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Tony Blair strongly denies affair with Wendi Deng as outrageous rumours sweep the internet over reason behind Murdoch divorce

 

  • Rupert Murdoch filed for divorce in New York  Supreme Court on Thursday
  • Wendi Deng is Murdoch’s third wife – they  were together for 14 years
  • Pair were married in 1999 after meeting in  Hong Kong two years before
  • Previous divorce was one of the most  expensive in history at $1.7billion
  • The 82-year-old has two daughters with  Wendi, Grace and Chloe

By  Tom Leonard In New York

PUBLISHED: 12:56 EST, 14  June 2013 |  UPDATED: 18:16 EST, 14 June 2013

Unfounded: Aides for Tony Blair have emphatically denied outrageous Internet rumours that he was romantically involved with Wendi Deng 

Unfounded: Aides for Tony Blair have emphatically denied  outrageous Internet rumours that he was romantically involved with Wendi  Deng

Tony Blair was forced to deny internet  rumours yesterday linking him with the divorce of Rupert Murdoch and Wendi  Deng.

The internet was awash with unfounded  suggestions that the former PM may have been romantically involved with  44-year-old Miss Deng, who is a close friend.

The speculation followed a Twitter claim by  BBC business editor Robert Peston – who has close links with News Corporation  insiders – that he had been ‘told that  undisclosed reasons for Murdoch  divorcing his third wife are jaw-dropping and hate myself for wanting to know  what they are’.

The rumours are understood to have been  emphatically rejected by Blair aides as untrue and also as highly  defamatory.

A spokesman for Mr Blair, 60, told the  Hollywood Reporter: ‘If you are asking if they are having an affair, the answer  is no.’

The spokesman said the former PM would not be  making a public comment on the divorce himself.

With no explanation forthcoming from the  Murdoch camp, rumours started flying within hours of the news on Thursday that  the 82-year-old media tycoon had filed for divorce in a New York  court.

It is no secret that Miss Deng and Mr Blair  are close friends. He is godfather to Grace, her oldest child.

Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff described  him as ‘one of Wendi’s first  official social conquests’ and suggested that  Mr Blair had seen her as a key link in his efforts to woo her politically  powerful husband.

 

Third wife: Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng's marriage came less than a month after his divorce from ex-wife Anna Maria Torv Murdoch Mann was finalized, which was one of the most expensive in history at $1.7billion  

Divorce: Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng’s  marriage came less than a month after his divorce from ex-wife Anna Maria Torv  Murdoch Mann was finalized

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Strained: Insiders say the marriage has been on the  rocks for several years – at one point friends said the two were living ‘largely  separate lives’

Friends: Wendi Deng and Cherie Blair in Beijing in 2009 

Friends: Wendi Deng and Cherie Blair in Beijing in  2009

Rumours: 

Rumours: BBC financial correspondent Robert Peston, who  is said to be a close friends with some key Murdoch staffers, hinted at a  shocking reason writing on his Twitter page

Close: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and media magnate Rupert Murdoch in 2008Close: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and media  magnate Rupert Murdoch in 2008

Mr Murdoch, who is estimated to be  worth  nearly £6billion, cited as grounds for the divorce ‘that the  relationship has broken down  irretrievably’.

Insiders said the 14-year marriage  has been  strained for years.

Some pointed to an article in the New York  Times last year in which her friends admitted the Murdochs were living   ‘largely separate lives’ as Miss Deng looked after their two children  while her  husband ran his global empire.

They reportedly came close to  splitting up  as long ago as 2006 when she reacted with fury to her  husband’s decision that  their daughters, Grace, 11, and Chloe, nine,  would not have the same say over  the running of the family business as  his children from previous  marriages.

Murdoch biographer Neil Chenoweth  suggested  yesterday that Mr Murdoch had planned the divorce as long ago  as February  because the death of his mother two months earlier gave him  extra shares in the  family business that he could use to pay off his  wife.

In the same month, observers of the couple at  the Oscars saw a noticeable change in Miss Deng’s behaviour towards her  husband.

‘She was snippy with him during the  Oscar  weekend and she’s really impatient with him these days,’ a source  at the time  told Deadline Hollywood, a film industry website which first reported the  divorce.

Michael Wolff recalled reports that  Mr  Murdoch told his oldest son, Lachlan, some years ago that he had  concluded that  marrying the Chinese-born Miss Deng was  a ‘mistake’.

Other sources claimed the  workaholic Mr  Murdoch was more concerned with the imminent division of his media  empire into  publishing and entertainment arms than with his split from  his wife.

New York home: 834 Fifth Avenue where Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng live in a triplex on the top floors. Rupert bought it for $44million in 2005

 

New York home: 834 Fifth Avenue where Rupert Murdoch and  Wendi Deng live in a triplex on the top floors. Rupert bought it for $44million  in 2005

Triplex: Murdoch and Wendi lived in the top three floors of 834 Fifth Avenue in New York 

Triplex: Murdoch and Wendi lived in the top three floors  of 834 Fifth Avenue in New York

 

Beverly Hills Home: One of the many properties Murdoch owns which he could lose in the divorce. Though the couple have a prenup, it depends how water tight it is and Deng is expected to fight for some of his estate 

Beverly Hills Home: One of the many properties Murdoch  owns which he could lose in the divorce. Though the couple have a prenup, it  depends how water tight it is and Deng is expected to fight for some of his  estate

Although the couple have a   pre-nuptial  agreement which should ensure that the Murdoch empire is not affected by the  split, their settlement will have to sort out what  happens to their seven  homes.

They include a Manhattan apartment Mr Murdoch  bought for £30million, a 16-acre Californian vineyard, a flat  in London’s  Mayfair, an 11-bedroom house in Beverly Hills and a period  house outside the  Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Wall Street Journal reported in  2000  that Miss Deng helped to cause the break-up of the marriage of an  American  couple, Jake and Joyce Cherry, who had befriended her when she  was a  student.

In 1988, they arranged for Miss Deng, then  aged 19, to leave China for Los Angeles to learn English.

She reportedly ran off with  53-year-old  Mr Cherry and later married him, enabling her to get a ‘green card’ to work in  the US.

The marriage soon ended after Mr Cherry  discovered she was spending time with a man nearly half his age, said the  Journal.

 

Protection: Wendi Deng lunges towards a man trying to attack her husband during a parliamentary committee hearing on phone hacking on July 19, 2011  

Protection: Wendi Deng lunges towards a man trying to  attack her husband during a parliamentary committee hearing on phone hacking on  July 19, 2011

Unity: The news of their divorce comes just two years after Deng steadfastly supported Murdoch and his son through the phone hacking scandal that brought down the News of the World  

Unity: The news of their divorce comes just two years  after Deng steadfastly supported Murdoch and his son through the phone hacking  scandal that brought down the News of the World

Big day: The couple married on a yacht in 1999, 17 days after his divorce from his second wife Anna Torv 

Big day: The couple married on a yacht in 1999, 17 days  after his divorce from his second wife Anna Torv

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2341825/Tony-Blair-strongly-denies-affair-Wendi-Deng-outrageous-rumours-sweep-internet-reason-Murdoch-divorce.html#ixzz2WFpt8RtO Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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