The Truth About All Of Rupert Murdoch's Marriages

Rupert Murdoch may be best known for his business acumen (Murdoch's net worth is a staggering $17.9 billion) and political opinions (he wasn't shy about sharing a scathing message for Donald Trump in 2021), but his personal life has also given folks plenty to talk about. The media tycoon has been married (and divorced) four times, starting with his first wedding which took place in his twenties. Most recently, in July 2022, Murdoch's marriage to model Jerry Hall came to a grinding halt when Hall filed for divorce, but despite all of the breakups, Vanity Fair still dubbed him "the greatest romantic of our time."

That's because, as the outlet pointed out, despite the monetary (and perhaps emotional) cost of being a billionaire who's gotten divorced four times, he's never given up on love. Even in his nineties, he's continued to give matrimony a chance and, as Vanity Fair notes, he's been married for two-thirds of his life. That's pretty impressive, but it's never been smooth sailing for Murdoch in the love department. Here's the truth about all of Rupert Murdoch's marriages — the good, the bad, and the dramatic.

Rupert Murdoch fell in love with a flight attendant

Rupert Murdoch's first marriage came when he was just 25. The Australian-born Murdoch met his first wife, Patricia Booker, in their native Australia in 1956 and they tied the knot that same year, per Vanity Fair. However, while he was smitten, his mother certainly was not. According to the outlet, Dame Elisabeth Joy Murdoch simply didn't believe that Booker was good enough for her son. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that she was a flight attendant, per The Guardian, and a department store model at a time when real-life models would show off clothes for wealthy customers and walk in fashion shows staged right inside the store.

Even so, the pair had daughter Prudence MacLeod in 1958 and stayed together for over a decade, eventually divorcing in 1967. Booker all but disappeared from the public eye while her daughter became a sort of family outcast. According to Vanity Fair, she lived with her dad and his new wife, but she didn't do well in school and didn't get along well with either of them. Meanwhile, her mother reportedly chose to focus on a new husband and party lifestyle instead of raising Prudence. In the end, Pru didn't go to college, but according to Tatler, she eventually founded Macdoch Ventures with her second husband, Alasdair MacLeod (a News Corp. executive), and is now using their fortune to help up-and-coming companies in Australia and New Zealand.

Rupert Murdoch met his second wife at work

Rupert Murdoch met his second wife, Scottish journalist Anna Torv (later Anna Murdoch Mann), while she was working as a junior journalist at his Sydney paper, The Daily Mirror. It was 1966 and a 22-year-old Torv was sent to interview Rupert. As he would later recall, per The Irish Times, she instantly caught his eye. Torv was equally smitten. She told Australian Women's Weekly in 2001 (via Vanity Fair), "He was like a whirlwind coming into the room. It was very seductive." They married in 1967, soon after his divorce from Patricia Booker, and were together for 31 years. During that time, Torv wrote three books and worked as a non-executive director at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp from 1990 until 1999, which is when they divorced.

They also had three kids — Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James Murdoch — all of whom followed their dad into media. Elisabeth started at News Corp before founding TV production company Shine, per Tatler. It did so well that she sold it to News Corp for $663 million in 2011. Meanwhile, Lachlan was appointed Executive Chairman and CEO of Murdoch-owned Fox Corporation in 2018, taking over from James who had been CEO of 21st Century Fox since 2015. James would eventually quit the family business in 2020, explaining (via NPR), "My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company's news outlets and certain other strategic decisions."

The cause of Anna Torv and Rupert Murdoch's divorce

Rupert Murdoch and Anna Torv were married for an impressive three decades, but they hit a roadblock when it came to balancing Murdoch's personal and professional life. As Torv would later tell New York magazine, "We could never take our family life out of business [because] they were so intermingled." No matter how much she wanted him to slow down at work and eventually retire, he couldn't be swayed. As Murdoch once said, if he retired, "I'd probably die." Seeing as they couldn't get on the same page about his workaholic tendencies, his solution was to tell Torv, "Let's divorce."

The real final straw, however, was Murdoch's affair with his future third wife, Wendi Deng. Speaking candidly with Australian Women's Weekly (via Independent) in 2001, Torv shared she believed all was well in their relationship until she learned of his infidelity. However, because she believes in the sanctity of marriage and the importance of keeping your vows, she was ready to give him another chance. He didn't want it. "The Rupert I fell in love with could not have behaved this way," she said, adding that he was dead-set on splitting up. They divorced in 1999 and he also threw her off the News Corp board. As she admitted, "This was not just the end of my marriage, it was the end of a whole life."

