Tuesday 12 December 2017

Why Jerry and Rupert prove that romance isn't dead

Andrea Smith on the unlikely relationship between the 59-year-old model and the 84-year old media mogul

Loved-up: 84-year-old Rupert Murdoch and 59-year-old Jerry Hall have announced their engagement
Loved-up: 84-year-old Rupert Murdoch and 59-year-old Jerry Hall have announced their engagement
Sarah Paulson
Barbara Windsor
Ronnie Wood and Sally Humphries
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
Hugh Hefner
Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

In 2008, 59-year-old former supermodel-turned-actress Jerry Hall explained her position on marriage while in Dublin promoting her role in the play Love Letters.

"Love is a magical thing, but it hasn't really happened to me in that I don't want to get married," she said. "I'm not going to get married again. I feel I kind of did that."

So the announcement this week that the leggy Texan is engaged to media billionaire Rupert Murdoch after a four-month romance represents a remarkable volte-face. Hall and Murdoch announced the happy news in the Births, Marriages, and Deaths section of Murdoch's Times newspaper, which raised a few eyebrows and attracted some hostile commentary.

The notice read: "Mr Rupert Murdoch, father of Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan, James, Grace and Chloe Murdoch, and Miss Jerry Hall, mother of Elizabeth, James, Georgia and Gabriel Jagger, are delighted to announce their engagement."

Not everyone shared in their joy, alas, and the jibes flowed instantly.

"Jerry Hall to wed a toad," was the unkind headline on Gawker, while the New York Daily News quoted a source that referred to the couple as "Beauty and the Beast."

Most of the vitriol centred on the fact that at 84, Murdoch is 25 years Jerry's senior, and there are several theories being bandied about around their motives.

Looking at the most obvious one, could it be that Jerry is looking for a daddy figure? This may sound ridiculous given that she's a woman in her late 50s, but Jerry had a very poor relationship with her own late father and some scars last a lifetime.

The beauty has spoken of a childhood blighted by her alcoholic, drug-addicted former US Army sergeant father, John Hall, who beat his five daughters so viciously that it "broke bones," when he returned from fighting to their modest house in the industrial town of Mesquite.

Jerry described how her dad would fly into rages, insulting his daughters and speaking to them like they were soldiers. He was so disappointed that she and her twin sister were girls when he longed for a son, he called them Jerry and Terry - boys' names.

While she partly defended her dad, who died of cancer in 1977, by citing the awful things he experienced at war and his own terrible upbringing, Jerry ran away from home at the age of 16. She bought a one-way ticket to Paris to become a model, and her childhood experience surely had to be a traumatic load to carry with her through life. So if she met a kindly older man, it would make sense that she fell for him, wouldn't it?

Another theory is that Jerry and Rupert fell for one another because they have both been publicly humiliated in love. As has been well documented, six-foot Jerry was in a 21-year relationship with Mick Jagger, with whom she has four children who range in age from 18 to 31.

She met the Rolling Stone in 1976 while posing as a mermaid for the cover of the Roxy Music album Siren, but the relationship came to a shuddering halt after Jagger got Brazilian model Luciana Morad pregnant.

In the aftermath, Jerry revealed that this dalliance wasn't the first time. "He just slept with every single girl that came around," she admitted. "It was quite tiring rushing home making sure he wasn't sleeping with someone."

It was widely assumed that Jerry and Mick's ceremony on the Indonesian island of Bali in 1990 was a marriage, but when they separated nine years later, after 21 years together, a court ruled that the union was legally invalid as the couple had failed to register their marriage.

Thrice-married, Australian-born Murdoch was similarly publicly embarrassed, when he discovered that his third wife, Wendy Deng, had allegedly developed a passionate obsession with former British prime minister, Tony Blair. She wrote a note in which she waxed lyrical about his "good body and really really good legs and butt," which was detailed in Vanity Fair magazine.

Blair, who is godfather to Wendy and Rupert's daughter, denied all suggestions of an affair, but the News Corp executive chairman filed for divorce after 14 years of marriage. It stands to reason therefore that he and Jerry would have a unique understanding of each other's position, given that they have experience of what it's like to be publicly embarrassed in love.

