Bill Gates spotted wearing his wedding ring as he makes first public appearance since shock divorce announcement

BILL Gates was spotted still wearing his wedding ring as he was seen out in public for the first time on Saturday since announcing his shock divorce from wife Melinda after 27 years.

The Microsoft founder, 65, was pictured leaving the Greenwich Hotel in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood earlier this afternoon.

Despite Gates and Melinda announcing their separation earlier this month citing "irreconcilable" differences, the tech guru was noticeably seen still donning his wedding band.

Dressed in a gray polo shirt, navy pants, black shoes and with a sweater tied around his waist, Gates was seen wearing a face mask as he got into the back of a white SUV.

Following closely behind was his daughter Phoebe, 18, and her boyfriend, Chaz Flynn.

The trio was earlier pictured with a handful of associates stepping off of a private jet after landing at Newark Airport in New Jersey on Friday.

Sporting an uncharacteristic stubble, Gates was pictured smiling alongside his daughter with his high-profile divorce proceedings seemingly far from his mind.

Prior to his arrival in the Big Apple, Gates was thought to be holed up at an exclusive California golf resort where he owns a $12.5 million mansion.

He has maintained an incredibly low profile since he and Melinda announced their split on May 3.

In the weeks since, the billionaire has been rocked by claims of inappropriate behavior at Microsoft, including a years-long "inappropriate" extramarital affair and hitting on numerous staffers.

Serious questions have also been raised about the nature of his alleged friendship with the late shamed financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Reports by the Daily Beast and New York Times claimed that Gates and Epstein met up numerous times between 2011 and 2014.

One source claimed that Gates even confided in Epstein about his "toxic" marriage to Melinda.

However, in a statement to The Sun, a representative for Gates called the reports "inaccurate."

"Any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false," the spokesperson said while disputing the number of times the pair met.

"Bill never received or solicited personal advice of any kind from Epstein— on marriage or anything else. Bill never complained about Melinda or his marriage to Epstein."

"The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’ divorce are becoming increasingly absurd and it’s unfortunate that people who have little to no knowledge of the situation are being characterized as 'sources.'”

Reports also suggested that Melinda Gates first voiced her discomfort to her husband about his relationship with Epstein in 2013.

It came after the couple had dinner with Epstein inside his Manhattan townhouse. She reportedly found the financier "creepy."

Gates' ties to Epstein emerged in October 2019, just months after the financier was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell ahead of his trial for child sex trafficking.

It was around the same time that Melinda Gates first reached out to divorce attorneys, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Gates hasn't been seen publicly since his divorce announcement, save for an appearance during a virtual event with the US Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Much like his Saturday sighting, Gates also wore his wedding ring as he spoke during the event about lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve learned a lot that will help us for the next pandemic and by making some investments in [research and development]," Gates said

"Then having factories available, having surveillance and a big team of experts on a global basis, we will next time handle something like this without anywhere near the damage that we had to go through."

It's unclear which of his homes Gates was speaking from, but he's understood to have been staying at the exclusive golf complex The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, California, for the last three months. 

Melinda, meanwhile, is yet to been seen publicly.

In her petition for divorce, Melinda said that her relationship was "irretrievably broken" and said the couple had settled on a plan to divide their assets up outside the courtroom.

“We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives," they wrote in a joint statement. "We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this next life."

It was revealed last week that Gates had a sexual relationship with a female Microsoft worker that began in 2000.

While the length of the affair remains unclear, it stayed secret until 2019 when the woman wrote a letter to the board detailing the fling and demanded that Melinda read it.

The company investigated the women's claims and deemed the relationship "inappropriate."

While the probe was still ongoing, Gates stepped down from the board in March 2020.

A spokesperson for Gates confirmed to The Sun last week that Gates did have an affair and that the extramarital relationship "ended amicably."

They also denied that his resignation from the board was linked to the investigation into the relationship.

Gates is also said to have pursued several women at Microsoft and at the foundation he founded with Melinda.

Two of such alleged instances were detailed by the New York Times last week.

In one instance, the billionaire was said to have asked out a female employee to dinner in 2006 after watching her give a presentation.

"If this makes you uncomfortable, pretend it never happened," he told her in an email.

The woman said she took Gates' advice and ignored the invitation.

Around two years later, he also allegedly made a pass at an employee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"I want to see you. Will you have dinner with me?" he reportedly asked her through hush tones during a fundraising event.

The woman said the proposition made her uncomfortable and she laughed it off to avoid answering.

It's unclear whether Melinda was aware of her husband's advances on other women prior to them being reported publicly last week. She hasn't yet commented on the matter.

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