Meet Bill Gates’ new girlfriend Paula Hurd – Like the Microsoft centibillionaire, she is an avid tennis fan, a philanthropist, and has spent decades working in the tech industry.

Bill Gates has been romantically linked to Paula Hurd after his split with his ex-wife Melinda. Photos: Wiki Commons, Getty Images

In May 2021, Bill Gates and his wife of 27 years, Melinda French Gates, shocked the world when they announced they were separating.

Melinda later opened up about an affair Bill had had with a staffer 20 years ago, and was widely reported as saying that, “I just realised I couldn’t trust what we had.” Their divorce was finalised in August 2021, with Melinda reportedly walking away with US$76 billion in the settlement.

Bill and Melinda Gates with their children. Photo: Melinda French Gates/Facebook

The couple share three children together: Jennifer, Phoebe and Rory. In an interview with BBC post-split, Bill was asked if he would like to find love again. His response was simple: “Sure, I’m not a robot.”

Now, not only has he managed to find love, there are even rumours that he may be engaged!

Here’s what you need to know about Paula Hurd, the woman who has caught the eye of one of the richest men on the planet.

Did Bill Gates give Paula Hurd a ring?
The internet went wild when images of Hurd wearing a ring on her engagement finger while out with Gates went viral. The pair was snapped together in New York City in July and her bling immediately sparked speculation.

But a representative of Hurd confirmed to People magazine that she has had the ring for “decades” and it does not “symbolise an engagement”. The denial has, however, not stopped rumours that Gates and Hurd’s relationship is serious and wedding bells may be on the cards.

Bill Gates and Paula Hurd are both fans of tennis. Photo: Getty Images

So, how did their romance start?
Back in October 2021, Hurd and Gates attended the BNP Paribas Open in California. According to People, they were not dating at the time and were not even seated together, but it’s the first time a public connection between them could be traced.

Both lovers of tennis, in September 2022, they were photographed seated next to each other at the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena in London. A few months later, in January 2023, they reunited at the Australian Open.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, walks to lunch at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho, US, on July 13. Photo: AFP

In February, it was widely reported that the couple were dating and that their relationship was “known” to those close to them and business associates. But, according to People, Hurd had not yet met Gates’ children.

Paula Hurd with her late husband, Mark Hurd. Photo: Wiki Commons

Paula Hurd is a widow
She may be in headlines now because of her relationship with the Microsoft founder, but Hurd was formerly in a high-profile marriage with the CEO of software company Oracle. She was married to Mark Hurd for nearly 30 years. CNBC reported that Mark died in 2019, with Business Insider adding that he took a leave of absence a month before he passed away, reportedly of cancer.

Mark Hurd was the CEO of Oracle before he passed away in 2019. Photo: NCR

Paula and her husband share two daughters together, Kathryn and Kelly. Mark, a respected businessman who has been credited with turning embattled companies around, was also the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. His estimated net worth was US$70 million at the time of his death, according to Ncesc.

Paula Hurd is successful in business herself, too. Photo: Baylor University

She’s a career woman
Per a biography on Baylor University’s website, Hurd has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas, which she obtained in 1984. Baylor is her late husband Mark’s alma mater, too, so the couple were heavily invested in sponsoring the academic institution.

Hurd held various positions in sales and management at software company NCR. The organisation provides software and services for banks and retailers. She eventually became vice-president of services, leading a global team to manage strategic partnerships.

Hurd and her late husband were also avid tennis fans, and she eventually became the chairperson for the Universal Tennis Foundation. She also sponsors the annual Hurd Tennis Awards, which aim to support university players as they transition into the world of pro-tennis.

Together, the couple built the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Centre in 2018 and also donated US$7 million to a basketball pavilion. These acts extended her philanthropic role at the university and extended her reach to support many other organisations.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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