Who is Wendi Deng Murdoch?

Murdoch splitting with younger wife
Murdoch splitting with younger wife

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Story highlights

  • Wendi Deng rose from humble beginnings to marry one of the world's richest men
  • She married Rupert Murdoch in 1999 and they have two children
  • Deng worked for Murdoch in Asia before their marriage
  • She was born in In China and graduated with an MBA from Yale

Wendi Deng, a businesswoman and mother of two is perhaps best known for the slap that protected her media mogul husband, Rupert Murdoch.

In July 2011, Deng lunged at a protester who was advancing on Murdoch with a shaving cream pie during a UK parliamentary hearing on allegations of phone hacking by Murdoch's media company.

The Twitterverse lit up with chatter about the incident and bloggers in her native China largely applauded her.

But that one instinctive, protective swipe could not completely remove suspicions about the 44-year-old woman's marriage to 82-year-old Murdoch. So often, the age difference, his riches and her beauty were mentioned alongside each other.

Deng first made waves when she married Murdoch in 1999, shortly after he divorced his wife of more than 30 years, Anna Torv Murdoch Mann.

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Now Murdoch is divorcing Deng

The couple have two daughters, Chloe and Grace, the youngest of his six children.

The couple met at a cocktail party shortly after Deng graduated with an MBA from Yale, Murdoch told CCTV's "Dialogue" in 2011.

She went to work as an intern in Hong Kong at Star Television, a satellite television service he bought in 1993.

By then, Murdoch's holdings under News Corp. included the Sunday Times, The Australian, News International, the New York Post, the Times of London, 20th Century Fox and Fox Broadcasting.

Deng served as his interpreter during a tour of China, he said. On CCTV, Murdoch recalled the days when he pursued Wendi and his efforts to get her to marry him.

"I fell in love with her, and I asked her. She said no, and it took a long time to persuade her," he said.

Murdoch's media empire

They married after he finalized his divorce from his second wife.

Deng has come a long way, coming from a small town in China, the daughter of a poor factory engineer.

Her marriage to Murdoch wasn't her first.

She married the man who, with his then-wife, sponsored her for a student visa in the United States during the late 1980s. She eventually secured a "green card" to stay permanently in the United States, but her first marriage was short-lived.

Despite her moments in the spotlight and her pre-marriage career in Murdoch's empire, not much is known about Deng.

She sits on the board of advisers at the Yale School of Management, her alma mater. She is listed as a co-founder of Big Feet Productions and is also co-producer of the movie, "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan."