Rebekah Brooks: High flyer who flew into a storm
Published 15/07/2011 | 10:56
Rebekah Brooks devoted more than half her life to serving the British arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire.
And she weathered a mounting storm in the last 10 days as the phone-hacking scandal rocked the company to its foundations.
But with her appearance alongside her boss before a committee of MPs just days away, she finally threw in the towel.
The 43-year-old's flair for tabloid journalism and dedication to the firm earned her the position of chief executive, as well as a place in the affections of the boss.
He regarded her highly and stood by her even as the calls for her to go became a chorus and former allies began urging her to go.
As the maelstrom swirled around her last weekend, Rupert Murdoch was still standing by her.
After arriving in the UK to handle the crisis, he was asked what his priority was.
"This one", he replied, gesturing at her and smiling.
The phone-hacking revelations that finally ended her time at Wapping dogged her tenure in the top job from the start.
But she was no stranger to controversy.
While editor of the News of the World, Ms Brooks, nee Wade, launched a "naming and shaming" campaign identifying paedophiles following the murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne.
The campaign boosted circulation and eventually led to new legislation - known as Sarah's Law - but was blamed by some for sparking vigilantism and even thwarting police investigations.
Tony Butler, the then chief constable of Gloucestershire, criticised what he claimed was "grossly irresponsible" journalism.
Away from the day job, an intriguing private life also saw Ms Brooks thrust briefly into the kind of limelight normally reserved for the subjects of a tabloid exclusive.
While married to former EastEnders actor Ross Kemp, she was arrested, but later released without charge, over claims that she had attacked him.
She dismissed the incident as a row that got out of hand.
The couple divorced and in 2009 she married former racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks.
Renowned as a formidable networker, she was close to Tony Blair and is said to have enjoyed horse-riding in Oxfordshire with Prime Minister David Cameron.
An enigmatic figure, she actively avoided media interviews and adopted the same approach when MPs came calling with an invitation to appear before them in 2009 during an inquiry into phone hacking.
Such was the power she wielded, MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee let the matter drop on that occasion, rather than use parliamentary powers to force her to attend, according to an ex-member.
Former Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price claimed MPs feared their own private lives would be investigated if they pursued the request.
That apparent fear disappeared this week when the same committee summoned her, her boss and his son James to appear before them next Tuesday.
Born on May 27 1968, Ms Brooks grew up in Warrington, Cheshire, before heading off to Paris for a stint studying at the Sorbonne.
Returning to her home county, she landed a job as a secretary at Eddie Shah's Messenger Group and soon persuaded those in charge to let her loose reporting.
She then got a job working on the News of the World's Sunday magazine.
Her passion for News International was ignited and she remained at the Murdoch stable.
Sent to the Sun in 1998, two years later she landed the top job at the News of the World aged just 31.
In 2003 she became the first woman to edit the Sun and in 2009 was appointed chief executive of News International.
Mr Murdoch has spoken of her in the past in glowing terms, hailing her as a "great campaigning editor who has worked her way up through the company with an energy and enthusiasm that reflects true passion for newspapers and an understanding of the crucial contribution that independent journalism makes to society".
Her devotion to his empire was illustrated when she spoke to a departing journalist.
"Why on earth did you leave News International?" she asked.