Jerry Hall 59, and Rupert Murdoch 84, have announced their engagement after a four month whirlwind romance.
The couple got engaged in Los Angeles where they were attending the Golden Globe awards. If their history of long marriages continues, Ms Hall is likely to be the last Mrs Murdoch. The empire and his colourful life have all the ‘hall’ marks of a drama waiting to happen.
Ms Hall the former supermodel has four children with her former partner Sir Mick Jaggar and Mr Murdoch has six.
For Mr Murdoch this is his fourth marriage. His first marriage was to Australian Patricia Booker with whom he had one daughter Prudence who is now 57. Their marriage lasted for eleven years and ended in divorce in 1967. She walked away with a settlement of $1.2 billion.
He then married Glasgow-born journalist Anna Tory with whom he had three children, Elisabeth 47, Lachlan 44 and James 43. Lachlan was reinstated into the business empire after ten years and is now co-executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. His brother is CEO of 21st Century Fox. He was Chairman of the group’s holding company News Group Newspapers when the news of the phone hacking scandal broke. All three children have the business acumen of their father, but only James and Lachlan work in his empire, News Corporation which owns The Sun, the Wall Street Journal and Fox Entertainment Group. He was married to Ms Tory for 32 years who walked away with a settlement worth $1.7 billion when the couple divorced in 1999. Elisabeth and James are not close following her public criticism of her brother about the phone hacking scandal.
His third wife Wendi Deng, a Chinese business woman, was divorced by Mr Murdoch after a fourteen year relationship amid rumours of her infatuation with the former Prime Minister Tony Blair. They have two children Grace 14 and Chloe 12. They were included with the other children as beneficiaries to the stock pool to which his other children are entitled.
Ms Deng was given a settlement to include a $44million apartment in New York a $20 million apartment in Beijing in addition to the assets under their pre-nuptial agreement.
Each of the six children of Mr Murdoch share in a stock pool which was valued in 2006 at $2billion – so are likely to inherit at least $300 million.
For Ms Hall this will be her first proper wedding. Her marriage to Jagger was declared invalid when the pair split after their 23 year relationship ended in 1999.
Mr Murdoch is rumoured to have a net worth of $18 billion so there is plenty left for Ms Hall. If the couple follow the example of his third marriage they will most likely have a pre-nuptial which will no doubt be reflected in any settlement the couple decide on his death.
Although all six children benefit from the stock pool, only two work in the business so their influence will be the greatest. Although we know of the disagreement between Elisabeth and her brother James, other family disharmony will only come to light on the death of their father and then for the sake of his empire I hope he has given more than a cursory thought on how to avoid family disputes turning to full scale litigation through effective Family Governance checks and balances.
With an empire the size of Mr Murdoch’s and with each child being independently wealthy there is plenty of scope for conflict and litigation – and now a further complication has been added in the form of a new and beautiful wife Ms Hall.