Wednesday morning, the Rupert Murdoch divorce from wife Wendi Deng made news as their 14-year marriage came to an amicable end in court. They signed a 100-page document eliminating the need for a public trial.
Sources close to the Murdoch family revealed that the negotiations process and settlement went smoothly as both had signed one prenuptial and two postnuptial agreements that clearly divided their assets in case of divorce.
Perhaps the Rupert Murdoch divorce is no surprise as the 82-year old media mogul has been married twice prior to this. He married first wife, Patricia Booker, in 1958 and later divorced in 1967. Soon after, he married Anna Torv, in 1967, and divorced in 1999. He has one child with first wife, Patricia, and three children with Anna Torv. He is not known to have entered in any prenuptial agreements prior to his marriage with Wendi Deng with whom he has two children.
Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, Mr. Murdoch sits atop a media empire that includes the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News and 20th Century Fox. As of September 2013, Forbes.com set his net worth at $13.4 billion and ranked him as the world’s 91st wealthiest person. However, most of News Corporation’s fortune is held in his family trust, the A.E. Harris Trust, thus protecting it from threat of a Rupert Murdoch divorce.
While each of his six children from all three wives share equal economic benefits from the trust, his two children with Wendi do not have the same voting rights as their 4 other siblings.
As for custody arrangements, their two children will continue to live with their mother in their Manhattan Penthouse.
Their hearing was held at New York State Supreme Court, Lower Manhattan, where they each informed the judge of their signing of the divorce agreement. Judge Ellen Gesmer asked them if they understood the finality of the divorce agreement. As the settlement details had already been finalized, the proceeding was over in 10 minutes.
“I’m glad that you’ve been able to resolve these matters amicably,” the judge said.
Mr. Murdoch and Wendi Deng first met at a company party in Hong Kong in 1997. In just a few short weeks after his divorce with Anna Torv in 1999, Wendi and the media tycoon were married on board his yacht, the Morning Glory. Originally from Shandong, China, she was working for one of News Corporation’s offshoots, Star TV, in Hong Kong.
Wendi Deng, 44, is a graduate of Yale and has been a regular in the New York socialite scene. However, sources say she was surprised by the Rupert Murdoch divorce papers handed to her in June. She has maintained a low profile since then. It’s also said that their lives had become somewhat separate over time.
She is most well known for defending her husband from a pie-flinging protester in July of 2011. This happened during British parliamentary hearings of one of Mr. Murdoch’s news outlets involved in a phone hacking scandal.
As the two reached a “relatively” smooth divorce settlement, they also released a statement.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce,” they stated. “We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters. We will not comment on this any further.”
By Fatema Biviji