The Daily Beast alleged in an exclusive report on Sunday that the Microsoft co-founder confided in Epstein about his “toxic” marriage on a number of occasions between 2011 and 2014, citing two anonymous sources.
“Going to Jeffrey’s was a respite from his marriage. It was a way of getting away from Melinda,” one source, who was purportedly present at several of the meetings, told The Daily Beast.
The outlet also claimed that the men discussed Epstein becoming involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a claim which a spokesperson for Gates has also insisted is false.
A representative for Gates has categorically denied all the allegations, telling the outlet: “Your characterisation of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated.”
The representative added: “Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false.”
The spokesperson for Gates insisted that “Bill never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein — on marriage or anything else. Bill never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein.”
A representative for Melinda Gates did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.
A spokesperson for Gates referred The Independent to a statement given to The New York Times which said: “It is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause, the circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates’s divorce.”
They continued: “The characterisation of his meetings with Epstein and others about philanthropy is inaccurate, including who participated. Similarly, any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false.
“The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’s divorce are becoming increasingly absurd and it’s unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as ‘sources.’”
The multibillionaire philanthropist couple announced last month that they would be pursuing a divorce after almost three decades of marriage, and rumours about their relationship have been swirling ever since.
“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this next life,” the pair said in a joint statement on Twitter announcing their split.
Gates, along with many other high-profile public figures, has faced questions in the past regarding his ties to Epstein. The disgraced financier was arrested in 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking and died by suicide while awaiting trial.
In 2019, The Times reported that Gates had met with Epstein at least three times at his Manhattan townhouse since 2011, five years following Epstein’s guilty plea to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida in 2008.
“I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Gates told The Wall Street Journal of Epstein in September 2019.
The same year, a spokesperson for Gates said: “Gates had absolutely no business partnership or personal friendship with Epstein. Gates never socialised with Epstein or attended parties with him.”
They added: “It’s become clear that Epstein misrepresented the nature of his meetings with Gates while also working to insert himself behind-the-scenes without Gates’s knowledge. Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgement to do so.”
Melinda Gates reportedly met Epstein alongside her husband on one occasion in 2013, according to another report by The Daily Beast, and was staunchly against her then-husband becoming associated with him.
The Journal said earlier this month that Melinda Gates began consulting divorce lawyers in 2019 around the same time the reports of the meetings surfaced.
Additionally, the newspaper revealed over the weekend that the billionaire had previously had an affair at Microsoft almost 20 years ago and that the company conducted an investigation into the allegations in 2019.
Gates is reported to have resigned before the board’s investigation was completed and before the full board could make a formal decision on the matter, a person familiar with the matter told The Journal.
A spokesperson for Gates has acknowledged that “there was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably”.
However, the spokesperson insisted that the “decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier.”
Editor's note: This story has been updated