Melinda French was less than impressed when her boss asked her out on a date.
It was 1987, and the recent Duke graduate had just joined Microsoft as a product manager. CEO Bill Gates approached her at a company picnic and inquired if she'd be interested in grabbing dinner in two weeks. Business Insider reported her response was, "That's not spontaneous enough for me."
After they were engaged, Bill and Melinda traveled to Africa in late 1993. During the trip, they encountered people in extreme poverty. On a walk on a beach in Zanzibar, Melinda told TED in an interview, the couple "started to talk about" how they might use their fortune to help others.
The couple married in 1994 in what was then Manele Bay Hotel in Hawaii. They tied the knot by the "par-3 12th hole" on the property's golf course, according to Forbes. The event reportedly cost $1 million.
Each of the Gates' kids will inherit about $10 million of their parents' $89.6 billion fortune, while much of the rest will go to charitable causes. "We want to strike a balance where they have the freedom to do anything but not a lot of money showered on them so they could go out and do nothing," Bill told TED.
Melinda has said her relationship with her husband has changed over time. "We've had to change to really be coequals," she said. "It's not something that immediately happens overnight, but we're both committed to it."
"Melinda and I believe that everyone deserves the chance for a healthy and productive life — and so with the help of our amazing partners, we are working to find innovative ways to help people in need all over the world," Bill wrote during one of his Reddit AMAs.