Friday 6 December 2019

Video: How ultimate Tiger Wife clawed her way to the top

Wendi aims a right hook at Murdoch's attacker
Wendi aims a right hook at Murdoch's attacker

Cristina Odone

What had started as the trial of the media's biggest mogul was settling into the siesta of the patriarch: Rupert Murdoch seemed to be talking in his sleep, while James Murdoch fanned away the MPs' annoying questions, lest they disturb Dad.

Viewers longing for drama felt short-changed. None of the lawmakers had laid a glove on the media mogul. And then -- splat! -- the (slapstick) comedian Jonathan May-Bowles threw a 'pie' of shaving foam at Murdoch Senior and unleashed the Tiger Wife. In an instant, Wendi Deng, Murdoch's Chinese-American spouse, leapt to her feet and sprang past bystanders to pummel her husband's assailant. MPs, Murdochs and media types could only gape, electrified as proceedings fast-forwarded from Perry Mason to 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.

Those who know Wendi well (and they include Tony Blair, Mark Zuckerman and Bono) won't have batted an eyelid at her jaw-dropping performance. Rupert Murdoch's third wife has form. A volleyball player from southern China doesn't climb to the top without fierce determination. Other people on Wendi's ascent have already experienced her fury.

The first victim was Joyce Cherry, a pleasant American who, together with husband Jake, befriended Wendi during their trip to China. Impressed by the teenager's brilliance and thirst for self-improvement, Joyce and Jake sponsored Wendi's application for a student visa to America. Alas, 19-year-old Wendi soon bewitched Jake, who left poor old Joyce to marry their young protegee.

Victim number two was Jake himself: his usefulness came to an end a few months later when Wendi won a place to study business at Yale University. Days from graduation, Wendi had a job at the Murdoch-owned Star TV, where she quickly caught the Big Boss's eye. Hence the third corpse in the trail to marry Murdoch: Rupert's second wife, Anna.

But if the Wendi house conceals a few skeletons, it also offers glimpses of her protective instincts. Conscious of the 38-year gap between them, Wendi has placed Rupert on a tough regime of 6am weightlifting, washed down by a fruit and soy protein cocktail. And she wags her finger at his workaholic schedule.

So Wendi's slap didn't just scotch rumours that hers was a sham marriage: a purely trophy wife would have winked at the assailant. No, with a quick right hook, she jumped to the head of the queue of the defenders of matrimony. It is a short but colourful roll-call including Ivana Trump, Cherie Blair, Anne Sinclair (aka Mme Strauss Khan), and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

The Tiger Wives' Club is small but perfectly informed: these women know that their husbands need their commitment and support. In her eagerness to make her man shine, the Tiger Wife will disarm any assailant. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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