News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch filed for divorce from his wife Wendi Deng Thursday, a News Corp spokesperson confirmed and Deadline Hollywood first reported. The two had been married since 1999; it was a second marriage for Deng, and the third for Murdoch, whose net worth is valued at $11.2 billion, according to Forbes.
The divorce does not jeopardize succession plans for the 82-year-old CEO’s corporation, which is controlled via a family trust. The couple has two daughters, Grace, 11, and Chloe, 9, and Murdoch has four other children from two previous marriages. (Tony Blair, incidentally, is Grace’s godfather.)
“The relationship between the husband and wife has broken down irretrievably,” a person close to the family told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. Deadline Hollywood’s Nikki Finke reports that rumors of marital trouble and a possible divorce have been circulating ever since people noticed Deng has seemed “impatient” with Murdoch and was “snippy” with him at the Academy Awards in February.
Deng, 44, was launched into the public eye in July 2011, when she rushed to her husband’s side after the comedian Jonnie Marbles shoved a plate of white foam into Murdoch’s face during a hearing at the British House of Commons regarding a phone hacking scandal that led to the shutdown of the popular tabloid News of the World. Deng demonstrated her loyalty to her husband by smacking the actor on the head, and she quickly became an Internet celebrity, earning the nickname “Tiger Wife” (but don’t confuse her with @wendi_deng on Twitter).
A Chinese immigrant, Deng started out in News Corp in 1996 as an intern at the company’s Star TV affiliate in Hong Kong, right after she finished her MBA at Yale. She met Murdoch at a company party in city in 1997, and served as an interpreter on one of his business trips to China. She became a junior executive in 1998, and the couple married in 1999 aboard Murdoch’s private yacht.