While the News Corp. split is currently in the works, chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch is facing another schism - at home. The media mogul is splitting from his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng Murdoch, citing a breakdown in the relationship.
Deadline broke the news that Murdoch had filed for divorce Thursday morning in New York State Supreme Court. Hours later, the company confirmed the news to multiple media outlets.
The divorce filing comes one week before the company's splitting process begins and two days after shareholders approved New Corp.'s divide into two separate companies as News Corp. and 21st Century Fox. A spokeswoman told the NY Times that the split between the couple would have no bearing on the company.
Deng is Murdoch's third wife and the mother of his two daughters, Grace and Chloe. The two married in 1999, two years after they had initially met at a cocktail party when Deng was working at Murdoch's Star TV in Hong Kong.The timing and sequence of events still remains unclear: Murdoch divorced his wife of 31 years 17 days before he had married Deng. Murdoch, however, left her one year prior to his third marriage.
Murdoch's divorce from his second wife reportedly cost him $1.7 billion and $110 million in cash. His three children from that marriage and his oldest child from his first marriage have active roles within News Corp. The four eldest Murdoch children also share equal votes in electing trustees, a right that his two youngest daughters lack, much to an "enraged" Deng who discovered this fact when Murdoch was interviewed by Charlie Rose in 2006.
The public's attitude towards the Murdoch marriage initially skewed less-than-favorable particularly with Deng, who is 38-years younger than Murdoch. The age difference alone lead bystanders to call Deng a "gold digger." A 2012 profile in the Times revealed, however, a different side of Wendi Murdoch, whose business acumen has made a profound impact on her husband's career. In 2011, Deng produced the film "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," which was released by News Corp.'s Fox Searchlight division. She also worked tirelessly to raise support and funds for New York-based art world startup, Art.sy. Her work warranted a shout-out from Murdoch via Twitter in 2012.
The most memorable, if not defining moment of their marriage took place in 2011 when a comedian named Jonathan May-Bowles heaved a pie at Murdoch during a British Parliamentary hearing during Murdoch's testimony on the News of the World tabloid phone hacking scandal. Dressed in a pink blazer, Deng instinctively slapped the pastry offender and immediately became an Internet sensation. Missed it? Watch below.