Rupert Murdoch has spoken for the first time about the moment he learned Tony Blair spent secret weekends with his ex-wife Wendy Deng. The former British Prime minister made a number of visits to Deng at Murdoch’s California ranch, according to Fortune Magazine.
Murdoch revealed he was “shocked” when he became aware of Deng’s diary entries in which she talked about her “warm feelings” for Tony Blair and how it was comparable to having a “crush” on him.
The Australian born media mogul divorced Deng shortly after he became aware of the allegations. Deng had become famous in Britain when she prevented a custard pie attack against Murdoch at a Select Committee appearance at the House of Commons.
Mr Blair is said to have visited the ranch in October 2012 and April 2013, whilst Murdoch was away. As soon as the billionaire became aware of the visits he questioned staff, who had been “uncomfortable” with the goings on but had still not told him about them.
Murdoch said: “Well, you know, everybody was talking about these things and never telling me anything… But then I was told two pretty circumstantial things about the ranch [where Deng had been staying]”.
“I was in Australia. When I got back, I naturally asked the staff, and it opened up. That’s the story. And then, you know, a week later I filed. As soon as I could find a lawyer.”
Blair has denied that he had an affair with Deng, and there is no suggestion he did. However, the visits still led Murdoch to immediately instruct solicitors and commence divorce proceedings. Once he filed for divorce he was given the diary entries, he said he was “shocked” by their existence but did not read them.
Murdoch said that he felt the diary entries had justified his decision to divorce Deng, but he did regret that they had become public. He said: “I regret the whole Vanity Fair thing. I wish we just could have got divorced quietly”.
Vanity Fair reported that Deng had written in her diary: “Whatever why I’m so so missing Tony. Because he is so so charming and his clothes are so good. He has such good body and he has really really good legs Butt . . . And he is slim tall and good skin. Pierce blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. Also I love his power on the stage . . . and what else and what else and what else . . . “
The magazine also claimed that staff at the ranch had told Murdoch they “found Blair walking into the master bedroom and closing the door behind him”. On another occasion staff reported Deng and Blair “were feeding each other during dinner”.
It was reported that Murdoch found out about about the Blair visits after his ex-wife accidentally sent an email to the wrong person. When the media boss went to the ranch he confronted staff about the allegations.
Murdoch says he has now moved on and is keen to ensure that publicity does not damage his relationship with the two daughters he has with Deng. The interview is in the 28th April 2014 edition of Fortune Magazine.