Who Was Rupert Murdoch's Two-Week Fiancée?
The 92-year-old media mogul's planned summer wedding to Ann Lesley Smith has been called off. It would have been his fifth marriage.
Rupert Murdoch gave Ann Lesley Smith an engagement ring last month. He had met her at his vineyard, located in Bel Air, Los Angeles. The wedding was canceled a little more than two weeks after it began.
A spokesperson for Mr. Murdoch refused to comment on Tuesday. An anonymous person close to Murdoch, who was sharing details about a personal issue, confirmed that the summer wedding had been cancelled. They added that it wouldn't be a "great leap" to conclude that Ms. Smith's relationship with Mr. Murdoch had ended. This would have been Murdoch's fifth wedding and Smith's fourth.
Cindy Adams, the veteran columnist of The New York Post, one of his many newspapers, revealed the news last month. The columnist, after reporting that Murdoch presented Ms. Smith a diamond engagement in New York, on St. Patrick's Day included a comment by her boss. 'I dreaded being in love, but I knew it would be my final,' said he. It better be. I'm happy.'
After the engagement, more details emerged about Ms. Smith. She was born Ann Krohn, attended high school in Petaluma and did not respond to a message left by a worker at her Escalon property.
While working as a dental hygiene in the Bay Area during her 20s years, Ms. Smith was introduced to John B. Huntington. He was a California railroad owner nearly 20 years older than her. She said that during their marriage from 1985 to 1989 she lavishly spent money on clothes, ridden horses, and performed charity work. She said that money was not an issue. I had everything.
She was involved in a tumultuous incident in 1988 at a gala for the society of the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco. Reuters described it as a'shoving match' between Ann K. Huntington, (as she was known at the time) and Avelina Pritchard, another guest. In an interview with this article, Ms. Pritchard stated that 'She pulled out my hair'. She scratched me. Ms. Smith pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor sexual assault, and was ordered to give $3,000 to a women's shelter.
In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network Ms. Smith said that after her marriage to Mr. Huntington she had nowhere to live, and was suicidal due to a restrictive prenuptial contract.
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She claimed that her ex-husband had physically abused her in court while pressing for more financial support. Three mental health experts gave testimony in court on behalf of Ms. Smith, claiming that her marriage left her with post-traumatic disorder and rendered her unable to perform her job. According to court documents, a psychiatrist who had treated Ms. Smith during the late 1980s disagreed with that assessment.
She told the network that her life changed when she became Christian. She also said she began doing volunteer work for police departments in Marin County. She married Michael Carabello in 1999, a former Santana percussionist. In the flurry of articles published after her engagement to Murdoch, the fact that she was married for a little over a year did not come up.
Chester Smith was her third husband. He is a Modesto-based radio and TV entrepreneur who began as a country singer and disc jockey. Ms. Smith was credited as 'Chester Smith and Ann Lesley Smith' on the 2005 album cover 'Captured by Love'. In the picture, Mr. Smith holds a guitar with one foot on a Rolls-Royce's fender. Ms. Smith wears a police uniform and a priest collar. Her hand is on her husband's shoulders.
When they met, Mr. Smith was married to his first spouse, Naomi Smith, since more than 40 years. Together, they built his radio-and-television business into a mini empire that included stations from California and Oregon. Lorna Smith-Smith, one of their daughters, claimed that she was not invited to the wedding between her father and his second wife. In an interview, Ms. Scott Smith said: 'I've never met her.'
Roxanne Storey sued Ann Lesley Smith at the San Joaquin County Superior Court after Mr. Smith, who died in 2008 at the age of 78, passed away. She claimed that Ms. Smith had not given her and her sisters a fair share of inheritance.
The case was settled out of court a few days after Judge Duane Mart admonished Smith, saying that the court had lost confidence in Ms. Smith's ability to manage the trust for anything other than her own benefit and in violation of her fiduciary duties to Chester Smith's daughters.
Murdoch's breakup comes as he faces a defamation suit of $1.6 billion filed by Dominion Voting Systems, against Fox Corporation and Fox News. A judge at the Delaware Superior Court decided last week that this case is strong enough to be tried.
The divorce of Mr. Murdoch and Jerry Hall, his fourth wife, took place last summer, after six years.