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Although Melinda, 56, and , 65, announced the end of their 27 years of marriage earlier this month, a spokesperson for the co-founder of the software company confirmed on Sunday, May 16, that he had an affair with an employee “almost 20 years ago” that “ended amicably.”

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OK! recently learned that Gates “developed a reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings,” with him allegedly pursuing women who worked at both Microsoft and at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — which he founded in 2000 with his estranged wife.

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Meanwhile, the company was allegedly of his misconduct, as an insider explained: “There definitely were steps taken along the way with Microsoft at various times based on his behavior.”

While of his alleged affair may be shocking, his interest in the woman he worked with shouldn’t come as a surprise — Melinda began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987, and the former flames began their romance after first meeting at a work dinner.

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A spokesperson for Bill has since slammed “the claim of mistreatment of employees,” calling it “extremely disappointing” and false. They added that there have been “many untruths published” about Bill in light of his divorce. 

“Any claim that Gates spoke of his marriage or Melinda in a disparaging manner is false,” the rep insisted. “The rumors and speculation surrounding Gates’s 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.’”

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Despite Bill’s insistence on these false claims, a recent Wall Street Journal report alleged Bill stepped down from the Microsoft board last year due to his alleged affair with a staffer, which prompted an investigation. Bill resigned in 2020 before the investigation concluded, but his rep told the outlet: “his decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter.”

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Bill and Melinda announced their split on May 3 via a statement to Twitter. At the time, they said they would continue to work together as part of their foundation, but they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

And while the world was blindsided by their split, the co-parents’ inner-circle apparently saw it coming. An insider told PEOPLE, who reported that Melinda knew of some in her estranged husband’s , that Bill “could have treated Melinda better.”

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In Melinda’s divorce filing, she did not request spousal or child support. Since they did not sign a prenuptial agreement, their assets will reportedly be split according to a separation agreement. The former flames share children Jennifer, 25, and Phoebe, 18, and son Rory, 21.

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