ALISON BOSCHOFF: Will Rupert Murdoch’s six children welcome their latest stepmother?
Yes, a billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch to marry Anne Leslie Smith, a former police chaplain from California. happy couple planning a summer wedding at ages 92 and 66they say that their romance is “a gift from God.”
It will be the third time for her, and the fifth for him.
Top news seven months after divorce from Jerry HallMurdoch says he and his bride are looking forward to “spending the second half of their lives together.”
Of course, this rather optimistic statement assumes a longevity that would be more extraordinary than anything else in his already extraordinary life story. But this new romance clearly made him feel younger than spring.
His intended, a widowed radio host and vineyard owner, adds that they share beliefs and life experiences.
Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch will marry Anne Leslie Smith, a former police chaplain from California. Pictured: The couple holding hands in Los Angeles earlier this year
Murdoch and Smith say their romance is a “gift from God,” but will his six children feel the same way, asks Alison Boshoff. Pictured: Murdoch with his fiancee in Barbados in January
“In terms of perspective, this is not my first rodeo,” says Anne Leslie. “Approaching 70 means being in the last half. I waited for the right time. Friends are happy for me.”
Naturally, there will be a lot of joy about the upcoming wedding.
Guests at Murdoch and Smith’s wedding will include world leaders and other titans of the business world. It owns a portfolio of national and international newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the US, The Sun and The Times in the UK, and the book publisher Harper Collins.
Members of Murdoch’s extended family will also be in attendance: he has six children, including four daughters – Prudence, 64, Elizabeth, 54, Grace, 21, and Chloe, 19. Eldest son Lachlan, 51, is his heir apparent and runs his business relationship with him since 2014. Son James, 50, stepped down from News Corp’s board in 2020 after “disagreements” over editorial content.
As we shall see, the question of what they do with this turn of events is a story yet to be written.
When it comes to the event itself, the smart money is on the sunset ceremony at the Murdoch-owned Moraga Vineyard in Bel-Air. This was where they first met, at a wine mixer in September 2022. Here Anne Leslie was introduced to a newly single billionaire and he waited two weeks before asking to see her again.
Who would have thought Murdoch would be such an eternal romantic to pop the question so soon after ending his six-year marriage to Geri Hall and paying her around £30m?
I’m told Geri is still crying into her coffee as she ponders the ashes of their love story – and that was before her ex announced he was going to remarry. She’s been enjoying some quiet time with her four children with Sir Mick Jagger, including a Christmas break in Mustique with Rolling Stone and all his brood.
Guests at Murdoch and Smith’s wedding will include world leaders and other titans of the business world. Pictured: Smith in the Caribbean
The Texas beauty was sure it was forever, and blames Murdoch’s grown children – the rulers of his empire – for driving a wedge between them. Her friends insist his children were suspicious of attempts to renegotiate the prenuptial agreement in her favor, and that their rift was sparked by talk of Gerry’s legal deal in the event of Murdoch’s death.
Once again, events in the Murdoch family overshadow the imaginary dramas of the Swarm Succession dynasty. (Incidentally, the hit show, created by Briton Jesse Armstrong, returns for a fourth and final season on Sky on Monday.)
As for why he’s considering another marriage at the age of 92, sources close to Murdoch say he’s as moral as a choir when it comes to romance and doesn’t believe too much in sex outside of marriage.
The role of his Christian faith was highlighted in a well-sourced diary article published by US news website The Daily Beast in February, which predicted an imminent engagement. Shortly after, on Friday, March 17, Murdoch proposed with Usher’s diamond while the couple were in New York.
He told Cindy Adams, a gossip columnist for his newspaper, the New York Post: “I was very nervous. I was afraid of falling in love – but I knew it would be my last. It would be better. I am happy.’
His new bride, who was born in 1957, is a wealthy woman in her own right thanks to a three-year marriage to a much older man worth at least $50m (£40m).
She’s an open and bubbly soul who loves dogs, fast cars, wine and Jesus – and she’s suspicious of politicians and the liberal elite. In her, Murdoch found another strong woman he could respect.
