Bill Gates reportedly told his golfing mates that his relationship was over, before breaking the news on social media.
Long before announcing his divorce to Melinda Gates to the public, the Microsoft founder is said to have shared with his golf friends that theirs was a "loveless" marriage.
"Bill did talk to his close friends on the golf course," a source told the New York Post.
"He told them a while back that the marriage was loveless, that it had been over for some time and they were living separate lives."
Golf has played a massive part in Gates' life. He married his now ex-wife next to the par-3, 12th hole on the golf course at the Manele Bay Hotel in Hawaii.
As the divorce continues to generate headlines, the business magnate is also reportedly spending some time at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, California, billed as one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the US.
According to the New York Post, Melinda Gates struggled to accept that divorce was the right decision for the couple, due to her strong Roman Catholic faith.
"She wants to get an annulment from the Vatican following the civil divorce, I'm told," a source told the paper.
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce last week but, according to the Wall Street Journal, they had been consulting divorce lawyers since 2019.
They have three adult children together.
In a joint statement posted on Twitter, they announced that they "no longer believe [they] can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives".
Friendship with Jeffrey Epstein allegedly broke Gates marriage
It seems that the split between Bill and Melinda Gates has been looming for some time, with new reports revealing Melinda Gates contacted divorce lawyers two years ago about separating from her billionaire husband.
The 56-year-old has reportedly been in contact with several law firms since 2019 regarding her marriage to Bill, with people familiar with the matter and documents revealing Melinda Gates said the couple's relationship was "irretrievably broken", according to the Wall Street Journal.
While the couple haven't announced what prompted their split, a former employee of their charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told the WSJ that Melinda Gates had concerns about her husband's interactions with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The publication claimed her concerns about Gates' dealings with the financier dated as far back as 2013 when the couple met Epstein.
The former employee told the WSJ the Microsoft founder continued his relationship with Epstein despite Melinda telling her husband she was uncomfortable with the man.
Epstein died in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial for multiple sex-trafficking charges.
In 2019, the New York Times reported that Bill Gates had met with Epstein on multiple occasions and once stayed late into the night at his Manhattan townhouse.
It is understood Melinda Gates held a number of calls with lawyers in October 2019 following the New York Times report.
That same year, Bridgitt Arnold, a spokesperson for Gates, said he "regrets" his meetings with Epstein, which were reportedly to discuss philanthropy.
"Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognises it was an error in judgment to do so," Arnold said at the time.