Wendi Deng is 'totally blindsided' as Murdoch plots a quiet divorce

2013-06-17 02:18:36 GMT2013-06-17 10:18:36(Beijing Time)  SINA.com
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng married in 1999.(Photo:Agencies)Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng married in 1999.(Photo:Agencies)

Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng was ‘totally blindsided’ by his decision to sue for divorce, her friends have claimed.

The 82-year-old tycoon is said to have gone to great lengths to be seen to be pursuing his normal schedule as recently as last Tuesday – when he was due to preside at a Los Angeles gala.

However, an acquaintance of the couple says that during Tuesday afternoon Mr Murdoch gave the first clue that ‘something was up’ when he abruptly cancelled his appearance to honour one of his oldest friends, Fox film studio chairman Jim Gianopulos.

Two days later a tersely worded document was filed at the New York State Supreme Court stating the power couple’s 14-year marriage had ‘broken down irretrievably’.

‘People were talking about nothing else at the gala,’ the acquaintance said.

‘Rupert was a co-chair of the event but we had no inkling anything was remiss until 4pm that afternoon when an aide called to say he couldn’t make it.

‘Everyone was gossiping, wondering if he’d been taken ill. Now it makes sense. He was probably with his lawyers putting the finishing touches to the divorce papers.’

After instructing his legal team to settle the case ‘quickly and quietly,’ the News Corp owner was last night believed to be in seclusion at the couple’s Beverly Hills mansion as he worked on his latest business deals.

Later this month he plans to split his £6 billion News Corporation company into separate entertainment and publishing divisions. He also has a long-standing dream of buying Hollywood newspaper, the LA Times.

A servant who answered the phone at his £23 million estate told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Mr Murdoch does not wish to speak to the press at this time.’

Some 3,000 miles away, Ms Deng was understood to be at another of the couple’s magnificent properties, a Fifth Avenue penthouse overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park, acquired for £30 million in 2005.

The phone was picked up by a woman who said Ms Deng was unavailable.

But a friend said: ‘She was totally blindsided by this. She says she had no idea it was coming. She’s not pretending that they didn’t have some pretty big problems. But she never thought Rupert would want to go public and admit the marriage was a big mistake.’

Another close acquaintance, billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, was as stunned as Ms Deng at the divorce filing. ‘I had no idea anything was wrong,’ Trump said last night.

‘I am friends with both Rupert and Wendi. They are great people. It always seemed a great marriage. I am sad for both of them.’

(Agencies)

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