Rupert Murdoch and his third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, had been living as a married couple until just a few weeks ago.
While media pundits around the world claimed on Friday that the couple had been living increasingly separate lives, Murdoch’s Sydney friends said they were ”as shocked as anyone” to learn on Friday morning that the 82-year-old had filed divorce papers in New York to bring his 14-year marriage to Deng Murdoch, 44, the mother of his two youngest daughters, Grace, 11, and Chloe, 9, to an end.
”We have all heard the rumours but I can tell you they were still together until very recently. This is a decision he has made on a personal level … I suspect it is about a personal principle, he is not considering how he is going to be perceived by the media but rather how he wants to live his life,” one of Murdoch’s closest associates, who asked to remain anonymous, said on Friday.
Murdoch, who was in Sydney last week without his wife and flew back to the United States last Sunday, has been joined in New York by his son Lachlan.
On Friday morning Lachlan Murdoch’s wife, Sarah, made a surprise appearance at St George College Kogarah to model for her god-daughter, fashion design student Fauve Hughes, for marking day.
She did not comment on the divorce news.
It is understood Deng Murdoch and her daughters have opted to stay at the family’s Californian home, where Deng Murdoch has established a wide circle of friends in Los Angeles including actors Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, the musician Bono and showbiz power players including former Viacom boss Tom Freston and Steven Spielberg.
However, daughters Grace and Chloe are both enrolled at school in New York, where the family had lived in an apartment overlooking Central Park for which they paid a reported $US44 million, at the time the most expensive residence in New York.
While the news was predictably played down in the Murdoch-owned press around the world, the wider media has also shown considerable restraint when it comes to speculation about the reasons behind the octogenarian’s decision to file for divorce. According to the papers filed with the Supreme Court in New York, the marriage had ”broken down irretrievably”.
Murdoch’s New York-based biographer, Michael Wolff, wrote on his Twitter account: ”I’m hearing the WHY, the big reveal, the scandal details, could come tomorrow.”
BBC financial correspondent Robert Peston, described as a confidante of many of Murdoch’s key lieutenants, including News Corp CEO Robert Thomson, tweeted: ”Am also told that undisclosed reasons for Murdoch divorcing Deng are jaw-dropping – & hate myself for wanting to know what they are.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.