Ever since they announced their split, many have wondered why Bill Gates and Melinda Gates divorced. Well, it didn’t take long before social media users began speculating that a third party was to blame for the end of their 27-year marriage. A woman who works for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was accused of splitting up the pair—and now, she has reportedly shared her response to those rumors.
Zhe “Shelly” Wang, who works as an interpreter for the pair’s foundation, purportedly took to Chinese social media site Weibo to deny any speculation that she was the driving force behind Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce. “I thought that the rumors would go away by themselves, but I did not expect the rumors to become more and more crazily spread,” Wang wrote, as per Page Six. “How many books can I read, so why spend time on the unfounded rumors? I would like to thank everyone for their concern and help in dispelling the rumors through private messages in the past 24 hours,” she added, before concluding her post with “#Gates divorce, some vicious people rumor to vilify an innocent Chinese girl.”
According to her (now-disabled) LinkedIn profile, Zhe “Shelly” Wang has worked as an interpreter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since March 2015. Prior to that, the polyglot worked as an interpreter at TED Conferences, where she oversaw a team that worked to translate events into Chinese, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Korean, and Japanese. Wang also has ties to academia, having worked at the Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School after graduating with a master’s degree in translation and interpretation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in 2013.
While it remains unclear if infidelity actually played a role in the breakdown of their marriage, Bill and Melinda did note that their decision to divorce came after lots of “work” to try to mend their relationship. “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the pair announced in a joint statement on Monday, May 3. “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.”
They continued, “We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.” The pair, who share kids Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 19, ended their statement with a request for “space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”