Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall Said to Be Divorcing

From a New York Times story by Jim Rutenberg and Benjamin Mullin headlined “Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall Are Said to Be Divorcing”:

Rupert Murdoch, the media titan, and Jerry Hall, the model and actress, are getting divorced, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. Bryce Tom, a spokesman for Mr. Murdoch, declined to comment. Representatives for Ms. Hall could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Murdoch’s divorce, his fourth, is unlikely to alter the ownership structure of businesses he holds stakes in, which include parent companies of Fox News and The Wall Street Journal. The Murdoch family’s shares in the companies Mr. Murdoch founded reside in a strictly managed trust. Mr. Murdoch splits voting rights over that trust with his four oldest children — Lachlan, Elisabeth, James and Prudence — and has arranged them so that he can never be outvoted.

Still, the split could reverberate throughout his business empire, which maintains powerful sway in America and abroad through its right-leaning news brands including the Fox News Channel in the United States, The Sun in Britain and Sky News in Australia.

During the early days of the marriage, aides and people close to the family said he was happily devoting more time to his new wife, leaving room for his children — most important, his eventual chosen successor, Lachlan — to assert themselves at the top of the corporate hierarchy.

Some people close to Mr. Murdoch were surprised to hear of his split from Ms. Hall.

Mr. Murdoch and Ms. Hall wed in March 2016 at a centuries-old mansion in central London. Mr. Murdoch marked the occasion by announcing on Twitter that he would stop posting on the platform, calling himself “the luckiest and happiest man in the world.”

The October-December pairing — Ms. Hall is 65, Mr. Murdoch 91 — made the couple the regular subject of rival tabloids, with paparazzi regularly catching the two smiling broadly on a pristine beach, in a wintry football stadium or at a black-tie opening.

Last year, Ms. Hall attended Mr. Murdoch’s 90th birthday party at Tavern on the Green, a swanky restaurant in Central Park. Ms. Hall doted on Mr. Murdoch during the festivities, which were attended by luminaries from the realms of business, sports and politics, the person said.

Previously, Mr. Murdoch was married to Wendi Deng, an entrepreneur and investor, from 1999 to 2014. He divorced his second wife, Anna, a former newspaper reporter, in 1999, after more than three decades. Mr. Murdoch’s first wife was Patricia Booker, an Australian model, whom he divorced in 1965.

Ms. Hall was previously married to the singer Mick Jagger, but their marriage was annulled in 1999.

Jim Rutenberg is a writer at large for The Times and the Sunday magazine. He was previously the media columnist, a White House reporter and a national political correspondent. He was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2018 for exposing sexual harassment and abuse.

Also see the Washington Post story by Sarah Ellison and Elahe Izadi headlined “Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall to divorce after six years.

Rupert Murdoch, the mogul who controls Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the British Sun tabloid among a host of other media properties, and former actress-supermodel Jerry Hall are divorcing after six years, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

This signals the end of Murdoch’s fourth, and shortest, marriage. The pair wed in March 2016 when Murdoch was 85 and Hall was 59, in a London ceremony that resembled a boldface blended family portrait with her children (whose father is Mick Jagger) and his (who include the now-CEO of Fox Corp.) in attendance.

News of the split was first reported by the New York Times. A spokesman for Murdoch declined to comment. A spokesman for Hall could not be reached.

As emissaries of wildly disparate celebrity worlds, the pair were the subject of endless media fascination. Shortly after their nuptials, the Daily Mail declared “the couple couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces” at a New York City gala. Years later, the same newspaper published paparazzi photos of a “romantic evening meal” in London.

But Murdoch’s marriage to Hall still managed to avoid most of the tabloid friction that crackled through his previous union with Wendi Deng. Deng, a former News Corp employee who met Murdoch at a company event, famously smacked down a protester who threw a foam pie at Murdoch during a 2011 British parliamentary hearing. And it was during that 1999-2014 marriage that Murdoch broke up the terms of the trust that controls his family’s media empire to make space for his two daughters with Deng. Around the same time, Lachlan Murdoch, Murdoch’s older son and then his heir apparent, left the family business and returned to Australia; he has since returned as a key leader of the Murdoch empire.

Murdoch divorced his second wife, Anna, a former newspaper reporter, in 1999 after 32 years of marriage and three children. He had one child with his first wife, Patricia Booker, to whom he was married from 1956 to 1967.

While a divorce from Hall is unlikely to impact the trust, people close to the elder Murdoch are on the watch for how it might affect his attention to his businesses. One speculated that he may be more inclined to take more interest in the goings-on of the two companies his family controls.

Although Murdoch sold the bulk of his empire in a $71 billion sale to Disney in 2019, he remained a formidable presence in both media and politics through his media outlets. He was a frequent unofficial adviser to former president Donald Trump, although he distanced himself from Trump leading up to the 2020 election; the two men’s relationship further suffered after Murdoch’s Fox News projected that Trump lost Arizona, an election call that came before other news organizations followed.

Hall, a Texas native, was one of the defining top models of the 1970s before segueing into a handful of 1980s acting roles as well as half of one of the era’s most glamorous jet-set couples. But her two-decade relationship with Jagger ended in 1999 when she filed for divorce — and a British court agreed with Jagger’s argument that their 1990 wedding in Bali had never been a legally binding ceremony. While tabloids speculated that Hall received only a tiny fraction of Jagger’s fortune at the time of their annulment, their lawyers released a joint statement saying “a mutually acceptable legal and financial settlement has been reached.”

Sarah Ellison is a staff writer based in New York for The Washington Post. Previously, she wrote for Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, where she started as a news assistant in Paris.

Elahe Izadi covers media for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2014 as a general assignment reporter, and has covered pop culture, Congress, demographics and breaking news.

Speak Your Mind