A pricey divorce

Anna Torv and Rupert Murdoch's divorce made headlines for many reasons, but one of the most talked about points was how much it cost Murdoch. According to ABC News, theirs was the most expensive divorce in the world at the time, as Murdoch was ordered to give his ex $1.7 billion of his assets, including $110 million in cash. Per Independent, under California law, Torv was entitled to half of the assets her ex-husband earned and acquired during all the years they were together. However, despite reports of such an astronomical settlement, Torv has insisted that she walked away with less than she was entitled to because she wanted to finalize the divorce as quickly as possible. "It was time to move on. I knew I could create something of beauty again, without all the painful memories," she told Australian Women's Weekly (via Independent).

What she did fight for was an agreement that gave their three kids, as well as Murdoch's daughter from his first marriage, equal shares in the family trust, per the Los Angeles Times. That, in turn, would ensure they'd have equal control of their father's company and would not lose that to any future wives or children, per Vanity Fair. Murdoch agreed and their divorce was finalized in June 1999. That October, Torv remarried, tying the knot with investor and widower William Mann.

Rupert Murdoch's third wife was also his intern

Rupert Murdoch met his third wife, Chinese-born Wendi Deng, when she was an intern at Star Television, a Hong Kong TV station owned by News Corp. According to New York magazine, she was a graduate of the Yale School of Management and was working on the business development team. Their paths first crossed when Murdoch was visiting the station in 1997. According to Vanity Fair, she made an impression during a staff meeting when she asked, "Why is your business strategy in China so bad?" After the meeting, she went up to Murdoch and spoke to him privately and soon, she was appointed to show him around Shanghai and be his interpreter, per The Hollywood Reporter. While some believe Deng actively seduced Murdoch, she's adamant she actually turned him down initially because, per Vanity Fair, she was worried about losing her job. In the end, however, the couple got together and in the fall of 1998, Murdoch disclosed their relationship to Star TV executives, per Insider.

Despite being 37 years his junior, Deng soon said "I do" to Murdoch in a 1999 ceremony held on his yacht, Morning Glory, in New York Harbor. They eventually had two children — Grace born in 2001 and Chloe born in 2003 — but eventually divorced in 2014. Along the way, Deng became a businesswoman in her own right, as the co-founder and co-CEO of film production company Big Feet Productions, per Deadline.

Rupert Murdoch didn't wait long wed Wendi Deng

The ink had barely dried on Rupert Murdoch's divorce from Anna Torv when, just 17 days later, he married Wendi Deng in June 1999. As The Hollywood Reporter learned, guests gathered on Murdoch's 155-foot yacht for the ceremony. The nuptials were officiated by Supreme Court Justice Jacqueline Silbermann and the media tycoon reportedly got real emotional. One guest told Vanity Fair, "Rupert gave a long speech that he loved her and would take care of her, forever and ever." However, he apparently didn't look the part. According to The Guardian, "[Murdoch] sported an ill-fitting, two-button suit which served to accentuate the age difference with his bride."

Despite how quickly they wed, Murdoch has insisted that there was no infidelity. Speaking with Neil Chenoweth for his 2002 book "Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Media Wizard," he was adamant that he didn't take Deng out on a date until 1998 when she visited London on a business trip. "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," he said in Vanity Fair (via "Rupert Murdoch").

Wendi Deng and Rupert Murdoch reportedly clashed

Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng were together for over a decade, but according to insider sources, their marriage wasn't all smooth sailing. Initially, things were off to a great start, per New York magazine, because while Anna Torv had wanted Murdoch to slow down, Deng was happy flying around the world with him. She embraced his career-centric lifestyle while also inspiring him to get healthy following his prostate cancer diagnosis in 2000. She made sure he got a personal trainer, watched his diet, and as one friend told New York mag, "He's in the best physical shape he's ever been in." Indeed, Murdoch himself once gushed, "She's a very loving, supportive wife." He also said having kids and a young wife kept him young.

All was not as it seemed, however. In 2012, Ying-Shu Hsu, a former full-time Chinese tutor and nanny in the Murdoch household, called the couple's home a "war zone." Speaking with Gawker, she accused Deng of swearing, yelling, and mistreating staff, as well as her husband. "She also curses Rupert all the time," she told the outlet, adding, "She's always yelling, crying [while] Murdoch is the calm type." She also claimed they would often sleep in separate beds and reportedly spent Christmas Day 2004 arguing about the estate. Deng wanted their daughters added to the family trust and Murdoch eventually gave them the same economic stake as his other kids but no voting rights, per Deadline. In a statement to Gawker, Murdoch and Deng's rep denied the claims.

