Rupert Murdoch hopes the fifth time is a charm.
The 92-year-old executive chairman of News Corp recently announced his engagement to Ann Lesley Smith. This is Murdoch’s fifth time walking down the aisle.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 20, 2023
Murdoch first made the news public in an interview with gossip columnist Cindy Adams in the New York Post, a tabloid he owns. He said he popped the question to his bride-to-be on New York’s St. Patrick’s Day.
“I was very nervous. I was afraid to fall in love – but I knew it would be my last. It better be. I’m happy,” he said.
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Who is Ann Lesley Smith?
Smith, 66, began her career as a dental hygienist and has also been a model and singer.
Her first marriage to wealthy attorney John B. Huntington made her a multi-millionaire socialite overnight. But the emotionally abusive relationship ended badly and she lost almost everything — thanks to a prenuptial agreement, she told the Christian broadcasting network.
Her second marriage to country music star Chester Smith was much more harmonious until he died of a heart attack in 2008. The two recorded an album together.
Like Murdoch, Smith was also a radio and TV executive. He founded Sainte Television Group, the largest private broadcasting company with stations. He died in 2008.
“I’ve been a widow for 14 years,” Smith said. “My husband was a businessman… So I speak Rupert’s language. We share the same beliefs,” she said.
After her husband’s death, Smith became a police chaplain for the San Francisco Police Department.
“When I’m on the phone and I’m dealing with people who are in a lot of pain, I say, ‘I’ve been here. I’ve been here and you can get out.’ It gives them hope,” she says.
They met at a party
Murdoch and Smith first met at a bash Murdoch hosted a few years ago at his Moraga vineyard in Bel Air, California. She and her husband were also in the wine business and knew the Murdochs.
Last year, when there were 200 people in my vineyard, I met her and we talked. Two weeks later I called her,” Murdoch explains.
The couple went public with their romance a few months after Murdoch and his ex-wife, Jerry Hall, finalized their divorce.
According to Adams, they plan to tie the knot at the end of the summer.
“It’s not my first rodeo. Getting close to 70 means you’re in the last half. I was waiting for the right moment,” said Smith.
Murdoch seems equally enthusiastic. “We both look forward to spending the second half of our lives together,” he said.