Tuesday 27 September 2016

Rupert Murdoch was 'devastated' by ex-wife Wendi Deng's 'closeness' with Tony Blair

Heather Saul

Published 14/09/2016 | 09:15

Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng arrive at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng arrive at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Former British prime minister Tony Blair
Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch were married earlier this year Photo: Yui Mok
Australian born media magnate Rupert Murdoch (L) and his new bride, former US model Jerry Hall pose for a photograph outside St Bride's church on Fleet Street in central London on March 5, 2016, after attending a ceremony of celebration of their marriage
Rupert Murdoch (L) and his ex-wife Wendi Deng arriving on the red carpet during the opening ceremony of the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2011

Rupert Murdoch’s longest-serving editor-in-chief has claimed the News Corp boss was upset by the alleged “closeness” between his ex-wife Wendi Deng and the former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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In his memoir Making Headlines, Chris Mitchell, the former editor of the Australian, has claimed Mr Murdoch’s domestic staff reported this "closeness" to him.

He said Mr Murdoch, 85, was “clearly lonely and struggling to sleep” after separating from Ms Deng, 47, according to The Guardian. Mr Murdoch filed for divorce in November 2013 after 14 years of marriage. They have two children together and Mr Blair is godfather to one of their daughters.

In his memoir, Mr Mitchell writes: “It was clear that my boss had been devastated by the closeness he found between his wife and his former friend. I never asked what that was, but it is clear that his Australian family, alerted by domestic staff, rang the bell on whatever was going on when Rupert was out of town.”

News Corp. Founder/CEO Rupert Murdoch (R) and Wendi Deng at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
News Corp. Founder/CEO Rupert Murdoch (R) and Wendi Deng at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Mr Blair, 63, has always strenuously denied having an affair with Ms Deng and there is nothing to suggest that he did.

He was a notable absentee from the guest list when Mr Murdoch married Jerry Hall in March this year.

Mr Mitchell said Mr Murdoch is now happy and settled after marrying the former supermodel.

In March 2014, the Conde Nast publication Vanity Fair claimed to have uncovered an undated note allegedly written by Ms Deng in which she expressed admiration for Mr Blair.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair
Former British prime minister Tony Blair

“Oh, s**t, oh, s**t. Whatever why I’m so so missing Tony. Because he is so so charming and his clothes are so good,” the note reportedly read. Murdoch and Deng issued a joint statement in response in which they said they had made the decision “not to engage in public allegations or respond to negative claims”.

In December 2014, Mr Blair reacted angrily when he was asked about the issue during an interview with The Economist.

He is reported to have banged his coffee cup so hard that it made everyone in the room jump before going on to insist that the nature of his closeness with Ms Deng was “not something I will ever talk about. I haven’t and I won’t”.

Mr Mitchell, who became the editor of the Australian in 1992 and retired in 2015, described Mr Murdoch as a “loving patriarch and husband” and criticised the “caricature” he claimed left-wing media has developed of him.

Australian born media magnate Rupert Murdoch (L) and his new bride, former US model Jerry Hall pose for a photograph outside St Bride's church on Fleet Street in central London on March 5, 2016, after attending a ceremony of celebration of their marriage
Australian born media magnate Rupert Murdoch (L) and his new bride, former US model Jerry Hall pose for a photograph outside St Bride's church on Fleet Street in central London on March 5, 2016, after attending a ceremony of celebration of their marriage

Ms Deng, Mr Blair and Mr Murdoch did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 (© Independent News Service)

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