Rupert Murdoch has now been married and divorced three times. At 83 it doesn’t seem likely that he will go through that a fourth time.
His first marriage to Patricia Booker lasted from 1956 to 1967. They had one daughter, Prudence, together.
In 1967 he married Anna Maria Torv, who was a journalist working for his Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph. They were married for 31 years and had three children together, one daughter and two sons. When they divorced in 1999, Anna received a settlement of $1.2 billion in assets. Less than three weeks later he married Wendy Deng.
Wendy had been married once before she met her future husband. She had been living with Jake and Joyce Cherry when studying in the United States. When Joyce Cherry discovered that her husband was having an affair with Wendy, she kicked her out of the house. Jake Cherry followed quickly and the two married in 1990. Jake was thirty years older than Wendy.
Apparently the marriage only really lasted for four or five months, though was legally divorced a whole 2 years and 7 months after the wedding. Jake left Wendy when he found out that she was spending a lot of time with another man much closer to her own age. Be that as it may, the marriage got Wendy a green card to the US.
Rupert Murdoch met Wendy in 1997 at a company party in Hong Kong. He was still married to second wife Anna then, but apparently soon started to have an affair with Wendy. He and Anna had reportedly been drifting apart, so it doesn’t seem as if this was a surprising turn of events.
A lengthy article on Vanity Fair published in March this year goes into many details of Wendy Deng’s life and where she came from. Apparently she grew up in poverty in China, but was determined to make more of herself from an early age on. There can be no doubt that she is an ambitious woman, who is not easily intimidated.
She was not afraid of Rupert Murdoch when she first met him, instead confronted him openly about his business politics in China. When they began their affair she apparently told him “no” when he voiced his desire to be with her, because he was still married and if their relationship was to fail, she would be left with nothing, which was not acceptable to her, because she had built a career for herself by then.
So Murdoch said that he would marry her, and as we have seen, he did so as soon as he could after his divorce from Anna. They married in front of 82 guests on Murdoch’s boat Morning Glory in New York Harbor. Whilst he confessed his love for her and promised to take care of her forever, she apparently gazed at him adoringly.
But it was not a marriage of equals by any standards. Murdoch clearly loved his young wife according to friends and other witnesses. But Wendy was still ambitious. First she redecorated his homes, then she had first one daughter and shortly thereafter another one, both of whom had to be conceived via IVF after Murdoch’s prostate cancer diagnosis in 2000.
A former nanny, who had filed a lawsuit against the Murdochs after falling and breaking a kneecap and not feeling properly compensated for the injury, alleged in 2004 after her case was dismissed that Wendy was not very nice to her husband, always yelling and cursing at him.
Wendy reportedly also campaigned to have both her daughters become equal beneficiaries of the Murdoch Family Trust, worth $92 billion. She succeeded in 2006, when Rupert Murdoch announced that the girls would indeed get equal shares, but no voting rights until they turn 30 years old.
Meanwhile Wendy returned to building a career for herself, following several paths and bringing MySpace to China, eventually also becoming a movie producer.
In interviews throughout the years it is clear that Rupert Murdoch continued to love and support his wife in everything she did. It appears the most powerful media mogul in the world was wrapped around his wife’s little finger at home.
And Wendy was much less reverent with her husband.
Rumors eventually sprung up that she was having an affair with Tony Blair. At the very least Murdoch could quickly confirm that his wife seemed to be having a crush on the former British Prime Minister. As soon as he heard about it, he flew home to interview his staff, who allegedly confirmed inappropriate meetings between Blair and Wendy.
The divorce was settled amicably in November 2013. Because of pre- and post-nuptial agreements there was not much contention and Murdoch allowed Wendy to keep the New York apartment, so his daughters would be able to stay at home. Even the judge commented on how peacefully they settled and when the ex-couple parted ways, they did so with a handshake and a brief kiss on the cheek.
Given the quick succession of each of Rupert Murdoch’s marriages, it would appear that he does not like to be single. All his marriages lasted more than ten years and they all produced children. But none lasted forever.
There is little doubt that Wendy will power on, but if there is happiness with another man in her life seems questionable. Her ambition seems to supersede anything else.
As for Rupert Murdoch, he has an empire to rule, a legacy to uphold, two young daughters to help bring to adulthood. Stranger things have happened than men of his age falling in love once more, so it might very well happen again. But another marriage? Probably not.