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Rupert Murdoch gets engaged for the sixth time, reports say

The media mogul has been married four times and engaged five times before

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Friday 08 March 2024 01:19 GMT
Joe Lycett mocks Rupert Murdoch about 'two-week fiancée'

Rupert Murdoch has reportedly got engaged for the sixth time at the age of 92.

On 7 March, the Australian-born media mogul’s office confirmed to the New York Times that he will be heading down the aisle with 66-year-old retired molecular biologist Elena Zhukova, with the wedding set to take place in June at his California estate and vineyard, Moraga.

The upcoming wedding would mark Murdoch’s fifth marriage. The mogul was last married to supermodel – and Mick Jagger’s ex-wife – Jerry Hall from 2016 to 2022. He first got married in 1956 to flight attendant Patricia Booker. However, the pair divorced after 11 years of marriage in 1967. They share one child, daughter Prudence.

Within the same year of divorcing Booker, Murdoch married his second wife, Scottish journalist Anna Maria Torv, and they shared three children: Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James. In 1999, they divorced after 32 years of marriage. Months later, Murdoch married Wendi Deng, with whom he shares two daughters, Grace and Chloe. The pair divorced in 2013.

After he and supermodel Jerry Hall divorced in the summer of 2022, Murdoch had a short-lived engagement with retired dental hygienist Ann Lesley Smith in the spring of 2023, but it ended after just two weeks.

That summer, Murdoch and Zhukova reportedly began to see each other. When news broke of their relationship, it was revealed by the Daily Mail that Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi Deng, was the one to introduce the pair.

Zhukova is a distinguished molecular biologist who primarily studies diabetes, having taken her research to institutions all over the world, including the University of California, Los Angeles. Towards the end of the Soviet Union, she came to the US from Moscow alongside her ex-husband, Alexander Zhukov, who eventually became a billionaire energy investor. Their daughter, philanthropist Dasha Zhukova, was married to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich until 2017.

News of their engagement comes months after he handed over the reins of his media empire to his son, Lachlan Murdoch. In September he announced that he was retiring as the chief of Fox Corp and News Corp, but planned on maintaining a role as chairman emeritus as his son transitioned into the role he left behind.

“For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change,” he wrote in a letter to employees at the time. “But the time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become sole Chairman of both companies.”

Murdoch’s latest marriage will be unlikely to have any significant impact on his business affairs since Fox Corp and News Corp are controlled by a family trust, in which all of the shares belong to him and his four eldest children: Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James.

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