Bill and Melinda Gates have announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage, saying “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the pair wrote on Twitter.

They first met in the 1980s when Melinda joined Bill’s Microsoft firm. 

They have three children and jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“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 the next phase of our lives. 

“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”