News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife Wendi, the company confirmed on Thursday (June 13), just days before News Corp. itself splits into two.
The reasons for the filing were not immediately clear, though a spokesman for Murdoch said the marriage had been irretrievably broken for more than six months.
Murdoch, 82, married the former Wendi Deng, 44, in 1999.
To many people outside the media industry, Deng is best known for a July 2011 incident in the British Parliament, where Rupert Murdoch was testifying about a phone-hacking scandal.
More than halfway through the hearing, Deng suddenly leapt from her seat to protect Murdoch from a prankster who had slipped through a packed committee room and tried in vain to smash a shaving cream pie into Murdoch's face.
A person familiar with the situation said Murdoch and Deng had a prenuptial agreement, though it was not clear which one would move out of the couple's Upper East Side apartment in New York City.
Murdoch and Deng have two young daughters, Grace and Chloe. Murdoch has four grown children, Prudence from his first marriage and Lachlan, James and Elisabeth from his second. News Corp. shares were unchanged in midday trading.
A few years ago, several news reports said that Deng had battled Murdoch's adult children to secure a voting position for her children in the family trust, which holds the Murdoch stake in News Corp., worth billions of dollars.
As it now stands, the two youngest girls do not have voting rights in the trust, though they do have an ownership stake.
The pair married in 1999 after Murdoch divorced his wife of 31 years.
The filing comes just days before the split of News Corp. into two companies, one for its entertainment assets and the other for its publishing business. Murdoch, who Forbes says is worth $9.4 billion, is to be chairman of both companies.
Presented by Adam Justice