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After marrying his wife, Bill Gates would spend a long weekend every year at a cozy beach cottage in North Carolina — with his old girlfriend.
The billionaire Microsoft founder made sure the bizarre arrangement was part of the deal when he married Melinda French in 1994, he told Time magazine in a 1997 profile.
“We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,” Gates said of his private getaways with fellow nerd techie and ex Ann Winblad.
Gates — who announced with Melinda on Twitter on Monday that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage — revealed that he and Winblad started taking an annual trip to his ex’s Outer Banks home when they began dating in 1984 after meeting at a computer conference.
The close pair continued making the yearly jaunt together even after breaking up in 1987, when Winblad, who is five years older than Gates, was reportedly more ready to settle down.
The trip involved everything from riding dune buggies to hang-gliding and quiet strolls on the beach.
“We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,” Winblad told the mag.
“And we marvel about how, as two young overachievers, we began a great adventure on the fringes of a little-known industry and it landed us at the center of an amazing universe.”
Gates said he even sought Winblad’s approval before proposing to his wife.
“When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval,” he said, adding that Winblad gave the other woman a thumbs-up.
Winblad recalled, “I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina.”
At the time of the interview, Gates still had a photo in his office of him and Winblad on a trip to Germany, the magazine said.
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