King Rupert has met his Catherine Howard. That’s right: at the tender age of ninety-two, media mogul Rupert Murdoch is set to marry for the fifth time.
The announcement came in the Murdoch-owned New York Post, where Rupert claimed that he “was very nervous. I dreaded falling in love, but I knew this would be my last. I am happy.”
On Saint Patrick’s Day, and less than one year after his divorce to Jerry Hall, he proposed to his sixty-six-year-old partner Ann Lesley Smith, an American journalist who is getting married for the third time. “We both look forward to spending the second half of our lives together,” Murdoch said. Cockburn loves the optimism.
Smith said, “It’s a gift from God for both of us. We met last September.” She was previously married to country music artist Chester Smith. “I’m a widow [for] fourteen years. Like Rupert, my husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations and helped promote Univision. So I speak Rupert’s language. We share the same beliefs.”
The happy news comes at a more difficult time for Murdoch’s company NewsCorp, as the $1.6 billion lawsuit brought by voting company Dominion threatens its channel Fox News with a historic financial penalty. Plus, a former Tucker Carlson producer, Abby Grossberg, filed a pair of suits in New York and Delaware this week, alleging that Fox’s lawyers had attempted to coerce her into giving misleading testimony in the Dominion suit. Grossberg’s suit also features unsavory revelations from behind the scenes of Carlson’s primetime Fox show. Though the corporation is fighting fire with fire: a Fox News spokesperson told Cockburn: “Her allegations in connection with the Dominion case are baseless and we will vigorously defend Fox against all of her legal claims which have no merit.”
The Murdoch engagement announcement comes just a week before the premiere of the final season of Succession, the smash-hit HBO drama centered on a powerful, feuding media family headed by a patriarch of Scottish descent. What are the chances?