Two years after Wendy Deng Murdoch threw herself in front of a pie and then lunged at the pie thrower in order to protect her husband in London, Rupert Murdoch has thrown divorce papers at her.
Citing a breakdown in their relationship, media mogul Murdoch (82) filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years. The one page document was filed in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. According to sources, the sealed document says, “the relationship between the husband and wife has broken down irretrievably.”
The couple met in 1999 on a business trip. They were introduced at a cocktail party in Hong Kong. She was a Yale graduate, working as a junior executive at Star TV, a subsidiary of Murdoch’s media empire, News Corp. He was married at the time he met her. Two years later he divorced his second wife and married Deng within days. The wedding took place in New York on his elaborate 155 feet yacht.
Murdoch paid his second wife a $1.7 billion settlement, and according to media sources it was perhaps the most expensive divorce in history.
In an incident that made headlines, Deng, attired in a pink suit, famously stood by her husband, pouncing at a protester who attacked her husband with a pie. The incident happened in July 2011 at a British parliamentary hearing into a phone hacking scandal by News Corp. newspapers.
Murdoch has two young daughters with 44-year-old Deng, Grace and Chloe, ages 11 and 9. In addition, he also has four other children from his previous marriages. Three of these children, James, Lachlan and Elisabeth are from his second marriage and are actively involved in his company. He has one child from his first marriage, Prudence.
Grace and Chloe, his children from his current marriage, are beneficiaries of 8.7 million non-voting shares. They are held in a trust by their mother. Deng herself has non-voting shares.
According to sources, the couple is said to have fought over this financial disparity between Rupert Murdoch’s children. In 2006 Murdoch, allegedly, said in an interview that Grace and Chloe would be on a level footing in terms of the family’s economic trust with his children from his previous marriages, but they would not have the same voting rights.
The media tycoon himself controls nearly 40% of the voting shares of News Corp.through a separate family trust. Upon his death, four of his eldest children will continue to have the most say in who controls News Corp.
A year ago, Deng was profiled in a New York Times story which asserted that two Murdochs were leading “largely separate lives and sleeping in separate bedrooms.”
Murdoch’s net worth was listed at $11.2 billion by Forbes in March, ranking him 33rd on the U.S. billionaire’s list.
Sources say Deng may be able to demand a large divorce settlement because she has actively contributed to the Murdoch business in China. According to reports she is chief of strategy for its social networking site MySpace.
Born in China, Deng produced the movie Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which was released in 2011 by News Corp.’s Fox Searchlight. According to sources movie did not recover its $6 million budget.
Sources say the couple has filed for joint custody of their children.
By Perviz Walji