Rupert Murdoch and his Chinese-born third wife, Wendi Deng, married on June 25, 1999, just 17 days after his divorce from Anna Maria Torv, to whom he was married for 32 years.
Rupert Murdoch married his first wife, a flight attendant named Patricia Booker, in 1956 and they had a daughter, Prudence, in 1958 before divorcing in 1967. That same year, Rupert Murdoch married Anna Maria Torv, a journalist working for The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, and they went on to have three children: Elisabeth, Lachland and James.
After three decades, Rupert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv divorced in 1999, with Anna receiving a record settlement of $1.7 billion in assets. She blamed their divorce on Rupert Murdoch’s affair with Wendi Deng, an employee of his Hong Kong-based company Star TV, and “his determination to continue with that. I thought we had a wonderful, happy marriage. Obviously, we didn’t,’ she said, calling him ‘extremely hard, ruthless”.
The marriage to Rupert Murdoch was not the first for Wendi Deng either; her tangled love life was revealed by the Wall Street Journal in 2000.
Growing up as the daughter of a factory worker in Guangzhou in southern China, Wendi Deng’s childhood was a far cry from the opulence she enjoys today. She lived in a modest home but worked hard at school, where she was a champion volleyball player.
While studying at a medical college, Wendi Deng met an American couple, Jake and Joyce Cherry, who had been temporarily relocated to the country to work on a factory. She learned English from the couple and they ultimately sponsored her to travel to the U.S. when she was 19 to take classes at California State University.
But Joyce Cherry soon learned Wendi Deng was having an affair with Jake Cherry, who was three decades her senior, the Wall Street Journal reported. She ordered the girl out of her home and Jake Cherry followed closely behind. He divorced his wife and married Wendi Deng, who was 22.
But they too divorced after Jake Cherry learned Wendi Deng was spending time with a man named David Wolf.
After achieving her MBA from Yale, Wendi Deng joined the Murdoch-owned Star TV in Hong Kong as an intern in 1996.
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng married on June 25, 1999, just 17 days after his divorce from Anna Maria Torv
While his company has claimed that Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng met after his separation from his second wife, Anna, sources told the New York Times last year that they met months before in a question session at Star TV.
It was there Wendi Deng stood up and asked: “Why is your China strategy so bad?”
But Wendi Deng was not satisfied with Rupert Murdoch’s answer and after the meeting, she spoke to him further and they discussed media and business, the New York Times reported.
In a biography, Rupert Murdoch explained that he met her “casually once or twice” during meetings at Star TV. He claimed their first date was in June 1998 in London, when Wendi Deng traveled to the city with colleagues from Star.
“I was a recently separated, lonely man, and I said, <<Let’s go out to dinner one night>>, and I talked her into staying in London a couple of extra days – and that was the start of it,” Rupert Murdoch said.
The couple’s wedding ceremony, attended by 81 guests, took place aboard a yacht in the New York Harbor. They went on to have two children: Grace, born in 2001, and Chloe, born in 2003.
The New York Times profile piece noted that while Rupert Murdoch transformed following their marriage – hair dye, Prada suits, workouts – Wendi Deng was also very much changed.
While Wendi Deng once never wore makeup and would try to get dresses on the cheap, she was soon traveling around the world with her husband, stocking up on expensive homeware and bedecking herself in designer gowns and jewelry. Friends noted that she has remained the same brash, confident person throughout, however.
Wendi Deng and Rupert Murdoch’s relationship has not been entirely smooth. In 2006, Rupert Murdoch declared in a television interview that his daughters with Wendi Deng would not have the same voting rights as his children from previous marriages.
His wife was enraged and friends told the Times Wendi Deng threatened to leave him – but they worked through it.
The piece noted that the couple were living “largely separate lives” as Rupert Murdoch struggled to deal with the News of the World phone hacking scandal in London.
Wendi Deng’s defensiveness of her husband became apparent when she famously protected him from a pie-throwing activist during a hacking hearing in London two years ago.
Wendi Deng, showing her athleticism that harked back to her volleyball days, lunged at the attacker to smack him across the head.
Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from Wendi Deng because their marriage has “irretrievably broken down”, his spokesman announced today.
The divorce papers were filed at the New York State Supreme Court.
The News Corp boss and Wendi Deng, married in 1999 aboard a private yacht in New York, have two daughters together, Grace and Chloe.
In 2011, Wendi Deng famously leapt to her husband’s defense to slap a protester who threw a pie at him as British MPs quizzed him over phone-hacking.
Rupert Murdoch, 82, met his Chinese-born third wife in 1997 at a cocktail party in Hong Kong. They were married two years later, weeks after his second divorce.
Wendi Deng, 44, is 38 years younger than the Australian-born media mogul, who is said by Forbes to be worth $9.4 billion.
“I can confirm for the record that Rupert filed in New York State Supreme Court this morning for divorce,” Rupert Murdoch spokesman Steven Rubenstein told AFP news agency on Thursday.
The couple had a pre-nuptial agreement and have held shares in trust for their children.
Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from Wendi Deng because their marriage has irretrievably broken down
So our business editor believes the divorce is not likely to lessen the magnate’s grip on his media empire.
Rupert Murdoch, now a US citizen, reportedly paid $1.7 billion in his divorce settlement from his last wife.
Wendi Deng, said to be the daughter of a factory director, was born in 1968 and grew up in the eastern Chinese city of Xuzhou before leaving for the US at 19 to study.
She worked in a Chinese restaurant in California before going on to graduate from Yale University in 1996.
Wendi Deng was later employed by Star TV, News Corp’s Asian satellite-television operation in Hong Kong, where she met Rupert Murdoch during one of his visits.
The divorce filing comes two days before News Corp is to be split into two companies, one for its entertainment assets and the other for its publishing business. Rupert Murdoch is to be chairman of both firms.
His global media portfolio includes the Wall Street Journal, television channels such as Fox News and Sky, and the 20th Century Fox movie studio.
Two years ago, his UK newspaper division became embroiled in a phone-hacking scandal, which led Rupert Murdoch to close one of the titles, the News of the World.
In July 2011, Wendi Deng jumped from her seat during a UK parliamentary hearing to slap a prankster who tried to shove a shaving-cream pie into Rupert Murdoch’s face.