Billionaire Bill Gates is once again expressing regret for associating with deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein – a purported factor in the unraveling of his marriage with Melinda French Gates.
Gates, 66, has admitted to having “several dinners” with Epstein in the early 2010s. The Microsoft co-founder said he participated in the meetings while attempting to raise money for the Gates Foundation – though Epstein already had a 2008 conviction on a charge of soliciting prostitution from minors when the dinners took place.
“At the time, I didn’t realize that by having those meetings it would be seen as giving him credibility. You’re almost saying, ‘I forgive that type of behavior,’ or something,” Gates said in an interview with The Times. “So clearly the way it’s seen, I made a huge mistake not understanding that.”
Last fall, Gates said Epstein had purported to have ties with potential donors for the Gates Foundation’s global health initiatives. But Gates said the dinners “didn’t result in what he purported and I cut them off.”
Gates admitted the meetings were an error in judgement during a lengthy interview with The Times that also addressed the state of the billionaire’s life following the conclusion of his 27-year marriage.
During the interview, Gates declined to answer a question about whether he had been unfaithful prior to their divorce. Reports that Gates engaged in inappropriate relationships with subordinates at Microsoft have sparked an ongoing investigation at the tech giant.
Gates also said that he still considers his ex-wife to be a “friend” – though she declined to use the same word to describe their current relationship during an interview earlier this year.
“I’m also grieving the same way she is,” Gates said. “Yes. You know, we grew up together. When I got married, yeah, Microsoft was a big deal.”
“But I was a young 38-year-old and she was a mature 28-year old [when they married], and over those next few years, in terms of what we learnt together, what went well, what didn’t go well… I mean, that’s more than half my adult life.
“And so, yes, you’re very used to going home and saying, ‘Oh, I did this well,’ or, ‘Oh, I did this poorly,’ or, ‘Oh, I called this person the wrong name.’ We did a lot together,” he added.
French Gates revealed her views over her ex-husband’s past decision to meet with Epstein during an interview with “CBS Mornings” in March.
French Gates said she met with Epstein just one time and “regretted it from the second I stepped in the door.”
“He was abhorrent. He was evil personified. I had nightmares about it afterwards. So my heart breaks for these young women,” French Gates told CBS’ Gayle King.
French Gates also acknowledged that the meetings played a role in their eventual separation and divorce.
“It was many things. But I did not like that he’d had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein,” French Gates said. “I made that clear to him.”
Epstein committed suicide in prison in 2019 Epstein while he awaited trial on federal sex trafficking charges.