- Phoebe, 20, is an aspiring fashion designer and Stanford University student
- She said she wants ‘to be her own person’ and ‘branch away’ from her parents
- The 20-year-old has also become an avid women’s rights advocate
Despite hailing from one of the richest and most successful couples on the planet, Phoebe Gates has avidly stated that she wants to ‘be her own person’ and ‘branch away’ from her parents – billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his ex-wife, philanthropist Melinda Gates – and she’s done just that.
At age 20, the college student and aspiring designer has already achieved a lot: she has made waves in the world of fashion – receiving invites to coveted New York and Paris Fashion Week shows, elite parties, and star-studded events – racked up some celebrity friends along the way, and she even landed an internship at British Vogue.
And while some may argue that she has gotten to where she is thanks to her wealthy background, both Bill and Melinda have continuously insisted that they are working hard to ensure that their kids ‘create their own path.’
In fact, Bill – who has a whopping net worth of $107 billion – has voiced his fears over his kids becoming ‘distorted’ over ‘wealth’ on numerous occasions, and he once vowed to use his immense fortune to ‘help the poor’ rather than his own children.
While raising their children, the former couple – who split in May 2021 after 27 years of marriage – did their best to give their three kids, Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe, a normal childhood.
They made them do chores and split the household work as evenly as possible, while tech mogul Bill has even admitted that he was a stickler about screen time – and didn’t allow his kids to have phones until they were age 14.
The exes may have tried to raise their kids as modestly as possible, but their living situation was far from humble – the family grew up in a $131 million mansion in Medina, Washington, that came complete with seven bathrooms, 24 bathrooms, and six kitchens, as well as its own man-made beach, at-home movie theater, gym, and trampoline room.
The property, worth an estimated $131 million, is nicknamed ‘Xanadu 2.0,’ a reference to the fictional estate in the movie ‘Citizen Kane.’
Now, it seems as though Phoebe is still living a pretty lavish lifestyle – which is much more glamorous than the average college student.
She often jets off on extravagant trips around the globe – and makes sure to document her endeavors on her Instagram account, where she has gained more than 193,000 followers.
Phoebe has been adamant about wanting to find success on her own, and not because of her parents, but the 20-year-old has followed in her their footsteps in one department – becoming a fierce women’s rights advocate just like her mother.
As she continues to speak out about issues like abortion ban and voters rights, FEMAIL has rounded up everything you need to know about the youngest Gates child.
From what it was really like to grow up in one of the richest families in the world to the strides she’s made to become a successful fashion designer to her close bond with her parents – here’s an inside look into Phoebe’s luxurious life.
Billionaires Bill and Melinda did their best to give Phoebe a modest childhood – restricting screen time, not letting her have a phone until age 14, and making her do chores – despite her growing up in a $131 million mega-mansion
Phoebe was born on September 14, 2002 and she is the youngest of Melinda and Bill’s three kids.
Despite being one of the richest couples in the world, the billionaire parents did their best to give their kids a normal childhood, and were even pretty strict – making them do daily chores, limiting screen time, and not letting them get phones until age 14.
Melinda spoke out making her kids help with household work in her 2019 book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, explaining that it was important to her since cleaning and cooking traditionally falls on women more than men.
She also recalled the moment she decided it was time to divvy up the chores equally to Business Insider in 2019, explaining, ‘One night I realized I was still in the kitchen a good 10, 15 minutes after everybody else doing the last-minute things.
‘Sometimes in the moment my frustration or anger just comes out. So one night we stood up after dinner and people in the family started to melt away, like, off they go upstairs.
‘So hand on my hips, I’m, like, “Nobody leaves the kitchen until I leave the kitchen.”‘
She added that washing dishes together after dinner became a Gates family tradition after that.
Bill – the creator of one of the biggest tech giants on the globe – once revealed that he was a stickler about screen time when his kids were growing up, explaining that he started limiting his children’s use of electronics after he noticed that one of his daughters had become obsessed with a video game.
