Melinda Gates was born on August 15, 1964, in Dallas, Texas, the United States, to Raymond Joseph French Jr. and Elaine Agnes Amerland. Her father was an aerospace engineer, who did a side business of renting properties and her mother was a homemaker. She has two younger brothers and an elder sister.
The Frenches were intent on sending all four of their children to college so Melinda's father started a side business for rental properties. The family used an Apple III computer to keep the rental business organized. Melinda was in awe of the computer at the time but would later denounce the brand when she became a Microsoft employee.