Why Melinda Gates will probably let Bill Gates keep his dream ‘Xanadu 2’ mansion and move to smaller house

Melinda Gates is likely going to let Bill Gates keep his dream home on the shores of Lake Washington as she’s previously expressed doubts about the home as well as her wish to live in a smaller home.

Ms Gates told The New York Times Magazine in 2019: “We won’t have that house forever. I’m actually really looking forward to the day that Bill and I live in a 1,500-square foot house.” The Times revisited the question of who will continue living in the mansion on Wednesday.

The mansion has been nicknamed “Xanadu 2.0” by Mr Gates’s biographers and is a reference to the film Citizen Kane and Mr Gates’s technological achievements. The property measures 66.000 square feet and is located in Medina, just across from downtown Seattle in Washington state. The estate has been valued at around $131m.

The couple announced their divorce on Monday.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” Mr and Mrs Gates wrote in a statement they both posted on Twitter.

According to Forbes, the couple is worth $124bn. Following the split, Ms Gates could become the world’s second-richest woman.

The New York Times wrote in 1995 that the home included a 60-foot pool, a gym with walls of stone from a mountain peak, a trampoline room, and a stream for fish like salmon and trout.

The Gates family have been staunchly private concerning the mansion. At a charity auction in 2009, a tour of the estate went for $35,000, and the family owns surrounding areas of land, making it difficult to walk by to have a look.

In 2007, an intern wrote about his visit to “one of the four annual intern BBQs hosted by Bill Gates at his house”.

He wrote that the 265 other interns had to be screened “airport-style for anything we weren’t supposed to bring” such as cameras, cell phones, and pens.

“Going down Bill’s driveway is like arriving at Jurassic Park. The driveway is long, windy, goes steeply down, and is just covered in plant life,” the intern added.

He wrote that the “whole house is built out of this beautiful orangey wood” and that the home includes a movie theatre.

Calling the landscaping “insane,” the intern went on to write that it looked like the grass had been cut with “scissors”.

“We were pretty much given free roam of the place, so we checked out his dock, his beach (with sand imported from Hawaii), hot tub, and boat,” he added.

Ms Gates said that the mansion caused her to experience a “mini sort of personal crisis”. Mr Gates was already working on the estate before he married Ms Gates in 1994, leading to construction being stopped.

According to a 2008 Fortune Magazine profile of Ms Gates, the mansion was “a bachelor’s dream and a bride’s nightmare,” which had “enough software and high-tech displays to make a newlywed feel as though she were living inside a video game”.

In a 2019 interview with The New York Times Magazine, Ms Gates was asked when she thought she would move to a smaller house.

“I wish I knew!” she said at the time. “We’ll make some lifestyle changes for sure when our last daughter goes off to college, which is in a few years. With the foundation in Seattle, we will be here for at least six months out of the year. But I assure you, if we decide to spend six months somewhere else it will be in a smaller house.”

After the news of the split, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said in a statement that “they will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation’s issues and set the organization’s overall direction”.