Wendi Deng once leapt into action

Wendi Deng's most applauded moment came in 2011 when she was dubbed a real-life Charlie's Angel for protecting her then-spouse. The incident took place when Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch were being questioned by a parliamentary committee investigating alleged phone hacking taking place at their paper, News of the World. MPs were in the middle of questioning the pair when comedian-activist Jonathan May-Bowles ran up to Murdoch and threw a plate of shaving cream right in his face. Showcasing seriously impressive reflexes, Deng, who was sitting behind her husband, jumped up and pushed everyone aside to slap May-Bowles in the face. She put so much force behind the slap that it's actually audible in video footage of the incident. It also sent her tumbling to the ground.

May-Bowles later spoke with Channel 4 and confirmed that Deng did indeed club him, but she did more than that. "She hit me once and then picked up the plate and threw it back at me — pie-ing the pie-er is quite a thing to do!" he enthused. He wasn't the only person who was thoroughly impressed, as social media was abuzz with praise for her lightning-quick reaction to the assailant. One Twitter user quipped (via The Sydney Morning Herald), "THAT is good TV!”

Did Wendi Deng have an affair with a prime minister?

In June 2013, Deadline confirmed that Rupert Murdoch had filed for divorce from Wendi Deng and, according to the Daily Mail, his court documents claimed the marriage was essentially dead in the water.

The unfixable rift was supposedly a result of Deng having an affair with her husband's good friend and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. As Vanity Fair reported, Murdoch had heard rumors of his wife's infidelity in the past, but her supposed transgressions with Blair were the final straw. Indeed, various insiders told the outlet that the affair was real and that they had witnessed Deng secretly meeting Blair on numerous occasions. One source claimed they had once seen the PM going to meet Deng in her and Murdoch's primary bedroom. The same source added, "On another occasion, they were feeding each other during dinner, which made the staff uncomfortable." One more piece of incriminating evidence was a note allegedly written by Deng in which she seemed to pine for Blair. She reportedly wrote, "Whatever why I'm so so missing Tony. ... He has such good body and he has really really good legs Butt." Speaking with Vogue in 2016, Deng called these stories false; Blair's team denied the rumors to The Hollywood Reporter.

Murdoch and Deng's divorce was finalized in February 2014 but the exes continued to co-parent their daughters. Deng told Vogue, "We attend school conferences together. ... We make decisions together." 

Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall's quick courtship

In true Rupert Murdoch style, the millionaire only dated his fourth wife, model Jerry Hall, for five months before marrying her. The pair first went public with their romance at the Rugby World Cup final in October 2015, per Mirror. Despite a 25-year age gap, they were spotted laughing and looking seriously joyous throughout the whole event. As one source told the outlet, "Rupert is smitten. He's very happy because she makes him laugh and they get along so well." So happy that he soon decided to put a ring on it.

The pair quickly got engaged in January 2016 and, not wasting any time, they decided to say "I do" in March 2016. The nuptials were a two-day affair. First, there was an intimate ceremony which took place in London, England on a Friday and was only attended by the closest family and friends, per The Guardian. That was followed by a second day of celebrations when the pair held a bigger, more star-studded bash at St Bride's church. All of Murdoch and Hall's daughters were part of the ceremony and, after the church service, Hall gushed to reporters, "Absolutely wonderful, absolutely wonderful."

Rupert Murdoch reportedly ended things over email

Six years after they were married, Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall called it quits. The model filed for divorce in July 2022, but it wasn't just your average breakup. As TheMail+ learned, their union reportedly ended after the media tycoon broke up with Hall via email. She was thrown for a loop when he sent a message in which he asked for a divorce and said she would have to talk to his lawyers from that point on. A friend of Hall's told the outlet the model was broken up about it. 

The pair reportedly began to drift apart during the pandemic when Hall decided to shield her husband (who turned 89 in March 2020) from COVID-19 by monitoring who he saw. Sadly, that protection wasn't received well by Rupert's children. As one TheMail+ source bluntly explained, "They thought that Jerry was keeping them from him [and] they mistrusted her." The insider added, "She does blame the children for souring the marriage." And she may be right. A report published by The Daily Beast in July 2022 appears to corroborate Hall's side of the story. As two insiders told the outlet, Rupert's eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, apparently was involved. Not only did he seemingly push his dad to end things but he was also reportedly hands-on in the PR process. 

We'll just have to wait and see if the fifth time will be the charm for Rupert Murdoch.