Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has announced his engagement to 66-year-old Ann Lesley Smith. If or when the pair finally tie the knot, she will be the 92-year-old’s fifth wife.
A former San Francisco police chaplain, Smith was previously married to country singer and radio/TV executive Chester Smith until his death in 2008. He was 78 years old.
“For us both it’s a gift from God. We met last September,” she told The New York Post, a cornerstone of Murdoch’s media empire. “I’m a widow of 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.”
“In perspective, it’s not my first rodeo,” she continued. “Getting near 70 means being in the last half. I waited for the right time. Friends are happy for me.”
Murdoch, meanwhile, described meeting Smith at his vineyard Moraga in Bel Air, California.
She and her husband also owned a vineyard and had been in the wine business. Last year when there was 200 people at my vineyard, I met her and we talked a bit. Two weeks later I called her.
Steeped in wisdom I said: OK. But today it’s all about couples just living together. No ceremony. That’s the new trend. In Hollywood, they even iron out the divorce settlement before rushing ahead with any wedding.
We’re both looking forward to spending the second half of our lives together.
The Post reports that the pair will spend their time between California, the United Kingdom, Montana and New York, while friends are currently “scouring shops and designers for Ann’s gown.”
The announcement takes place less than a year after Murdoch announced his divorce from actress Jerry Hall, with the pair citing “irreconcilable differences.” Hall was previously in a long-term relationship with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, with whom she had four children. Hall and Murdoch started dating in 2015 and married a year later.
In the petition filed at Los Angeles superior court, Hall said she was “unaware of the full nature and extent of all [Murdoch’s] assets and debts, and will amend this petition when the information has been ascertained”. However, Hall later revealed she had been left “heartbroken” and “devastated” by the end of their marriage and blamed Murdoch’s children for driving a wedge between them.
“They thought that Jerry was keeping them from him,” a source close to Hall said at the time. “She does blame the children for souring the marriage. They had a lot to say about it and a role in his personal life, which she found a nasty surprise. Clearly, they mistrusted her.”
“One day they were making plans to be together for the summer in London, then there was this message instructing her to only contact him via lawyers,” the source added.
Murdoch, meanwhile, has six children across three of his four previous marriages; Prudence, 64, with his first wife Patricia Booker; Elisabeth, 54 Lachlan, 50, and James, 49, with his second wife Anna Mann; and finally two daughters Grace, 21, and Chloe, 19, with his third wife Wendy Deng.
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