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The couple has three children - Rory John Gates, Jennifer Katharine Gates, Phoebe Adele Gates. Jennifer, 22, is the eldest, Phoebe is 18 years old and Rory is 22 years old.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," they said.
The statement said they would continue their joint work on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the massive charity which funds programs in global health, gender equality, education and other causes.
"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."