Rupert Murdoch, 92, engaged to Ann Lesley Smith following fourth divorce
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is engaged for the fifth time, less than a year after his divorce from Jerry Hall.
The 92-year billionaire revealed he had proposed to Ann Lesley Smith, 66, a former San Francisco police chaplain.
Mr Murdoch told the New York Post, one of his own newspapers, that he hoped this would be his last marriage after four previous unions ended in divorce.
He said: “I was very nervous. I dreaded falling in love, but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy.”
Mr Murdoch, who owns titles including The Times and The Sun, as well as Fox News, met Ms Smith just six months ago after his divorce from Jerry Hall was finalised.
She attended a 200-person event at his vineyard in Bel Air, California, and he called her two weeks later.
Ms Smith, who was previously married to country music singer and TV executive Chester Smith, described the engagement as a “gift from God”.
She said: “I’m a widow 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.”
Mr Murdoch proposed in New York on St Patrick’s Day, joking that he is “one-fourth Irish”. The billionaire told the New York Post he personally selected an Asscher cut diamond for the engagement ring.
The wedding is scheduled to take place this summer. The couple will divide their time between the UK, California, New York and Montana.
Mr Murdoch’s six-year marriage to former supermodel Jerry Hall ended last year. Ms Hall was reportedly handed the keys to an £11m Oxfordshire mansion and a home in the south of France, as well as a cash sum, as part of the divorce settlement.
The businessman’s first marriage to Patricia Booker, an Australian flight attendant, lasted nine years.
In 1967 he married Anna Torv, a Glasgow-born journalist, and the pair remained together for 32 years. She received a reported $1.7bn payout following their divorce in 1999.
He then married Wendi Deng, who is 37 years his junior, on his yacht just 17 days later. That marriage lasted 14 years until their divorce in 2013.
The tycoon has six children from his previous marriages, including daughter Elisabeth – a top TV executive – and sons James and Lachlan.
He is now preparing to hand over control of his media empire to chosen heir Lachlan, who is executive chairman of Fox Corporation and co-chairman of News Corp.
However, Mr Murdoch’s children retain interests in the business and there is a speculation that there could be a battle for control, sparking comparisons to hit TV series Succession.
In January, the patriarch was forced to call off a planned merger between Fox and News Corp – a deal widely seen as a way of consolidating power under Lachlan – following fierce opposition from shareholders.