News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch just filed to end his 14-year marriage to Wendi Deng, a woman 38 years his junior.
The pair met in 1997 in China, where Deng is from. She started as an intern at News Corp-owned Star TV, and caught Murdoch’s eye during a staff meeting in Hong Kong when she asked an intelligent question and approached him after the meeting, according to New York Magazine.
After that, in 1998, Deng worked as Murdoch’s interpreter when he was in Shanghai and Beijing, according to The Wall Street Journal.
By that summer, there were rumours circulating at Star TV that the two were having an affair. In May, Murdoch separated from his then-wife of 31 years, Anna Torv, who, according to New York Magazine, suspected that Murdoch “had a girlfriend.”
Murdoch said he didn’t start seeing Deng romantically until after he separated from Torv, but Torv insists that’s a lie, according to New York Magazine.
In the fall of 1998, Murdoch informed top Star TV executives of his relationship with Deng. She then resigned from her job at Star TV and moved to New York with Murdoch.
Murdoch’s divorce from Torv became final in June 1999 (it cost him $1.7 billion), and he married Deng on his yacht 17 days later.
If Deng was a factor in Murdoch’s divorce from Torv, it wouldn’t be the first time she was accused of breaking up a marriage.
In its 2000 profile of Deng, The Wall Street Journal reported that she was previously married to Jake Cherry, a man 30 years her senior. He and his wife Joyce, who were from L.A., met Deng in China in 1987 when they were there for work. Deng was looking for someone to tutor her in English, and Joyce took on the job.
Joyce eventually moved back to L.A., while Jake stayed in China to finish a factory project, according to the Wall Street Journal profile. Deng reportedly told them she wanted to come to the U.S. for school, and needed sponsors. Jake and Joyce helped Deng get a student visa and allowed her to live with them while she got acclimated in L.A.
But Joyce eventually grew suspicious of Deng’s relationship with Jake, according to the Wall Street Journal. She found “coquettish” photos Jake took of Deng in his Chinese hotel room, and Jake admitted that he had become infatuated with Deng.
The couple divorced, and Jake moved into an apartment with Deng. The two married in 1990, and the union lasted two years and seven months, enough time to get Deng a green card, the Wall Street Journal reported. The marriage might have, for all intents and purposes, been over long before the divorce became final — Jake claims that he told Deng to move out four months after they got married.
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