Before being forced to resign by the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks was named CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News International at 41, after editing his papers News of the World and The Sun.
Her wild success at such a young age was unprecedented in the British tabloid industry — particularly when she had no prior journalism experience. Now we have a few more details of how it happened.
Vanity Fair published a long profile of Brooks by Susan Andrews that details the strange, incredibly close relationship between her and Murdoch.
The whole story — which Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, is notably absent from — is worth reading, but here are some of the highlights regarding the pair.
- Brooks seemed closer to Murdoch than his daughters, and was close with the entire family.
- Murdoch, when talking about Brooks, says he “adores her,” “is devoted to her,” and “is besotted” with her. Brooks would fuss over Murdoch at dinner parties.
- They would swim together when she was in London.
- Murdoch unexpectedly fired News of the World editor Phil Hall and replaced him with Brooks, then Rebekah Wade, in 2000. He installed her as The Sun editor in 2003.
- After Wade assaulted her then husband over suspected infidelity, “No charges were filed, and, as the press reported, she emerged from an eight-hour stint in jail and went straight to the office — wearing a designer suit Rupert Murdoch had sent to the police station.”
- Brooks’ second husband, Charles Brooks, had his novel published by Murdoch’s HarperCollins.
- Brooks served as the liaison between James and Rupert Murdoch as their relationship fell apart.
- Murdoch only let her resign “under intense pressure,” and ensured her a $2.7 million severance, a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, and a London office after she left.
Although Brooks hasn’t been charged with anything as of yet, the investigation is ongoing.