before marrying Melinda, sought Ann Winblad's approval. She gave her approval. "I said she'd be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina," said Winblad as mentioned in the report.