Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng hire his’n’hers legal teams

Speculation over ‘jaw-dropping’ cause of split sends Twitter into overdrive

If only someone could invent a way of eavesdropping on Rupert Murdoch’s voicemail messages, or hacking into Wendi Deng’s emails, or even finding a public official who was happy to be bribed. Then the world might learn just what it is that caused the 82-year-old billionaire to file for divorce from his formidable 44-year-old wife.

But, in the absence of these aids, the world was left with continued and ever more fanciful speculation, much of it fuelled by the teasing claim from the BBC’s Robert Peston that the reason for the break-up was “jaw-dropping”. No one yet seems to have the slightest idea what he could have meant by this (least of all himself, apparently).

With the Tony Blair camp having issued emphatic denials that he succumbed to Ms Deng’s networking skills, it was left to the planet’s Twitterati to indulge their favoured activity: debating with profound ignorance the private lives and motives of people they’ve never met.

We are therefore forced to rely on the few crumbs falling from the tables of people who might actually know something. Such as the News Corp insider who said that the leak of the impending divorce took Mr Murdoch by surprise, almost as much surprise, in fact, as did the revelations some years ago in The Wall Street Journal of his wife’s chequered history with older men. (When barely out of her teens she so beguiled the  50-year-old husband of the couple who brought her to America that he began an affair with her, was booted out of house and home, married the young Ms Deng, and then, in turn, less than six months later, found himself being cuckolded.)

The cooling of Mr Murdoch’s octogenarian ardour is not – according to his biographer, and, by hearsay, his son Lachlan – a sudden development. The formal word was that the “irretrievable breakdown” had occurred over the last six months, but it may have been much longer in gestation than that.

Lachlan Murdoch, reportedly, has told several people that his father had long since concluded that marrying Ms Deng was “a mistake”. And the tycoon’s biographer Michael Wolff has said that, when he was regularly meeting with Mr Murdoch in 2008, the media mogul gave every appearance of not having slept at home, “but, rather, had arrived minutes before me with clothes bundled in his briefcase”.

Further evidence that the split had been some time in the planning came with the swift announcement of the lawyers the pair had engaged. Hers is Pamela M Sloan of Aronson Mayefsky & Sloan, his Ira E Garr, who acted for Ivana Trump in her divorce from Donald. Ms Trump, incidentally, claimed more than was stipulated in her pre-nup agreement, a portent, perhaps, of things to come. There is, with fancy homes on most continents except Antarctica, and the tussle over not just her share of his assets, but Mr Murdoch’s future legacy for her daughters, much to argue about. Genuinely jaw-dropping it may yet become.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen