All ye believers in the power of love to conquer all, gather round, I have difficult news to share: Rupert Murdoch, exemplar of Eros and man of devotion, has called off his engagement to Ann Lesley Smith after just two weeks. I know, I can hardly believe it either. When I wrote about their engagement—Murdoch’s fifth—I thought to myself, “This is it, baby.” The billionaire has seemingly gotten cold feet and not just because he is 92 years old and his body is slowly yet inescapably shutting down.
According to Vanity Fair, a source said that the media magnate grew “increasingly uncomfortable with Smith’s outspoken evangelical views.” In an interview with Christian Broadcast Network in 2013, Smith explained that after her divorce from her first husband, she found Jesus in a coffee shop and became a preacher, congregating on the streets of Marin County, California. “When you let the Lord take control of your life, you can make it,” she said in the interview. “Out of the ruins you can rise and let the oil of his anointing just be all over you.” I mean, it looks like Smith handed over the reins to Jesus and ended up engaged to one of the richest people in the world. Lord, I’ve seen what you’ve done for others…
Smith eventually married country musician and businessman Chester Smith
in 2005, so I should’ve guessed she was super evangelical. “Chester” is a bible-thumping name if I’ve ever heard one. After ‘ol Chester’s death in 2008, she then served as the San Francisco Police chaplain. Feels to me like there were a lot of signs for Murdoch to pick up on her dedication to Christianity! He must’ve been too busy fretting about the looming Dominion defamation suit against Fox News, a news item now conveniently buried by chatter about this split. The engagement, for what its worth, was also announced on the day of the suit. As I wrote about their engagement announcement in March: “It’s almost as if the media magnate who knew his news corporation was endorsing lies about the 2020 election has a perverse and keen understanding of the public’s attention span.”
“I dreaded falling in love—but I knew this would be my last. It better be. I’m happy,” Murdoch told his own paper, the New York Post, again, just two weeks ago. Ah, love remains a fickle thing. Murdoch and Smith met at an event at his vineyard where they started chatting about how she used to also own a vineyard—real rich people shit, ya know. They were supposed to marry this summer, a timeline that made me genuinely impressed with his lawyers’ turnaround on what I’m sure is a complicated prenup.
My sincerest condolences to the couple who made me believe in love again. And my even more sincere condolences to the Succession writers’ room, whose close shadowing of the billionaire’s life steers their plot lines. There’s still time to edit out a potential Logan-Kerry wedding and rewrite in me, uhm, marrying Greg. Just a suggestion!