He also said he didn’t let his kids get cell phones until they turned 14 and never allowed phone use at the dinner table.
‘We often set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour,’ he explained to Mirror.
‘You’re always looking at how it can be used in a great way – homework and staying in touch with friends – and also where it has gotten to excess.
‘We don’t have cellphones at the table when we are having a meal, we didn’t give our kids cellphones until they were 14 and they complained other kids got them earlier.’
Faith was also a huge part of Phoebe’s childhood, with Bill telling Rolling Stone in 2014, ‘We’ve raised our kids in a religious way. They’ve gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in.’
While chatting to a crowd of Harvard students in 2018, the Microsoft founder revealed that he and his ex-wife used the 1970s ‘Love and Logic’ parenting style while raising their three kids.
‘Parents should provide an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and empathy while allowing the natural consequences of a child’s behavior and actions to do the teaching,’ MedicineNet.com says of the technique.
‘We want to strike a balance where they have the freedom to do anything, but not a lot of money showered on them so they could go out and do nothing,’ Bill explained.
It was revealed in 2014 that Bill will be leaving most of his fortune – estimated to be around $107 billion – to his family’s foundation, rather than his kids.
‘Our kids will receive a great education and some money so they are never going to be poorly off but they’ll go out and have their own career,’ he explained to This Morning in 2017.
‘It’s not a favor to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path.
‘This money is dedicated to helping the poorest. They know that, they are proud of that, they go on trips with us to see the work that’s being done.’
While it seemed as though the family tried to raise their kids as modestly as possible, their living situation was far from humble.
The family grew up in a $131 million mansion in Medina, Washington, which Bill purchased in 1988 and spent seven years transforming into his dream home.
The 66,000-square-foot sprawling abode comes with seven bathrooms, 24 bathrooms, and six kitchens, as well as its own artificial stream (stocked with fish), a man-made beach with sand imported from the Caribbean, a 60-foot swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 200-guest reception hall, a 20-seat movie theater, an at-home gym, and a trampoline room.
Phoebe attended the elite Lakeside High School in Seattle – the same school her father graduated from when he was a teen.
When she was younger, she dreamed of being a professional dancer, and spent time studying at the School of American Ballet at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, as well as the esteemed Juilliard School.
She also had a love of reading from a young age – something that she got from her father.
‘My daughter Phoebe and I love reading all kinds of books,’ he once gushed on Instagram.
Phoebe is now a student at Stanford University and has made waves in the fashion world, interning at British Vogue and attending New York and Paris Fashion Weeks – while documenting her jet-set lifestyle on social media
After graduating from high school in 2021, Phoebe put her ballerina aspirations on hold, and instead, decided to head to Stanford University, where she switched her focus to fashion.
She told WWD last year that while she’s always been interested in clothes, after bonding with a fellow student who was also a fashion designer, she realized she wanted to make it her career.
‘I was like, “Wait, you can do that at this age?’”And I remember being so excited,’ she gushed to the outlet. ‘I’ve always been interested in sketching and design and I’m a huge writer.’
Last summer, she interned with British Vogue, who sent her to Copenhagen to cover Fashion Week.
And the trip further cemented her passion. She explained, ‘It was super interesting, and it was where I was like, “OK, I want to do a bunch more stuff.”‘
‘There is some toxicity in the industry and I have a huge interest in women’s health as well, so I wanted to work somewhere where it didn’t feel like those were confounding with each other,’ she added of her internship.
‘I really liked British Vogue because of [editor] Edward [Enninful’s] work and he’s so progressive with the magazine, so that was a huge choice for me.’
She grew close to Paul McCartney’s daughter, designer Stella McCartney – after the two were introduced by her mother – who has also inspired her to want to go on her own path, rather than following in her parents’ footsteps.
‘When I was little she would send me stuff and little notes and I’d be so excited. I’ve been asking my mom forever and ever if I could meet with her,’ Phoebe said.
