Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has announced his engagement to Ann Lesley Smith, a former police chaplain. This will be the fifth marriage for the 92-year-old Australian-born media owner, who split with his fourth wife Jerry Hall in August. Murdoch stated that he knew this would be his last marriage, saying “I dreaded falling in love but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy.”
Ms Smith, aged 66, is a widow whose late husband was Chester Smith, a country singer, radio, and TV executive. Murdoch proposed to her in New York on March 17th, and the couple plans to marry in the northern hemisphere summer. Murdoch has six children from his first three marriages.
Despite the upcoming marriage, it is unlikely to impact the ownership structure of businesses in which Murdoch holds stakes, including Fox Corp and News Corp. Murdoch controls these companies through a Nevada-based family trust that holds around a 40% stake in voting shares of each company.
Fox Corp is currently facing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, which accuses the cable TV network of amplifying claims that Dominion voting machines were used to rig the US presidential election against Republican Donald Trump and in favor of Joe Biden. Fox has defended its coverage, stating that claims made by Trump and his lawyers were newsworthy and protected under the first amendment of the US Constitution.