His first wife, Patricia Booker, the mother of his eldest daughter, married him when he was 25; then there was Anna Torv, a journalist, the mother of his three children, and then a manager, Wendy Dan, with whom he has two daughters.
Anne Leslie Smith (pictured) is a widowed radio presenter and insists her friends are happy about her new marriage
All his wives are distinguished by strong characters, as well as beauty.
Ann Leslie attended Idaho State University in 1980 on a scholarship and later worked as a model. She then went into business as a dental hygienist before marrying her first wealthy husband, John B. Huntington, an attorney who was a descendant of one of California’s early railroad families.
Huntington served on the board of trustees of the San Francisco Ballet, was a deputy district attorney and an honorary deputy sheriff. The couple were well-known members of the wealthy social elite.
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, she said, “The world just opened up to me. Almost like royalty. My life was so fun during the day. John was into cars and we had a stable full of all kinds – exotic Ferraris and all. I was easily spending $65,000 (£53,000) a month on clothes. Money was no object. I had everything in the world.
“It was wonderful at times. This is the kind of marriage that everyone would like to have. During the day, he showered me with gifts and praise.” But she added: “When John started drinking, he became a different person. He would lock me out of the house. He abused me physically, mentally, emotionally… which is actually worse than physical because you start believing the lies.”
As a result of the divorce, she was broke. “I was ashamed. It was just so different. What was I to do?
“I went to the store at midnight so that no one would see me. I really wanted to kill myself because my life was so bad.’
Everything changed when the coordinator of the event approached her while working as a model. She recalls: “She takes me to a coffee shop and says, ‘Honey, I can see right through you.’ You are hurt. The only thing that will help you is that you need Jesus Christ.’
Sources close to Murdoch reveal that he is as moral as the choir when it comes to romance and doesn’t really believe in sex outside of marriage.
– So she gave it to me [a book] The four spiritual laws, and I reluctantly accepted them, went home that night and fell to my knees. I was so hurt, so alone, and so rejected. And I prayed that God would help me and forgive my sins… Everything that is in the book, I did.” She became a volunteer police chaplain and used her life experiences to care for others, saying in an interview that she told the people she cared for, “I’ve been here. I was here and you can get out.’
Through a prison chaplaincy, she met her second husband, country and western musician Chester Smith, who was divorced, 27 years her senior, and had three children.
Smith had a hit back in 1955 with Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus. A successful performer, he later launched a country music radio station in Modesto, California, then a television station in northern California, followed by others, including a Spanish-language station.
A wealthy man, he is said to have sold his television business for $40 million in cash, plus another $45 million in stock, according to one newspaper obituary.
Before divorcing his first wife, he had homes in Carmel and Beverly Hills. After the divorce, there was clearly still a lot of money. He and Anne Leslie lived in a mansion on a bluff overlooking the Stanislaus River near Riverbank, California. San Andreas also had a 2,800-acre cattle ranch.
In 2005, the year of their marriage, they released a CD called Captive to Love, but just three years later Chester died of heart failure.
Since becoming a widow – she has no children of her own – she has enjoyed giving life advice on a radio show.
She told the interview: “A lot of people haven’t been through a lot and they talk about what they read in a book. As my late husband used to say, “Would you rather go down the Amazon River with someone who’s been doing it for 35 years, or someone who’s a professor at Stanford and has studied it in books?” ‘
Last year she shared her thoughts on the radio about business closures during Covid. “People are trying to close their businesses. Do they know what it does? It’s part of the plan, plandemic – oops! – pipeline. He comes and flies.
“It’s mostly made up, it kills a lot of people… now they’re stepping over bodies. How something begins is how something ends. Trust me. This is a little bomb of wisdom for you.’
She went on to say about the pandemic: “Wasn’t this planned in Davos? Someone told me it was planned – Bill Gates had a meeting in October 2019 – oh my – and they did this pandemic review, like a fire drill like we did in school? And that’s what they did.”
Further right-wing views were revealed when she shared an anti-Hillary Clinton post on social media in which she was dressed as Sarah Connor from the Terminator movies, with the caption: “Terminator 10 – Hillary’s solution.”
So, how will The Terminator fare with the children of Succession? It sounds like a surefire blockbuster hit.