Inside the marriage of Bill and Melinda Gates, who met at work, live in a $124 million home, and will leave their children only a small fraction of their fortune

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Bill and Melinda Gates Scott Olson/Getty Images Melinda Gates didn't think her future husband was "spontaneous" enough, at first.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates married Melinda French in 1994.

• They met at Microsoft when Melinda was brought on a product manager - she initially turned down Bill's request for a date at a company picnic.

• Today, they run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation , which has an endowment of $40.3 billion .


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."

Flash forward three decades, and Bill and Melinda Gates are married with three kids, worth $89.6 billion , and run a namesake philanthropic enterprise boasting a $40.3 billion endowment .

Here's a look inside their 23-year marriage:

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"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 on one of his Reddit AMAs.

"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 on one of his Reddit AMAs.

Source: Reddit

Today, Bill has said he and Melinda work as partners at the foundation. The couple both received Presidential Medals of Freedom in 2016 from US President Barack Obama for their efforts.

Today, Bill has said he and Melinda work as partners at the foundation. The couple both received Presidential Medals of Freedom in 2016 from US President Barack Obama for their efforts.

Source: Business Insider, White House

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who is close with the Gates, discussed their relationship with Fortune, saying that Bill is "smart as hell, obviously ... but in terms of seeing the whole picture, [Melinda's] smarter."

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who is close with the Gates, discussed their relationship with Fortune, saying that Bill is "smart as hell, obviously ... but in terms of seeing the whole picture, [Melinda's] smarter."

Source: Fortune, Business Insider

Melinda has said her relationship with her husband has changed over time: "We've had to change to really be coequals. It's not something that immediately happens overnight, but we're both committed to it."

Melinda has said her relationship with her husband has changed over time: "We've had to change to really be coequals. It's not something that immediately happens overnight, but we're both committed to it."

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

The Gates kids will each inherit around $10 million of their parents' $89.6 billion fortune — 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.

The Gates kids will each inherit around $10 million of their parents' $89.6 billion fortune
 — 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.

Source: Business Insider, TED.com, Bankrate.com

Bill and Melinda would read books from a range of genres to their kids as they grew up, from "Guess How Much I Love You" to "Fahrenheit 451."

Bill and Melinda would read books from a range of genres to their kids as they grew up, from "Guess How Much I Love You" to "Fahrenheit 451."

Source: Business Insider

Bill told Rolling Stone the children have been raised in Melinda's Catholic faith, saying, "We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in."

Bill told Rolling Stone the children have been raised in Melinda's Catholic faith, saying, "We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in."

Source: Rolling Stone

The couple has raised two daughters and a son together — and reportedly didn't let any of them own a cell phone until they were 14, according to BGR.

The couple has raised two daughters and a son together — and reportedly didn't let any of them own a cell phone until they were 14, according to BGR.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, BGR

The following year, the couple's lavish home — nicknamed "Xanadu 2.0" — was completed in Medina, Washington. The mansion was estimated to be worth $124 million as of 2016.

The following year, the couple's lavish home — nicknamed "Xanadu 2.0" — was completed in Medina, Washington. The mansion was estimated to be worth $124 million as of 2016.

Source: Business Insider, The Economic Times

In order to keep the wedding private, Bill booked all the rooms in the hotel, along with all of the helicopters on the island of Maui to "prevent unwanted visitors from flying over," Forbes reported.

In order to keep the wedding private, Bill booked all the rooms in the hotel, along with all of the helicopters on the island of Maui to "prevent unwanted visitors from flying over," Forbes reported.

Source: Business Insider, EasyWeddings.com, Forbes

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.

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.

Source: Business Insider, EasyWeddings.com, Forbes, People Magazine, Business Insider

After they became engaged, Bill and Melinda traveled to Africa in the fall of 1993. During the trip, they encountered extreme poverty. On a walk on a beach in Zanzibar, Melinda told TED the couple "started to talk about" how they might use their fortune to help others.

After they became engaged, Bill and Melinda traveled to Africa in the fall of 1993. During the trip, they encountered extreme poverty. On a walk on a beach in Zanzibar, Melinda told TED the couple "started to talk about" how they might use their fortune to help others.

Source: TED.com, Business Insider

"I was definitely attracted to his brilliant mind, but beyond that, his curiosity," she told Fortune. "And he has a huge sense of fun. I love that wry side of him."

"I was definitely attracted to his brilliant mind, but beyond that, his curiosity," she told Fortune. "And he has a huge sense of fun. I love that wry side of him."

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

"When I look back, Bill was the same kind of guy I was hanging out with in college. I had a lot of respect for them, and they had respect for me," Melinda told Fortune.

"When I look back, Bill was the same kind of guy I was hanging out with in college. I had a lot of respect for them, and they had respect for me," Melinda told Fortune.

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

But the couple didn't listen. Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback reported they simply "kept a low profile at work and asked colleagues and family members to respect their privacy."

But the couple didn't listen. Business Insider's Tanza Loudenback reported they simply "kept a low profile at work and asked colleagues and family members to respect their privacy."

Source: Business Insider, Seattle Times, Business Insider

Melinda and Bill dated for seven years before they wed. Melinda told Fortune her mom didn't think seeing the CEO was a good idea, in the beginning.

Melinda and Bill dated for seven years before they wed. Melinda told Fortune her mom didn't think seeing the CEO was a good idea, in the beginning.

Source: Business Insider, Fortune

Instead, he called her up later that night with a wry question: "Is this spontaneous enough for you?" Turns out, it was.

Instead, he called her up later that night with a wry question: "Is this spontaneous enough for you?" Turns out, it was.

Source: Business Insider

At the picnic, Melinda did give Bill her number and told him to call her closer to the day he had in mind.

At the picnic, Melinda did give Bill her number and told him to call her closer to the day he had in mind.

Source: Business Insider

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