Bill Gates's ex-wife is anxious to distance herself from Jeffrey Epstein
On Thursday, Melinda French Gates, who is Bill Gates's ex-wife, sat down for an interview with CBS's Gayle King. It was fascinating to see how adamantly and completely Melinda distanced herself from Epstein and the nature of Bill's friendship with him. I couldn't help wondering if she isn't worried about something regarding Bill's relationship with Epstein.
Before the last few months, if I ever thought about Melinda Gates, who was married to Microsoft mogul Bill Gates for 27 years, it was that she was (allegedly) the woman who finally got Gates to bathe and brush his teeth. With the breakup of their marriage, though, it emerged that Bill Gates was not only a compulsive womanizer (not too surprising for a creepy nerd with lots of money), but also a close friend of the late, unlamented Jeffrey Epstein.
King opened the interview by asking Melinda about her husband's affairs and his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, a man of extraordinary moral corruption — but also, apparently, enough charm to be invited everywhere by the "in crowd," even after his conviction for child sex crimes. Perhaps the in-crowd members soothed their consciences by telling themselves Epstein was not a pedophile, which refers to prepubescent children. Instead, he was a cross between a hebephile (likes kids aged 11–14) and an ephebophile (15–16). However, what he did was still illegal and still morally wrong.
In response to King's questions about Gates's sexual escapades, Melinda made it clear that lots of things contributed to the divorce, one of which was Bill Gates's womanizing. Beyond saying she had forgiven Bill for his peccadilloes, Melinda refused to offer any details, saying only that "those are questions Bill needs to answer."
Image: Melinda French Gates. YouTube screen grab.
The most interesting part of the interview (of course) was about Bill's friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. When the story broke last May, the world learned that this was a very close friendship. Bill was often at Epstein's New York townhouse, crying on his friend's shoulder about his "toxic" marriage to Melinda. Bill and his P.R. people, as was to be expected, have tried to paint this friendship as an "intellectual salon" kind of thing that had absolutely nothing to do with Epstein's predilections for underage girls.
Maybe Bill's spin about his relationship with Epstein is entirely accurate. However, I couldn't help but notice how desperate Melinda was to disconnect herself from Epstein. When King asked Melinda if Bill's friendship with Epstein played a role in the breakup, the latter agreed, and again emphasized that "as I said, it's not one thing; it was many things." It was unclear if she meant many things involving Epstein (as in he and Bill were more than just friends), or many things other than Epstein.
Of Epstein himself, Melinda had this to say:
I did not like that [Bill] had meetings with Jeffrey Epstein, though. ... I made that clear to him. I also met Jeffrey Epstein, exactly one time because I wanted to see who this man was, and I 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 'cause that's how I felt and here I'm an older woman. My God! I feel terrible for those young women. He was awful.
Wow! That is an incredibly strong response to meeting a person just one time. And again, most people seem to have found him charming, for he was welcomed everywhere in society.
There seem to me to be three reasons for the strong reaction Melinda describes: (1) she knew he was a convicted sex criminal, and that colored her view about him; (2) he really was a grotesque, awful figure; or (3) she wants to distance herself as much as possible from Jeffrey Epstein should her relationship with him ever end up in court.
It's that third supposition that has my imagination going. Did Melinda consent to this interview to put her spin about Epstein in the public? And was she anxious to get it to the public because she has reason to believe that something bad is coming down the pike?
I have no idea if there's any support for my musings. I just know that when I saw the very private Melinda willing to expose her personal life to Gayle King, and then emphasizing her powerful, intuitive revulsion to Epstein...well, it just struck me as strange. And whenever things are strange, my imagination provides a narrative.
Moreover, since I find Gates a very creepy person who was a brutal businessman, a bad husband, and a bad selector of friends, and who is currently someone who believes that his wealth gives him the right to start controlling people's lives and bodily autonomy, I'm always willing to think the worst of him.