Rupert Murdoch in rift with Tony Blair over claims of 'multiple' encounters with ex-wife Wendi Deng
A 'terminal' rift has severed relations between Rupert Murdoch and Tony Blair over reports of Mr Blair's friendship with the entrepreneur's ex-wife Wendi Deng, it is claimed.
Blair has always stated that his relationship with Deng is platonic and there is no suggestion of any impropriety by Blair or Deng.
Despite efforts by Blair to contact Murdoch, the media mogul has refused to speak to him since he filed for divorce from Deng in June, according to the Mail on Sunday.
Sources close to Murdoch in London claim that Blair, 60, and Deng, 44, had 'multiple encounters' without 82-year-old Murdoch's knowledge.
They are said to have stayed overnight at Murdoch's £12m California home on weekends in October 2012 and April 2013, and spent a weekend at Murdoch's LA home and meetings in London and New York.
Murdoch and Deng's divorce was finalised by a US court last week after the couple reached an "amicable" divorce settlement to end their 14-year marriage.
On Saturday night a feud erupted between allies of Blair and Murdoch, whose stable of newspapers includes The Sun and The Times.
A close friend of Blair told the Daily Mail: "Rupert Murdoch is putting out ridiculous stories about Wendi and Tony which are not true. It is the ravings of a sad old man."
A friend of Murdoch told the newspaper: "Rupert Murdoch will have nothing more to do with Tony Blair. Not ever."
Murdoch and Blair were close allies for many years and Murdoch's support is widely considered to have been a crucial factor in Labour's three consecutive election victories from 1997 onwards.
Blair and Murdoch were good friends, and Blair even became godfather to the Murdochs' daughter Grace in 2010.
Allies of Murdoch told the Daily Mail that he is said to have been "shocked" to learn that Wendi had met Mr Blair without his knowledge. He is said to have asked her for an explanation.
Speculation of an affair between Blair and Deng first emerged in June after a tweet from BBC journalist Robert Peston who said: "Am told that undisclosed reasons for Murdoch divorcing Deng are jaw-dropping and hate myself for wanting to know what they are."
At the time a spokesperson for Blair denied an affair with Deng.
Murdoch met Deng, a Yale business school graduate, in 1997 on a business trip to Shanghai when he sought to hire a translator and guide.
Spokespeople for Blair, Murdoch and Deng did not respond to requests for comment.