Rupert Murdoch, Jerry Hall headed for divorce

Andrew Neil, former British magazine editor Sunday Time, once wrote about the best advice he received while working for media billionaire Rupert Murdoch. “Don’t fall for Rupert,” she said. “He turned against the lovers and beheaded them.”

That advice probably should have been given not only to Murdoch’s courtiers but also to the women he had married over the years.

on wednesday, The New York Times reported that Murdoch, 91, is divorcing his fourth wife, former model and actor, Jerry Hall, who is 65.

Murdoch and Hall met in Australia in 2015 while Hall was touring in a stage adaptation Graduate of, playing Mrs. Robinson. The first public confirmation of their courtship came the same year when Murdoch was photographed kissing Hall in the Rugby World Cup final in Twickenham in October 2015.

Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand in Twickenham on October 31, 2015.

Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall attend the 2015 Rugby World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand in Twickenham on October 31, 2015.Credit:Max Mubby

The couple married in 2016, and on his wedding day, Murdoch, who had a brief flirt with Twitter, tweeted: “Feeling like the luckiest AND happiest man in the world.”

The English poet Samuel Johnson once wrote that a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. Perhaps the fourth marriage is better described as the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

In March earlier this year, Murdoch, who is estimated to be worth $US7.62 billion ($11 billion) in Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, listed his New York penthouse for sale for a reported price of $US78 million. In hindsight, there has been speculation about whether Murdoch might have tried to sell the property before the divorce.

The New York penthouse, located across from Madison Square Park, and one block from Fifth Avenue, is said to have 360-degree views of the city, including landmarks such as the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Hudson and the East River.

Murdoch’s wealth stems primarily from his stakes in News Corp and Fox, companies that own newspaper, publishing and TV assets globally, as well as in Disney. Disney bought Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox, in a $71 billion stock deal in March 2019.

Murdoch’s latest divorce has drawn surprises. Just last October, Hall was spotted pampering Murdoch at his 90th birthday party held in a tent attached to the Tavern on the Green restaurant in New York’s Central Park. The party was attended by 130 power brokers, longtime lieutenants, friends and family, among them fellow media giants Barry Diller and Peter Chernin and at least two of Murdoch’s six children, Lachlan and Elisabeth.

Fox News channel Rupert Murdoch helped elect US President Donald Trump in 2016.

Fox News channel Rupert Murdoch helped elect US President Donald Trump in 2016.Credit:AP

Murdoch’s fourth divorce quickly made headlines around the world, with good reason. For more than half a century, Murdoch has been at the center of world affairs. His media companies have reshaped governments through their influence, with his Fox News Channel helping elect US President Donald Trump in 2016, while his British tabloids Sun led the fight for Britain to leave the European Union, which became known as Brexit.

In Australia, former prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd have called for Murdoch’s power and influence to be limited.

Now that Murdoch is in the news, the paparazzi are trying to get pictures of him and Hall, and there’s heated speculation about the payout he’ll receive.

Will Hall take home the England the pair spent £11.25m in 2019? Did he sign a prenup, as Murdoch’s previous wife Wendi Deng did?

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Murdoch divorced Deng after 14 years of marriage and the settlement included cash and property, as well as, it was reported, that their two children would be equal beneficiaries of the Murdoch Family Trust, but without voting rights. The trust controls the family’s voting stake in News Corp.

Murdoch was married to Deng from 1999 to 2013. His longest marriage was to Anna Torv from 1967 to 1999, with whom he has three children. His first marriage was to Patricia Booker, from 1956 to 1967, and they had one child.

Murdoch’s fourth divorce is unlikely to change his royal ownership structure. And what Hall will receive in the divorce remains unknown. However, he will almost certainly receive a payment greater than the £10 million he received in 1999, after his 22-year relationship with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger ended. The couple has four children.

Murdoch isn’t the only billionaire to walk down the aisle several times.

Larry Ellison, the 11th richest person in the world and the founder of Oracle, has been married four times. Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and Tesla’s chief executive, has been married three times, including twice to the same woman.

Even Warren Buffett, the seventh richest person in the world, who is Murdoch’s age and often regarded as a role model of virtue, has unusual relationships. He married his first wife in 1952 and was married to her for five decades. However, for most of that time, Buffett lived with another woman, whom he later married after his first wife died.

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Murdoch entered the final years of his life alone but with his power, influence and wealth intact. Like all billionaires, she never worried about the “for the poorer” part of her wedding vows.

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