Who is Wendi Deng Murdoch?
Wendi Deng Murdoch is a Chinese-American businesswoman, actress and producer also renowned as the ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of American multinational mass media corporation ‘News Corporation’. Deng was born and raised in China where she completed her high school studies and attended Guangzhou Medical College. However, after getting acquainted with American businessman Jake Cherry and his wife, Deng dropped her medical studies in-between and accompanied them on a student visa to America. A brilliant student, Deng got enrolled at California State University, Northridge and earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Thereafter, she attended Yale School of Management and obtained an MBA degree. Starting as an intern in Star TV, a subsidiary of News Corp, at its Hong Kong branch, she eventually became a full-time junior executive. She aided in developing Star’s music channel, Channel V’s distribution network in China and in planning Star TV’s operations in China and Hong Kong. While her professional life took an up-turn with News Corp, she got hitched with Murdoch. However, their 14-year old marriage culminated into divorce when the alleged rumours of Deng’s romantic associations with Tony Blair surfaced.
Childhood & Early Life
Wendi Deng Murdoch was born Deng Wenge on December 8, 1968, in Jinan, Shandong, China, as one of the three daughters among four children to Deng Dehui and Liu Xueqin, both of whom were engineers. She changed the word Wenge in her name, meaning ‘Cultural Revolution’ to Wendi while in her teens.
Her family relocated to Xuzhou, Jiangsu, shortly after her birth. There she attended Xuzhou First Secondary School. While in school she developed interest in volleyball and started spending more time on the game so much so that her academic supervisor Mr. Qie complained that it would affect her studies and convinced her to concentrate more on University entry exams.
Her father’s professional pursuits saw him relocating to Guangzhou in Southern China where he served as the Factory Director of People’s Machinery Works. The family including Deng joined her father in Guangzhou after a short while. There she enrolled at the Guangzhou Medical College in 1985.
She was introduced to American businessman, Jake Cherry, and his wife, Joyce, in 1987. Jake was temporarily staying in China to oversee the development of a refrigerator factory. Gradually, she became acquainted with the couple with Joyce teaching her English skills.
She dropped out from Guangzhou Medical College in 1988 before completing her medical studies and traveled to the US on a student visa sponsored by the Cherrys who accompanied her and also gave her shelter in their house in America.
Se attended California State University, Northridge, where in no time she caught attention as one of the top scoring students and in due course went on to receive her bachelor degree in economics.
Thereafter, she enrolled at the graduate school of Yale University, Yale School of Management in Connecticut and completed her MBA program.
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While looking out for a proper opening after graduation from Yale School of Management, she came across Bruce Churchill who was at that point of time managing corporate development and finance at the Los Angeles branch of ‘Fox TV’.
It was Churchill who made her an offer to work as an intern in ‘Star TV’, a subsidiary of News Corp, at its Hong Kong branch, which she accepted. With time, her impressive work helped her become a full-time junior executive. In such capacity she played a role in planning operations of ‘Star TV’ in China and Hong Kong.
She helped in developing distribution network of Star’s music channel, ‘Channel V’ in China and also examined opportunities of interactive television for News Digital Systems.
The social network company ‘MySpace’ was purchased by Murdoch’s ‘News Corporation’ in July 2005 for USD 580 million, marking among the first major internet purchases of ‘News Corporation’.
Deng, who had by now married Murdoch, served ‘MySpace’ in its China division as the chief of strategy till June 2011 when it was purchased by ‘Specific Media’. She also remained director of the holding company that licensed the brand and technology of ‘MySpace’ to its China division.
The internet investments of Murdoch in China amounting to around $35 million to $45 million were led by her. She also helped in developing Chinese business associations in pursuit of high-speed internet and video access.
The historical drama film ‘Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’ that released on July 15, 2011, marked her debut as a producer. The film that starred Gianna Jun, Hugh Jackman, Archie Kao and Vivian Wu among others was based on a novel by Lisa See bearing same title.
She counter-attacked Jonathan May-Bowles (comedian Jonnie Marbles) on July 19, 2011 after he attempted to throw a pie at Murdoch when the latter was giving testimony in front of a British parliamentary committee that was hearing the News International phone hacking scandal. May-Bowles received a six-week imprisonment sentencing for such act.
She was the co-producer of the documentary film ‘Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-qiang’ that released on October 14, 2016.
This ravishing beauty with brain has also over 48 k followers in her Instagram account ‘wendimurdoch’.
While Deng was staying with Jake and Joyce Cherry in their San Fernando Valley home, Joyce found out that Deng and Jake were having an affair. Deng was 30 years younger to him. Thereafter, Joyce showed the door to Deng, but Jake followed Deng and the two went on to tie the knot in 1990.
As a result of her marriage to Jake, Deng procured a green card, but the marriage culminated into divorce after 2 years and 7 months. Jake later claimed that they lived together for around 4 to 5 months till the time he came to know that she was seeing a man in his mid-20’s named David Wolf.
She was introduced to Rupert Murdoch in 1997 while serving Star TV in Hong Kong. The two gradually came closer. In June 1999, Murdoch divorced his second wife, Anna Murdoch, and after 17 days, the 68 years old Australian-born American media mogul married Deng on his yacht ‘Morning Glory’ on June 25.
Her marriage with Murdoch earned her the tag of a “gold digger” from many of Murdoch's close associates and family members. She has two daughters with him, Grace, born in 2001 and Chloe, born in 2003.
Murdoch filed for divorce from Deng in June 2013 in New York City citing irreconcilable differences, which was confirmed by a spokesperson of ‘News Corporation’ on June 13 that year.
Murdoch discontinued his friendship with Tony Blair, who happens to be godfather of Murdoch's daughter Grace, doubting an affair between Blair and Deng. Later a report published in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ on February 5, 2014 stated that Murdoch interrogated his staff employed at his different houses about Deng and Blair after he heard rumors of their romantic associations in 2012.