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Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng's Wedding Album: The Way They Were (Photos)

Charlotte Church serenaded the couple at their June 1999 ceremony, performed aboard his yacht by a New York Supreme Court Justice.
The couple at their 1999 wedding.
AP Photo/Grace Studio, Tom Rollo

Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng were the picture of wedded bliss on June 25, 1999, with no indication that he would be filing for divorce 14 years later.

The couple married on his 155-foot yacht, the Morning Glory, in New York Harbor 17 days after his divorce from second wife Anna Maria Torv became final. (Anna married widower William Mann, chairman of Henry Mann Securities in New York, five months later.)

According to reports, 82 guests attended the ceremony, which took place at twilight on the garland-decorated boat. Among them were singer Charlotte Church, who performed three ballads for the couple; financier Michael Milken; and Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. Jacqueline Silbermann, then a New York Supreme Court Justice, performed the ceremony.

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Deng's cream-colored silk-and-lace gown was reportedly designed by Richard Tyler of Australia. The U.K.'s Guardian described Murdoch's choice of attire as "an ill-fitting two-button suit which served to accentuate the age difference with his bride." (There is a 38-year difference between Deng, now 44, and Murdoch, now 82.)

After the ceremony, the couple set sail on their honeymoon. News Corp. later posted a photo of the newlyweds on the company's website.

Of their first meeting, Murdoch was quoted in Neil Chenoweth's 2002 book Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Media Wizard as saying: "I met her casually once or twice at meetings of Star TV in Hong Kong. but I first took her out in June [1998] in London when she came over with a group from Star in Hong Kong and Beijing. I was a recently separated, lonely man, and I said, 'Let's go out to dinner one night,' and I talked her into staying in London a couple of extra days -- and that was the start of it."

In 2011, Church said during the Leveson Inquiry into press standards that she had been offered a fee of £100,000 to perform, but if she waived it she ''would be looked upon favorably by Mr. Murdoch's papers."

''I remember being told that Rupert Murdoch had asked me to sing at his wedding to Wendi Deng, and it would take place on his yacht in New York," she said. "'I remember being told that the offer of money or the offer of the favor, in order to basically get good press, to be looked upon favorably. And I also remember being 13 and thinking, 'Why on earth would anybody take a favor over £100,000?'''

At the urging of her managers and record company executives, she agreed to waive the fee. She added that he flew her in on his private jet from Los Angeles to New York.

''We went onto his boat, which had a grand piano and which I was amazed by, and I sang at the ceremony," she said, adding that she had been told Murdoch personally requested her presence and asked that she sing "Pie Jesu" at the event.

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''He said he didn't care whether it was a funeral song, and he liked that song and he wanted me to sing it, which I did," she said, adding that she felt betrayed when News Corp.-owned publications later began printing unflattering stories about her.

Meanwhile, a sealed document within Murdoch's recent divorce filing revealed that "the relationship between the husband and wife has broken down irretrievably," according to the Associated Press. The couple, who have two daughters together, ages 11 and 9, have reportedly been living separate lives for at least six months.


The couple on their wedding day.

The yacht was decorated with garlands for the June nuptials.

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