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On the evening of their wedding, Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall flew by private jet to the south of France and headed for Saint-Paul de Vence, an ancient hill village, which, when you’re an 85-year-old bridegroom, can come as something of a shock.
The narrow, cobbled streets are as steep as the local prices, and as Deputy Mayor Nadine Gastaud explains, “Everyone has to walk. If Rupert was looking faintly distraught by the time he and Jerry had puffed their way to the sun-dappled summit, it was perhaps because the significance of their honeymoon destination had started to dawn on him.
His four marriages, dating back to 1956, have run more or less seamlessly, with the only significant gap being the three years between his 2013 divorce from wife No. Wolff points to Rupert’s daughter Elisabeth’s view that her father is easily dominated by women, describing him as a “conventionally henpecked husband” whose main matrimonial priority is to avoid conflict.
His wives have shaped his character, his life and, to some extent, his career, in ways that even Rupert doesn’t fully realise.
The big question is not where the newlyweds will live, but how. Attached as he is to the concept of marriage, it would be hard to argue that Rupert has been a good husband.
Yet they had two daughters and for some time the relationship seemed to invigorate him.
Well before they separated in 2013, though, Rupert was complaining he was lonely and depressed, and on the pretext that she had become too close to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Wendi was shuffled out of his life.
At the same time, says Wolff, he is a man of real passion, “who has known the deepest hell of repressed desire”.
It is tempting to say that this is a male condition familiar to Jerry. In the end, his prodigious infidelities broke them up, although they remain on good terms. “He slept with lots of other people, which was horrible.
The story was untrue, although I understand ownership of the place will now be made over to the Jagger children.