Rupert Murdoch is back on the single scene – but $1.7 billion lighter.
The 82-year-old bachelor’s third divorce settlement is rumoured to be the second largest in history. But no need to worry ladies. As News Corp chairman and head of 21st Century Fox, there is still plenty of cash in the bank.
While the terms in Wednesday’s settlement with Wendi Deng were not made public, the world’s media immediately began speculating on the outcome of the 10-minute hearing. The news sent social media alive, some comedic tweeters suggesting Murdoch could star in the next Australian season of The Bachelor.
Deng, 44, will reportedly walk away from the 14-year marriage with $US1.7 billion, including $US100 million in cash, as well as the couple’s home in Beijing and their Fifth Avenue apartment, purchased in 2004 for $US44 million.
Only one settlement has ever exceeded this payout. New York socialite and cosmetic surgery devotee Jocelyn Wildenstein received $US3.8 billion in her divorce from art dealer Alec. According to reports at the time, Jocelyn received an outright payment of $US2.5 billion, plus $100 million per year for 13 years.
Murdoch’s settlement with Deng, based on a pre-nuptual and two post-nuptual agreements, sees him sitting at numbers 2 and 3 on the all-time divorce settlement stakes. He has now overtaken the settlement from his previous marriage to Anna, his wife of 31 years, at $1.7 billion in 1999. The Murdoch-Deng divorce payout is closely followed by other famous divorcees including #4 Bernie Eccleston ($1.2 billion), #7 Mel Gibson ($425 million), and #10 Arnold Schwarzenegger ($250 million-plus).
In a joint statement after the hearing, the couple said they were pleased to have reached an “amicable” settlement: “We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters.”
Deng met Murdoch when working as a junior executive at News Corp’s Star TV in China, serving as his interpreter on a business trip. The couple married in 1999, and have two children, Grace, 12, and Chloe , 10. Deng literally leapt into the media spotlight in 2011 when she intercepted a shaving cream pie aimed at her husband during a British parliamentary hearing into the News of the World phone hacking scandal, earning her the nickname “Tiger wife”. – Gavin Taylor
Top photo of Murdoch from World Economic Forum’s Flickr photostream. Inset photo taken from Twitter.