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Who is Zhe 'Shelly' Wang? Bill Gates' interpreter denies rumor about her being cause of split with Melinda

Zhe 'Shelly' Wang, denying the rumors, took to Chinese social media website Weibo and reportedly wrote, 'I thought that the rumors would go away by themselves, but I did not expect the rumors to become more and more crazily spread'
Zhe 'Shelly' Wang (L) worked as an interpreter for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (LinkedIn/Getty Images)
Zhe 'Shelly' Wang (L) worked as an interpreter for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (LinkedIn/Getty Images)

Earlier this week the mega-billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates called it quits, after 27 years of marriage. Shortly after the news came to light, several rumors about the reason behind the split started doing rounds. One of the rumors that caught everyone's eyes suggested that Bill had an affair with his 36-year-old Chinese employee.

Zhe 'Shelly' Wang denied the rumors involving her for the couple's split. She took to Chinese social media website Weibo and purportedly wrote, "I thought that the rumors would go away by themselves, but I did not expect the rumors to become more and more crazily spread." "How many books can I read, so why spend time on the unfounded rumors? I would like to thank everyone for their concern and help in dispelling the rumors through private messages in the past 24 hours," she added before concluding her post with "#Gates divorce, some vicious people rumor to vilify an innocent Chinese girl."


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In this screengrab, (L-R) Melinda Gates and Bill Gates speak during "One World: Together At Home" presented by Global Citizen on April 18, 2020. (Getty Images)

Little is known about the reason for the breakdown of Bill and Melinda’s marriage, but they did say in a joint statement 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. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.” They continued, “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 this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

It is not clear what led to Wang being a target of the rumors, other than photos she has posted online of her translation engagements for the Gates Foundation.

Who is Zhe 'Shelly' Wang?

Zhe "Shelly" Wang was born in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou and later immigrated to the United States. From 2006 to 2008, she owned a restaurant in Provo, Utah, the Four Seasons Hot Pot & Dumplings. She has attended Brigham Young University and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Managerial Economics there in 2007. She is proficient in six languages and has also received multiple endorsements for Chinese, Spanish, French, German and Mandarin. Wang considered herself "native or bilingual proficiency" in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.  

According to Wang's LinkedIn profile, which has since been disabled, she became an interpreter for the Monterey Institute of International Studies in September 2012 and worked on several TED Conferences. She then joined TED Conferences as an interpreter in April 2013, and she oversaw a team interpreting TED events into Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish. She also works as an interpreter for the Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School. Wang worked as an interpreter for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has worked for the organization since 2015 while also working as an interpreter for multiple organizations at the same time. In addition to her career as an interpreter, Wang also worked as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, her social media posts show. Before the global pandemic, she mostly worked on flights between the US and Shanghai.

Li Donglei, who is friends with Wang, was shocked by the rumors and spoke out defending her in a blog post. "She is a former colleague of mine, a very clean girl, and a person I admire. I don't believe she would get involved in other people's marriages," wrote Li. "I think it is entirely my instinct that Wang Zhe can't do this kind of thing," he added. "I guess some people made up gossip about 'Gates cheating with a Chinese beauty' just because they saw Wang Zhe's translation work photos at the Gates Foundation and saw that she was a Chinese beauty and a single woman," wrote Li in his blog post. "They don't care about the slander of an innocent girl and her family by such rumors," he added.