By Liana B. Baker
NEW YORK, June 13 News Corp Chief
Executive Rupert Murdoch on Thursday filed for divorce from his
wife of 14 years, Wendi, seeking to end a marriage that had been
irretrievably broken for more than six months, according to his
Murdoch, 82, married the former Wendi Deng, 44, in 1999 in
his third and her second marriage. They have two young
The divorce filing, which was sealed, comes just days before
News Corp is to split into two companies, one containing its
entertainment assets and the other holding its publishing
business. Murdoch, who Forbes says is worth $9.4 billion, is to
be chairman of both publicly traded companies.
Despite the timing, there is no connection between the
divorce and the corporate split, said a source close to News
Corp who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Deng
could not be reached for comment.
Analysts said the end of the Murdochs' marriage was unlikely
to have an impact on the media empire. Murdoch and Deng had a
prenuptial agreement, according to a person familiar with the
situation. Their girls, Grace and Chloe, have stakes in the
family trust that holds the Murdochs' stake in News Corp, but
they do not have voting rights.
"I doubt it has a substantial impact on the spin," Gabelli &
Co analyst Brett Harriss said, referring to the News Corp.
separation. "Given that it's his third wife, I see it unlikely
that he didn't plan for this contingency."
Ira Garr, an attorney listed as representing Murdoch, said
he filed the divorce papers just after 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) on
Thursday. Garr, who previously represented Ivana Trump and actor
Anthony Quinn's wife Yolanda, declined to comment further.
Deng is represented by attorney Pamela Sloan, chair of the
Family Law section of the New York State Bar Association. Sloan,
a partner of the firm Aronson Mayefsky and Sloan, did not
immediately return a call seeking comment.
Details of the prenuptial agreement were not known and it
was not clear who would move out of the Murdochs' apartment in
New York City's tony Upper East Side.
Murdoch also has four grown children, Prudence from his
first marriage, and Lachlan, James and Elisabeth from his
FROM INTERPRETER TO STAR
Deng, the daughter of a factory director in Guangzhou,
China, came to the United States in 1988 after serving as an
interpreter for a Los Angeles couple working in China. The
couple sponsored her to live with them, and the husband later
left his wife and married Deng.
After their brief marriage, Deng went on to get an MBA from
Yale and landed a job at News Corp's Star TV as an intern in
1996. She met Murdoch in 1998, when she was a junior executive
who acted as his interpreter during a business trip to China.
The pair married shortly after Murdoch divorced his wife of
31 years, Anna.
To many people outside the media industry, Deng is best
known for defending her husband from a foam pie a prankster
threw at the mogul while he was testifying before the British
Parliament over News Corp's phone-hacking scandal in July 2011.
More than halfway through the hearing, Deng suddenly leapt
from her seat to intercept the pie with a furious slap, gaining
the nickname "tiger wife."
The divorce is bound to be fodder for tabloid newspapers
around the world, though Murdoch's own New York Post and The Sun
did not have their own stories on their websites more than four
hours after the news broke.
The Post offered a link to a partner video headlined
"Billionaire News Corp. Owner Rupert Murdoch Divorcing Wife #3."
Murdoch's more sedate Times of London had the story near the top
of its homepage, with the straightforward "Rupert Murdoch: files
for divorce from wife Wendi."
An early jab came from the media website Gawker, which
offered its best parody of a Post headline.
"Loveless Body in Pointless Marriage," Gawker wrote, using
the Post's typeface imposed over a picture of Murdoch and Deng.
For related Factbox