Rupert Murdoch, 92, Calls off Engagement to Ann Lesley Smith Weeks After Announcement

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/File)

Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch has called off his engagement to Ann Lesley Smith, just weeks after announcing the news in an article for The New York Post.


The news of the broken engagement was first reported by Vanity Fair, which described it as the end of a “whirlwind romance that generated headlines around the world.”

Reporter Gabriel Sherman claimed that Murdoch was left “uncomfortable” with Smith’s strong Evangelical views:

Wedding bells may not be ringing for Rupert Murdoch anytime soon. According to sources close to Murdoch, the 92-year-old Fox Corporation chairman and Ann Lesley Smith, a 66-year-old former dental hygienist turned conservative radio host, have abruptly called off their engagement.

Murdoch and Smith reportedly planned to marry this summer, less than a year after Murdoch finalized his divorce from his fourth wife, model-actor Jerry Hall. One source close to Murdoch said he had become increasingly uncomfortable with Smith’s outspoken evangelical views.

A former San Francisco police chaplain, Smith was previously married to country singer and radio and TV executive Chester Smith until his death in 2008.

“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, on announcing the news in April. “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 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 announcement took place less than a year after Murdoch confirmed his divorce from actress Jerry Hall, 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 began 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 them apart.


Smith, meanwhile, would have been Murdoch’s fifth wife. He 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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