Rupert Murdoch and Ann Lesley Smith ‘call off engagement after two weeks’

Marriage would have been media mogul’s fifth

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Wednesday 05 April 2023 14:50 BST
Rupert Murdoch Set To Marry His Fifth Wife At 92

Rupert Murdoch and Ann Lesley Smith have reportedly called off their engagement, just two weeks after announcing their plans to marry.

On 4 April, Vanity Fair reported that sources close to the 92-year-old media mogul said the couple had “abruptly” called off their engagement, with one source citing Murdoch’s alleged discomfort with Smith’s evangelical views.

Murdoch, who has been married four times previously, announced his engagement to the former dental hygienist, 66, last month. “I was very nervous. I dreaded falling in love - but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy,” the Fox Corporation chairman told gossip columnist Cindy Adams in an article published in the New York Post.

At the time, Murdoch revealed he’d proposed to Smith with an Asscher-cut diamond solitaire ring, which he personally selected, on St Patrick’s Day. According to the 92-year-old, he’d chosen the date because he’s “one-fourth Irish”.

Smith, whose ex-husband, country music singer Chester Smith, died in 2008, told the outlet that the engagement was a “gift from God”.

“I’m a widow 14 years. Like Rupert, my husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations and helped promote Univision. So I speak Rupert’s language. We share the same beliefs,” she said at the time. “In perspective, it’s not my first rodeo. Getting near 70 means being in the last half. I waited for the right time. Friends are happy for me.”

The marriage, which the couple said was to take place in the summer, would have been Murdoch’s fifth. He was previously married to Jerry Hall, Wendi Murdoch, Anna Murdoch Mann, and Patricia Booker.

Hall and Murdoch, who were married for six years, finalised their divorce just seven months before the media mogul announced his engagement to Smith.

Prior to her marriage to her late husband, Smith was also previously married once before, to John B Huntington.

In 2013, she told the Christian Broadcasting Network that, after a “bitter” divorce, she found meaning in her life through religion.

“I was so hurt, so alone, and so rejected ... And I prayed for God to help me and forgive me of my sins,” she said, adding: “The Lord gave me thirst and a hunger for Him, and I actually replaced the things of the world with the Scriptures. As I began to walk with God, the things of the world just seemed pointless to me.”

The Independent previously reported that Murdoch and Smith met late last year before making their relationship official last Christmas, when Smith attended a dinner at Murdoch’s home in Mayfair. Smith confirmed last month that they met in September at Murdoch’s vineyard in Bel Air, California.

The Independent has contacted a representative for Murdoch for comment.

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