‘I felt very connected to her, I feel like because she’s been able to use the platform she had, because of who her dad is, and then she took that and instead of being like, “Oh, people define me by this,” she took it and she was like, “OK, I have this immense privilege, now I’m going to use it to leverage something.”
‘What she chose to leverage is to launch a brand that is completely sustainable. So I think we are really deeply connected because that’s a lot of what I think about.
‘Like, “OK, I’m my parents’ daughter, that gives me immense privilege, but it’s not what I’m defined by.”
‘I want to have my own identity, I want to be my own person, I want to branch away from that, but how do I do that in a way where I can yield some sort of change?’
Stella invited Phoebe to attend her show at Paris Fashion Week last fall, where she wowed in a black bra, leather jacket, and white trousers – which contained an intricate painting of a bird on them.
‘They had a ton of different options and they put outfits together, but I was like, “I kind of want to do something more va-va-voom that stands out,”‘ she recalled of picking out the outfit.
‘I went through the stuff and I was like, “I think it’d be really fun to do a bra with the leather jacket.” So I did that and I love the hummingbird pants so much, they are so sexy and fun.’
She also attended a series of events during New York Fashion Week in September – including the Michael Kors show, which she attended with her mom, and Harper’s Bazaar Global Icons ceremony.
The now-20-year-old is also quite the jet-setter, and has traveled to places like Peru, Mexico, and London recently – in addition to Paris, Copenhagen and New York for their Fashion Weeks, of course.
She often flaunts her lavish lifestyle on Instagram, sharing snaps of herself posing in designer clothes, attending elite parties, soaking up the sun on the beach, and dining in fancy restaurants.
Despite wanting to ‘branch away’ from her parents, she has followed in her mom’s footsteps by becoming an avid women’s rights activist and often speaks out about politics
Despite stating that she wants to ‘have her own identity’ and ‘branch away’ from her parents, Phoebe has followed in her mother’s footsteps in one department – becoming a fierce women’s rights advocate over the years.
She often posts about the topic on her social media, especially amid the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year.
Back in June, she shared a photo of herself posing in a bikini as a way to bring ‘attention’ to the negative impacts that the ban on abortion could have on women across the United States.
‘I’m not shy about my body and/or telling you to keep your bans off of it,’ she captioned the post.
‘Every person deserves access to sexual and reproductive health care. Right now, the Supreme Court is prepared to end the constitutional right to abortion. Join me and millions of other women in our fight for this basic human right.’
She then shared a series of resources and statistics to her Stories, adding, ‘Now that I have your attention, [read] this.’
The college student has also posted about a series of other political topics like immigration status and its effects on healthcare, as well as voter’s rights.
In addition, she often re-shares posts from her mom, Melinda – who is a self-described global advocate for women and girls.
While penning a powerful essay about women’s rights to Vogue last July, Phoebe spoke about the enormous impact her mother has had on her, explaining, ‘When you’re Melinda’s daughter, it’s easy to be passionate about reproductive health.
‘My mom is my hero. She’s a brilliant reformer who travels around the world advocating for gender equality.
‘When I started college last year, I wanted to become an advocate, like my mom. So I tried to learn as much as I could about making policy, finding the best data, gathering the best ideas, and educating the right people.
‘I’m only 19 years old, and I don’t know where life will take me, especially not decades from now.
‘But I am sure of this: Wherever I end up, I’ll still be working to ensure [women’s rights].’
The 20-year-old has a close bond with her parents and siblings – but is especially tight with her mom, jetting off on numerous mother-daughter trips together over the years
Phoebe has formed a close bond with both of her parents, but she is especially tight with her mother.
They’re often posting sweet photos together and seen attending events side-by-side, and they even jetted off to London for a mother-daughter trip last August.
Phoebe shared a glimpse into their vacation in a video shared to her Instagram, which showed her mom striking various hip poses while touring the British capital.
