Melinda French Gates Was Never a Fan of Mansion She Shared with Ex Bill, and Is Enjoying Her New Home

The philanthropist and mother of three is reflecting on life since her 2021 divorce

<p>ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty</p> Melinda French Gates


Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates is coming into her own.

In a new profile published by Time on Tuesday, June 18, the philanthropist, 59, and former wife to Microsoft founder Bill Gates opened up about life since their 2021 divorce.

According to French Gates, she prefers the simplicity of her new residence over the opulence of her past home, which she shared with her ex-husband, 68, and their three children.

<p>Paula Lobo/Getty</p> Jennifer Gates Nassar, Melinda French Gates and Phoebe Gates, 2023

Paula Lobo/Getty

Jennifer Gates Nassar, Melinda French Gates and Phoebe Gates, 2023

Related: Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates Celebrate Daughter Jennifer’s 28th Birthday

“I live in a neighborhood. Now I can walk to little stores. I can walk to the drugstore, I can walk to a restaurant,” she told the outlet. “I absolutely love it.”

The couple filed for divorce in May 2021 after 27 years of marriage.

In her interview with Time, French Gates said the COVID-19 pandemic played an important role in their split.

<p>Brian Ach/Getty</p> Melinda Gates and Bill Gates, September 2013

Brian Ach/Getty

Melinda Gates and Bill Gates, September 2013

"It gave us the privacy to do what needed to be done in private," she told the magazine. "You know, I separated first before I made the full decision about a divorce. And to be able to do that in private while I’m still trying to take care of the kids, while still making certain decisions about how you’re going to disentangle your life — thank God.”

Related: Melinda French Gates Opens Up About 'Unbelievably Painful' Divorce: 'I Just Couldn't Stay in That Marriage'

She also discussed her plans moving forward — which includes celebrating her 60th birthday in August.

“I feel like, ‘Wow, I’m 60. I better surround myself with people and still travel [so that] I’m still absolutely learning, because the world is moving, the world is changing,’ ” the former multimedia product developer explained. “I’m totally unencumbered to work in any way I want.”

<p>Lisa Lake/Getty Images</p> Melinda French Gates, May 2024

Lisa Lake/Getty Images

Melinda French Gates, May 2024

And as a legally single woman, French Gates says "of course" she’s ready to meet "someone new."

She got candid about the qualities she’s looking for as well.

According to French Gates, she’s interested in somebody "who’s open to learning and who’s vibrant, and who’s smart, and somebody who challenges me and that I challenge.”

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During the conversation, she also talked about her resignation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her final day with the organization came on June 7.

“I thought a lot about my three children,” she says. “But I certainly thought about the effect on the foundation. Those are the three biggest buckets: me, the kids, and the foundation. And I wanted to make sure that when we came through it to the other side — when I came through it on my side — all of those pieces were intact,” French Gates told Time.

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