CAROLINA CONNECTION: Melinda Gave Bill Gates Hall Pass for Annual OBX Rendezvous with Ex–GF

OBX – The biggest gossip column item this week has been the news that one of the world’s richest married couples, Bill and Melinda Gates, are splitting up. More juicy than the divorce itself are some of the weird details about their marriage are catching people’s attention, and the most remarkable tidbit has a connection to North Carolina.

Apparently, the Mircosoft founder and vaccine pusher had an agreement with his wife that he got to have a romantic getaway every year at the beach with an old flame. An annual hall pass, if you will, with former girlfriend Ann Winblad, that took place on the shifting sands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Curiously, this arrangement was written about in Time Magazine all the way back in 1997:

“Gates has an arrangement with his wife that he and Winblad can keep one vacation tradition alive. Every spring, as they have for more than a decade, Gates spends a long weekend with Winblad at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they ride dune buggies, hang-glide and walk on the beach. ‘We can play putt-putt while discussing biotechnology,’ Gates says. Winblad puts it more grandly. ‘We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves,’ she says. ‘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.’”

Well, how about that? One of the world’s richest men was cavorting in Carolina all these years, stepping out on his wife, for some nerdy Nights in Rodanthe.

Winblad, herself a tech founder and venture capitalist, and Gates dated in the 80s until Bill met Melinda in 1987. Apparently the weekend on the Outer Banks was too much to give up, though.

Read more here.

Have a hot tip for First In Freedom Daily?

Got a hot news tip for us? Photos or video of a breaking story? Send your tips, photos and videos to All hot tips are immediately forwarded to FIFD Staff.

Have something to say? Send your own guest column or original reporting to