Wendi Deng and soon-to-be ex-husband Rupert Murdoch are in the final stages of thrashing out a divorce settlement which will officially end their 14-year marriage.
A hearing time and date have been set in the case of Wendi Deng Murdoch vs Rupert Murdoch for 9.30 a.m on Wednesday at New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Both Wendi and Rupert are supposed to be attending.
William D. Zabel, Wendi Deng’s attorney, declined to comment on the situation, and Mr. Murdoch’s divorce lawyer, Ira E. Garr, wasn’t available.
But friends of the Murdochs have indicated that the settlement negotiations are being held in a reasonably friendly atmosphere. This is probably due to the fact that they signed one pre-nuptial and two post-nuptial agreements detailing the separation of assets in the event of a divorce.
There have been a few contested issues regarding the division of their residences. In New York, Wendi and Rupert lived in a penthouse that was once owned by Laurance S. Rockefeller which they bought for $44 million in 2005.
In Beijing, they own a house near the Chinese capital’s Forbidden City. Shortly after their marriage, they converted the home into a display area for Chinese art. Wendi Deng gave parties there in the past and once invited Tony and Cherie Blair. They also own properties in Australia, London, and California.
Then, there is the question of the custody arrangements for their daughters, Grace, 12, and Chloe,10. Rupert Murdoch has four other children from his previous two marriages.
One of the main bones of contention has been the Murdoch family trust, worth about $13 billion. Murdoch upset Wendi when he didn’t allocate their daughters the same voting rights in the trust as his other children. The problem was only the voting, since the girls do have an equal economic interest.
Over the past few years, Wendi Deng has concentrated her energies on producing movies, while her husband was busy splitting up his empire into two major divisions. News Corporation to deal with the publishing, and 21st Century Fox to take care of the entertainment.
Wendi has not been seen in public very much since June when her husband suddenly announced that he was divorcing her. The reason given in the divorce papers was that the “relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably.”
Mr. Murdoch met Wendi Deng in 1998 on a business trip to China where she was working for News Corporation. A year later, they married in New York aboard Mr. Murdoch’s Yacht.
One cannot help but wonder if Wendi Deng is now thinking of the ancient Chinese saying: “Be careful what you wish for…..”