And it's an outside theory, but maybe the big public announcement was a subconscious way of letting the former errant spouses know, 'We've moved on very nicely from you both, thanks very much.'

Jerry has upgraded to hook up with one the world's wealthiest and most powerful media magnates, and her obvious happiness stands in stark contrast with Jagger's situation, as he lost his girlfriend of 13 years, L'Wren Scott, to suicide in 2014.

Jerry and Rupert's red carpet appearance over the weekend at the Golden Globes caused more of an international splash than the blonde beauty or, let's face it, craggy old Mick has enjoyed in years, and it's likely that she basked in that little piece of 'Well, look at little ol' me' showboating.

It was revealed that Murdoch was particularly upset that Blair was the alleged focus of his former wife's affection, as he considered him a personal friend and ally. And one wonders what Wendy Deng, 47, thinks of her former husband moving on to an older, taller and more famous woman?

Much of the criticism is targeted at the age difference between the pair, and while it does make for some funny jokes and jibes, there are some obvious questions that, er, raise their heads, mainly concerning intimacy, although maybe none of that fazes or even interests Jerry, who at 59, would be post-menopausal and might possibly prefer a cuddle on the sofa and a nice cup of tea.

Money is hardly a reason for Jerry's interest in such an older man.

Firstly, she is successful in her own right as a model and actor, received a multi-million settlement from Jagger, (who has an estimated $300 million (€277 millon) fortune, and has landed a £1million (€1,332,544) deal with publisher Harper Collins to write an autobiography.

All of this pales in comparison to Murdoch, who according to Forbes, is worth $12.4 billion (€11.4 billion).

It's likely that after three failed marriages he has a watertight pre-nup in place that will see him retain most of his fortune if they split, and just maybe he thinks the fun of her company and joy of companionship is worth losing a few quid, that let's face it, he can well afford to lose a bit if it all goes wrong.

Statistics show that there are benefits to getting married, especially for older couples, and married people are known to live longer. Studies by the National Marriage Project suggest that people in happy marriages are healthier, have more and better sex, and are richer than their unmarried counterparts.

And finally, what about the possibility that Jerry and Rupert may just be head over heels in love and want to shout it from the rooftops? Isn't that a likely theory?

After all, they are two smart, experienced individuals, who have been unlucky in love and have been stung, mentally, emotionally and financially in the past.

Maybe they're aware that they possibly won't be together for a long time, given his age, so they want to make the most of every moment.

Maybe they're well aware that it could all go horribly wrong, and the exciting adventure could ultimately cost them emotionally or financially if the wheels come off the love cart.

And maybe they realise that life is very short, money can't buy love, and if committing quickly to each other, grabbing life with both hands and shouting it out loud and proud is what makes you happy, well so be it.

Age shall not weary them: Stars who found late love

Ronnie Wood and Sally Humphries

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Ronnie Wood and Sally Humphries

Mick Jagger's fellow Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood, 68, married theatre production company owner Sally Humphries, 37, in December 2012. Ronnie is already a father of four, and he and his third wife Sally are expecting twins in June 2016.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
 

Johnny, 52, was previously married twice and was also in a 14-year relationship with Vanessa Paradis, mother of his two children. He married actress Amber, 29, in February 2015 in a private civil ceremony at their home in Los Angeles.

Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor

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Sarah Paulson
 

While it hasn't been officially confirmed, actress Sarah (above), 40, and Two And A Half Men star Holland, 72, have been pictured holding hands and have dropped several hints on social media that they are dating.

Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris

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Hugh Hefner
 

Playboy publisher Hugh (above), 89, married American glamour model, singer and DJ Crystal, 29, in 2012. They met at a party in the Playboy mansion. Hugh has been married twice before and has four children.

Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell

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Barbara Windsor
 

Carry On and Eastenders star Barbara (above), 78, married restaurateur Scott Mitchell, 52, in 2000. She had previously been married twice, on the first occasion to Ronnie Knight.

Irish Independent

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