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Rupert Murdoch, 92, decides to have another go at marriage

Rupert Murdoch and then-wife Jerry Hall in 2019; the media baron, 92, is engaged to Ann Lesley Smith, 66. (Danny Moloshok/Reuters)
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Rupert Murdoch, four times married and divorced at 92, isn’t letting age or previous marital experience stand in the way of a fresh start. The billionaire media baron said he plans to marry a fifth time.

Murdoch announced he is engaged once again, this time to Ann Lesley Smith, 66, a former model, singer-songwriter, radio talk-show host, and police chaplain in San Francisco. The couple met last year.

Murdoch is fresh off his divorce from Jerry Hall, the model and actress he married in 2016. Murdoch divorced Hall, the mother of four of Mick Jagger’s children, last year.

Murdoch broke the news of his engagement in the New York Post, the tabloid that helped launch his foray into the American and global media market when the Australian immigrant bought it in 1976. Murdoch-led companies have since founded or acquired the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins book publishers, among dozens of other properties.

“I was very nervous,” Murdoch told Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams (herself 92 years old) of his budding relationship with Smith. “I dreaded falling in love — but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy.”

Smith, twice married, is the widow of Chester Smith, a former country singer and broadcaster who was instrumental in the founding of Univision, the Spanish-language TV network.

She told Adams, “I’m a widow 14 years. Like Rupert, my husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations and helped promote Univision. So I speak Rupert’s language. We share the same beliefs.”

The couple met in September at a reception at Murdoch’s house and winery in Bel Air, Calif.

Murdoch’s previous marriages have produced six children, including four adult children — Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James — who have had roles in operating his companies. He has two daughters, Grace and Chloe, from his marriage to his third wife, Wendi Deng, whom he divorced in 2013 after 14 years of marriage.

Murdoch’s Fox Corp. is currently facing a $1.6 billion lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver company that alleges Fox News’s hosts and guests repeatedly defamed it by falsely tying it to efforts to cheat President Donald Trump out of an election victory in 2020.

Private messages uncovered in the discovery phase of the lawsuit showed that Murdoch doubted Trump’s claims that the election had been “stolen” from him, but Fox continued to air the claims regardless. He also acknowledged in a deposition that he had the power to stop the false narrative but declined to step in.

According to Murdoch’s deposition, Fox hosts Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro “endorsed” allegations that Dominion had fraudulently switched votes to President Biden, but he denied that Fox News or Fox Corp. had endorsed the idea.

Fox’s attorneys are seeking a dismissal of the Dominion lawsuit this week, arguing that Fox’s commentary was protected under the First Amendment. A judge has scheduled a trial for next month.

Fox is also facing similar allegations by a second voting-technology company, Smartmatic, which filed a $2.7 billion suit against Fox last year.

According to Adams, Murdoch sealed his engagement to Smith with a diamond solitaire ring he selected and presented on St. Patrick’s Day in New York.

“We’re both looking forward to spending the second half of our lives together,” said Murdoch, who turned 92 earlier this month.