LOS ANGELES — Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng Murdoch, with whom he has two daughters, according to a filing with New York State Supreme Court.
A spokeswoman for Murdoch’s media company, News Corp., confirmed Murdoch had made the filing, which said the “relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably.”
Wendi Murdoch, 44, was informed in advance of the decision, according to a person close to the family.
The filing, first reported by Deadline Hollywood, comes after years of whispered comments that the couple had grown apart, pursuing separate interests, often from different coasts.
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Murdoch, 82, first met Wendi Deng on a business trip to China when she was a young executive at his company’s Star TV division in Hong Kong. They wed in front of 82 guests in 1999 aboard Murdoch’s 155-foot yacht, the Morning Glory, in New York Harbor.
A year before Murdoch wed Deng, he left his second wife, Anna, to whom he had been married for 31 years. That divorce is reported to have cost Murdoch $1.7 billion, including $110 million in cash. He and Anna had three children: Lachlan, James and Elisabeth.
Murdoch divorced his first wife, Patricia, in 1967. They had one daughter, Prudence.
The divorce from Wendi Murdoch and decisions about the place the couple’s daughters, Grace, 11, and Chloe, 9, will have in Murdoch’s media empire are expected to be contentious.
In 2006, a battle erupted after Murdoch said in a TV interview with Charlie Rose that Grace and Chloe would have an equal economic interest in the family’s trust, but would not have the same voting rights as his children from his previous two marriages. The couple worked out a more mutually acceptable agreement.
In recent years, Wendi Murdoch, who was born in humble beginnings in eastern China, has taken on a wider range of professional endeavors, including producing the movie “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.”
The movie, released by News Corp.’s Fox Searchlight division in July 2011, was eclipsed when news surfaced that Murdoch’s British tabloid News of the World had hacked into the voice mail of Milly Dowler, a kidnapped and murdered teenager.
Wendi Murdoch, a Yale graduate, became a viral sensation during the phone-hacking crisis when Murdoch testified in front of a British parliamentary subcommittee about the scandal. Wearing a pink blazer, Wendi Murdoch, a former volleyball player, lurched toward a protester to protect her husband from a pie attack.
The News Corp. spokeswoman said the divorce would have no impact on the company. On June 28, the corporation will complete the split of its publishing and entertainment assets into two companies, to be called News Corp and 21st Century Fox, respectively.
Forbes lists Murdoch’s net worth at $11.2 billion. The mogul’s wealth has soared in the past year as News Corp. stock has been trading at an all-time high.
With the expected breakup of News Corp., Murdoch’s pay next year is expected to exceed $28 million.
Material from the Los Angeles Times is included in this report.