News

Bill Gates took getaways with his ex-girlfriend

Bill Gates took getaways with his ex-girlfriend

Bill Gates took getaways with his ex-girlfriend

After marrying his wife, Bill Gates would spend a long weekend every year at a cozy beach cottage in North Carolina — with his old girlfriend.

The billionaire Microsoft founder made sure the bizarre arrangement was part of the deal when he married Melinda French in 1994, he told Time magazine in a 1997 profile.

“We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” Gates said of his private getaways with fellow nerd techie and ex Ann Winblad — Winblad — who is now happily married to actor Kevin Kline’s detective brother, Alex Kline, a source told The Post on Tuesday.

Gates even sought Winblad’s approval before proposing to his wife.

“When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval,” he said, adding that Winblad gave the other woman the thumb’s up.

Winblad recalled, “I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina.”

Ann Winblad and Bill Gates took take yearly trips to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, even after their break up.

Gates — who announced with Melinda on Twitter on Monday that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage — revealed that he and Winblad started taking an annual trip to his ex’s Outer Banks home when they began dating in 1984 after meeting at a computer conference.

Ann Winblad is a software expert and venture capitalist from Seattle, Washington.

Ann Winblad is a software expert and venture capitalist from Seattle, Washington.

The close pair continued making the yearly jaunt down South together even after breaking up in 1987, when Winblad, who at 70 is five years older than Gates, was reportedly more ready to settle down.

Bill Gates and Ann Winblad began dating — virtually — in 1984.
Bill Gates and Ann Winblad began dating — virtually — in 1984.
Getty Images
The secluded trips involved everything from riding dune buggies to hang-gliding and quiet strolls on the beach.

“We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,” Winblad told the mag.

“And we marvel about how, as two young overachievers, we began a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and it landed us at the center of an amazing universe.”

At the time of the interview, Gates still had a photo in his office of him and Winblad on a trip to Germany, the magazine said.

He also had a snap of him, Melinda and a bunch of pals from a trip to Indonesia in 1995 among the rare personal pictures in his work space.

Gates and Winblad, a software expert and venture capitalist from Seattle, Wash., started off their romance like any other good computer-geek couple — with virtual dates, the outlet said.

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates married in 1994.

They would each be in different cities but go to see the same movie at the same time and then talk about it over the phone.

Meanwhile, Gates seemed eager to please Winblad — agreeing to stop eating meat at the time, although he has since fallen back on that stance, Time said.

And she was in awe of his drive and confidence.

After they started dating, “Bill and I went for a walk on a beach, and Bill tells me, ‘I can see my way, if I really squint, to $500 million in revenue,” Winblad told the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2013.

That amount was at least five times more than what any software company was doing at the time, the outlet noted.

During their trips, Ann Winblad recalled her and Bill Gates reading biology textbooks and listening to tapes together on physics.
During their trips, Ann Winblad recalled her and Bill Gates reading biology textbooks and listening to tapes on the topic of physics.
Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS/VCG via Getty Images
“Bill was a great influence on me, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, you can actually build a company that big in the software industry? Are you kidding me?’” Winblad said.

“I remember making him take a stick or a rock and drawing the numbers out on the sand for me. How was he going to get there? He then said, ‘What troubles me is I can’t see how I am going to get past $500 million.’

“I thought, ‘You’re troubled about that?’” Winblad recalled. “I was jazzed that someone could think their way through to $500 million. There was a lot of inspiration from each other back then because there was so little collective wisdom.”

She also revealed another time when the pair went to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico for a spur-of-the-moment weekend.

“We got there, and it was hard to get a rental car, so when we finally got one, it was like this beat-up old Volkswagen, and it was Spring Break,” Winblad told Wired in 1996.

“So we get a hotel. It’s a sh—y hotel, but that’s fine because we’re doing this on a whim, and it’s part of the adventure. I leave Bill outside while I check in.

“Well, I go outside and I say, ‘Where’s the car?’ He goes, ‘I sublet it.’ He rented the car to some teenagers for five dollars a day!” Winblad said.”He gave them the car keys and says, ‘We’re in room whatever. Just knock on the door and give us the keys back.’

“Sort of like ‘I’m Bill Gates; here’s the rental car; here are the keys to our room.’ I’m going, ‘We’re never going to see that car again. These are teenage boys.’

“He says, ‘You’re probably right.’ … We finally got it back at about two in the morning, and it was all in one piece.”

When the then-couple journeyed to Brazil, Gates brought with him a 1,100-page textbook on molecular biology — and the duo studied it together, Time said.

During a trip to a ranch in Santa Barbara, Calif., Winblad toted along tapes of famed physicist Richard Feynman so they could listen to them.

Gates, interviewed for the same piece, gushed that his former girlfriend “brings a sense of enjoyment and humor to even the most serious situations.

“Her professional approach reminds me a lot of Warren Buffett. She is incredibly smart,” said Gates, a longtime friend of billionaire Berkshire Hathaway founder Buffett.

He talked about his and Winblad’s shared love of travel.

“One of my favorite trips with Ann occurred when we went to Santa Barbara for a week and got tons of movies from a university library to learn more about biotechnology,” Gates said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button