Gates told Time magazine about the unusual arrangement in 1997, the New York Post reported in the wake of Gates’ announcement that he and his wife, Melinda Gates, were getting divorced.
The billionaire tech entrepreneur told Time that he and fellow tech business leader Ann Winblad dated from 1984 to 1987, but they continued to vacation together at a North Carolina beach house even after breaking up and after Gates – with Winblad’s approval – got married in 1994, according to the report.
"We share our thoughts about the world and ourselves" during the trips, Winblad told Time.
"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," she added.
The Post identified the former couple’s getaway as "Castle Sween," a four-bedroom oceanfront beach home in Corolla, near the Outer Banks. The community is known for its wild horses and picturesque lighthouse.
The 1,440-square-foot home offers ocean views, a private walkway connecting to the beach and two levels of deck, according to a rental listing for the home.
Renting the home for a week costs more than $4,000 for a family – even after Labor Day – according to the listing.
Photos from the listing show a bright, airy home with large windows, a beamed cathedral ceiling and a gas fireplace.
"With pristine ocean views around every corner, Castle Sween is an artfully appointed paradise for beach fans," the listing boasts.
Gates and Winblad would walk on the beach, and even ride dune buggies or hang-glide during their stays at the home, the Post reported.
They were also walking on the beach when Gates told Winblad he could "’see my way, if I really squint, to $500 million in revenue,’" she told the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2013. At the time, it was far more than any software company was making.
"Bill was a great influence on me, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, you can actually build a company that big in the software industry? Are you kidding me?'" Winblad told the news outlet.
Property records show the home is owned by a Maryland man, but that Winblad remains listed as a trustee.