Billionaire Rupert Murdoch, 92, and presenter Ann Lesley Smith, 25 years his junior, have ended their engagement just two weeks after it was announced. The media magnate, best known for his extensive media empire, has reportedly called off the engagement due to Smith's religious beliefs, according to Vanity Fair magazine.
Murdoch's spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
Love Lost: The Short-Lived Romance of Rupert Murdoch and Ann Lesley Smith
The couple was first seen together in January of this year, while vacationing in Barbados.
In March, Murdoch confirmed to the New York Post that the two were planning to get married, with the billionaire gifting Smith an 11-carat diamond engagement ring worth $2.5 million. In a statement to gossip columnist Cindy Adams, Murdoch said, “I was very nervous.
I dreaded falling in love—but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy”. Murdoch's previous marriage to Jerry Hall ended in divorce last June after six years of marriage. Smith, on the other hand, has been married twice before.
She married John B. Huntington in her 20s, but the marriage ended in divorce due to Huntington's abusive behavior as an alcoholic. Smith later found solace in religion and became a street preacher, eventually marrying country music singer and broadcast entrepreneur Chester Smith.
However, upon Chester's death in 2008, Smith became embroiled in a legal battle with her stepdaughters over his multimillion-dollar fortune, with one stepdaughter accusing her of "financial elder abuse." The litigation was settled in 2010, with Smith admitting no wrongdoing.
A Family Man: Rupert Murdoch's Legacy
Murdoch is the father of six children, including daughter Prudence MacLeod with his first wife Patricia Booker, daughter Elisabeth and sons Lachlan and James with his second wife Anna Mann, and daughters Chloe and Grace with his third wife Wendi Deng.
Despite his string of failed marriages, Murdoch remains a powerful figure in the media industry and a prominent billionaire.