Rupert Murdoch marries fifth wife Elena Zhukova at 93

Rupert Murdoch has married 67-year-old Elena Zhukov – his fifth wife – at the age of 93.

His engagement to retired molecular biologist Zhukova was confirmed in March, and the wedding has now taken place at Moraga, Murdoch’s California estate and vineyard.

In a ceremony attended by close friends and family – nine months after handing over the chairmanship of his media empire to his son, Lachlan – Murodch, who met Zhukova at a family gathering in 2023, wore a dark suit and patterned yellow tie.

Meanwhile, the bride wore a white dress and held a small bouquet of Lily of the Valley flowers.

The wedding is Murdoch’s fifth marriage. His previous marriage was to supermodel – and Mick Jagger’s ex-wife – Jerry Hall from 2016 to 2022.

His first marriage, to flight attendant Patricia Booker, occurred in 1956, with the couple divorcing after 11 years of marriage in 1967. They share one child, daughter Prudence.

Within the same year of divorcing Booker, Murdoch married his second wife, Scottish journalist Anna Maria Torv, with whom he has three children: Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James.

They divorced in 1999 after 32 years of marriage and, months later, Murdoch married Wendi Deng, with whom he shares two daughters, Grace and Chloe. The pair divorced in 2013.

The pair were married over the weekend (News Corp /PA Wire)
The pair were married over the weekend (News Corp /PA Wire)

After he and supermodel Hall divorced in the summer of 2022, Murdoch had a short-lived engagement with retired dental hygienist Ann Lesley Smith in the spring of 2023 – but it ended after just two weeks.

It is believed Murdoch’’s third wife, Deng, introduced him to Zhukova.

Zhukova is a distinguished molecular biologist who primarily studies diabetes, having taken her research to institutions all over the world, including the University of California, Los Angeles.

Towards the end of the Soviet Union, she came to the US from Moscow alongside her ex-husband, Alexander Zhukov, who eventually became a billionaire energy investor. Their daughter, philanthropist Dasha Zhukova, was married to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich until 2017.

Elena Zhukova (centre),with her daughters Katya Zhukova (left) and Darya Zhukova (right) (Billy Farrell Agency/Shutterstock)
Elena Zhukova (centre),with her daughters Katya Zhukova (left) and Darya Zhukova (right) (Billy Farrell Agency/Shutterstock)

In September 2023, Murdoch announced he was retiring as the chief of Fox Corp and News Corp.

However, Rupert said he planned on maintaining a role as chairman emeritus as his son Lachlan transitioned into the role he left behind.

“For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change,” he wrote in a letter to employees at the time. “But the time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become sole Chairman of both companies.”

Murdoch’s latest marriage will be unlikely to have any significant impact on his business affairs since Fox Corp and News Corp are controlled by a family trust, in which all of the shares belong to him and his four eldest children: Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James.

The location of his fifth wedding, his vineyard Moraga, was originally the home of Victor Fleming, director of the 1939 films Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Fleming created a horse ranch on the property that was used throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and used it as a retreat and a secluded venue to host his friends.

The property was purchased by American businessman Tom and his wife Ruth Jones in 1959, who decided to plant grapevines. It was fitted with a state-of-the-art winery in 2005, and was sold by Jones to Murdoch in 2013.

Murdoch’s last wedding – to Jerry Hall – was a starry London affair at the Fleet Street church St Bride’s, a week before Murdoch’s 85th birthday.

Hall wore an ice-blue chiffon Vivienne Westwood dress; Murdoch pronounced himself the ‘happiest man in the world’; and David Bailey shot the official photographs. In attendance were Bianca Jagger, Sir Michael Cane, Jacob Rothschild and the Lloyd-Webbers, who visited the historic St James’s Place townhouse, Spencer House, for private celebrations.