‘Mom: let’s take some photos. OK supermodel,’ she wrote in the beginning of the clip, before a montage of pictures of Melinda flashed across the screen.
‘My momma sure knows best,’ Phoebe added in the caption.
Phoebe also has a strong relationship with her dad – and accompanied him as his date to the Time 100 event last year.
On his birthday in June, she posted a touching tribute to the billionaire, while thanking him for ‘letting her learn from him every day.’
‘Dad, thank you for letting me learn from you every day and look up to your intellect and work,’ she wrote. ‘Most importantly, thank you for being my dad. Love you today and always.’
She’s also close to her siblings. Phoebe served as one of Jennifer’s bridesmaids when she married her longtime boyfriend, Nayel Nassar, in October 2021, and the two sisters have continuously gushed over one another online.
‘Celebrating your love this year was the greatest privilege of my life,’ Phoebe wrote after the wedding.
And when Jennifer celebrated her birthday in April 2020, Phoebe called her ‘kind, loving, and driven’ in an emotional post.
‘[You’re] my confidant. Happy birthday to the most amazing sister,’ she added.
Plus, when Phoebe graduated from high school, Jennifer shared a sweet post congratulating her little sis.
‘Pheebs – I can’t believe this day is here (time flies!) but you are wise beyond your years, and so ready for this next incredible chapter in your journey,’ she said.
‘I love you, I am immensely proud of you and can’t wait for all that’s to come at Stanford (!!!) and beyond.’
While their brother Rory is much more private and doesn’t have a public social media account, the siblings all came together to support him when he graduated from the University of Chicago in June 2022.
Plus, Phoebe shared a snap with Rory in December 2021, which she captioned, ‘Coming back these guys,’ alongside a heart.
Phoebe’s love life became the subject of much media attention after she revealed she was dating a fellow Stanford student last year – but was subjected to a slew of racist abuse over the relationship
When it comes to Phoebe’s love life, she’s currently dating a fellow Stanford student, named Robert Ross.
But their romance resulted in Phoebe being subjected to a slew of racist abuse from trolls who criticized her for dating a black man.
She first confirmed that she was in a relationship with Robert last July, when she shared a few photos of herself cozying up to him on Instagram.
Tons of nasty trolls soon started leaving negative comments on the pictures, with some slamming her for being in a relationship with a person of color and others accusing him of using her for her money.
‘Bill about to smash a vase against the wall,’ one person commented.
‘Bro become a millionaire in a matter of seconds,’ another added.
Someone else said: ‘Now we know why Bill Gates been tellin’ his kids they ain’t gon’ inherit s**t.’
A different user chimed in: ‘Phoebe Gates has a black boyfriend, young brotha do not pull out … BE GREAT.’
One person even urged Robert to ‘get her pregnant,’ while someone else joked that he ‘secured the bag.’
Another tweeted: ‘Her net worth is projected [to be] $130 Billion. I don’t think he is her equal or they are doing 50/50. Just my guess [though].’
‘When Phoebe Gates’ boyfriend gets added to the joint checking account,’ one person wrote, while sharing a video of a black man doing a celebratory dance.
Someone else shared a video of a black man waving a gun around while swerving his car across a road, stating: ‘Phoebe Gates and her boyfriend pulling up to Bill Gates’ house for Thanksgiving.’
Despite the horrible comments, Phoebe seemed unbothered by the hate, and has continued to share images with Robert to her social media.
In October, she posted one that showed her in a pink dress posing alongside her beau, who donned a black tuxedo.
On New Year’s Eve, she also shared a series of snaps with Robert, including one that featured her clutching his face and attempting to lick it.
On her birthday in September, 2022, Robert posted a carousel of photos with Phoebe to his own feed, which he captioned, ‘Happy birthday, my love.’
Before Robert, Phoebe was previous linked to a boy who attended her high school, named Chaz Flynn.