Rupert Murdoch is worth $19 billion and has been married 4 times - here's how he went from operating a small Australian paper to helming one of the biggest networks in the world

Rupert MurdochRupert Murdoch, the Australian-born American newspaper publisher and entrepreneur who owns many newspapers and communications throughout the world.Keystone/Getty Images

  • Australian-born billionaire Rupert Murdoch, 87, helms a media empire made up of newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, television networks like Fox News, and a handful of other publications across the world. 
  • Murdoch inherited his very first newspaper from his father, who was a war reporter turned publisher. 
  • Bloomberg estimates his net worth to be $19 billion, as of March 2019. 

Rupert Murdoch's name is one synonymous with media, but it took decades to build his sprawling empire.

He owns dozens upon dozens of newspapers spanning 3 continents, founded the Fox network - responsible for revolutionizing cable television to what it is today - in the 1980s, and has a net worth $19 billion. That makes him the 47th-richest person in the world.

Forbes describes his wealth as self-made, but Murdoch has been interested in media ever since his dad, Keith, left him a string of Australian newspapers when he was just 22 years old. 

He then grew his network of papers into a multibillion-dollar domain, cementing his name as a magnate in the industry. The 87-year-old plans to do the same as his father - Murdoch is handing off the reigns of 21st Century Fox, among his other corporations, to his sons to continue the tradition. 

Over the span of his five-decade career, Murdoch has been in four marriages and has six kids. He's also been the subject of variety of scandals, most prominently when his UK-based paper News of the World was forced to shutter after it was found to have hacked the phone of a slain teenager.

Take a look at how Murdoch got his start, the deals he has made, and the growth of his empire.

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Rupert Murdoch graduated from Oxford University, then known as Worcester College, in 1952.

Rupert Murdoch graduated from Oxford University, then known as Worcester College, in 1952.

His father, Sir Keith Murdoch, a war reporter turned publisher, died the same year, and Murdoch went back to Australia to take over the family business at the age of 22.

Source: BBC News

Murdoch, seen here in 1960, inherited a chain of Australian newspapers from his father. According to Bloomberg, Murdoch embedded himself in all matters of production, from writing copy to managing the printer and redesigning page layouts.

Murdoch, seen here in 1960, inherited a chain of Australian newspapers from his father. According to Bloomberg, Murdoch embedded himself in all matters of production, from writing copy to managing the printer and redesigning page layouts.

He especially made it a priority to include "lurid stories and scandals," which made paper sales boom. He began buying other publications, including The Daily Mirror and the Perth Sunday Times.

Source: Bloomberg

Murdoch then went on to found Australia's first nationwide newspaper, The Australian, in 1964. Unlike Murdoch's other papers, it is not a tabloid.

Murdoch then went on to found Australia's first nationwide newspaper, The Australian, in 1964. Unlike Murdoch's other papers, it is not a tabloid.

Murdoch then founded News Corporation, known as News Corp, which owns more than 170 papers in Australia.

Source: BBC News

Murdoch made his first UK purchase in 1968, buying News of the World. He would later also acquire The Sun.

Murdoch made his first UK purchase in 1968, buying News of the World. He would later also acquire The Sun.

Source: Bloomberg

In 1981, he bought the Times Group — two papers in the UK, Sunday Times and The Times, adding them to his growing international portfolio.

In 1981, he bought the Times Group — two papers in the UK, Sunday Times and The Times, adding them to his growing international portfolio.

Source: BBC News

Murdoch moved to New York City in the late 70s, and bought his first US newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, though many say Murdoch came to stride in the 80s when he purchased the New York Post and New York magazine.

Murdoch moved to New York City in the late 70s, and bought his first US newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, though many say Murdoch came to stride in the 80s when he purchased the New York Post and New York magazine.

Murdoch still owns the Post today, but shed New York magazine in the early 90s along with a few other magazines.

Source: Bloomberg

In 1987, Murdoch bought what is now book publishing giant Harper Collins for $293 million. He still owns the publishing house today.

In 1987, Murdoch bought what is now book publishing giant Harper Collins for $293 million. He still owns the publishing house today.

Source: The New York Times

It was during the 1980s that Murdoch began his Fox empire, buying stake in 20th Century Fox and subsequently creating television stations, effectively transforming cable television.

It was during the 1980s that Murdoch began his Fox empire, buying stake in 20th Century Fox and subsequently creating television stations, effectively transforming cable television.

He bought over 50 percent of stock in the company, for over $250 million.

Source: Bloomberg, Washington Post

In 1989, Murdoch became a naturalized US citizen.

In 1989, Murdoch became a naturalized US citizen.

Source: Bloomberg

Murdoch has been married four times; he married his first wife, Patricia Booker, in 1956, when he was 25. The couple divorced 11 years later. Prudence, born in 1958, is Murdoch and Booker's eldest child and daughter.

Murdoch has been married four times; he married his first wife, Patricia Booker, in 1956, when he was 25. The couple divorced 11 years later. Prudence, born in 1958, is Murdoch and Booker's eldest child and daughter.

She currently serves on the board of News Corp. and her husband, Alasdair MacLeod, is a ranking executive there, too.

Source: Vanity Fair

About a year after his first marriage ended, Murdoch married Anna Torv; the couple had three children — Elisabeth, James, and Lachlan — and divorced in 1999. Elisabeth, Murdoch's second child and daughter, was born 10 years after Prudence.

About a year after his first marriage ended, Murdoch married Anna Torv; the couple had three children — Elisabeth, James, and Lachlan — and divorced in 1999. Elisabeth, Murdoch's second child and daughter, was born 10 years after Prudence.

Elisabeth has worked for many of her father's businesses, including News Corp. and FX, but now she is also invested in mobile-friendly video startups.

Source: The New York Times, Vanity Fair

Just 17 days after divorcing his second wife, Murdoch married Wendi Deng, whom he met while she was working at Star TV in Hong Kong, in 1999.

Just 17 days after divorcing his second wife, Murdoch married Wendi Deng, whom he met while she was working at Star TV in Hong Kong, in 1999.

They were married for 14 years before splitting in 2013.

Source: Business Insider

They have two teenage daughters, Grace, 16, and Chloe, 18.

They have two teenage daughters, Grace, 16, and Chloe, 18.

Source: Business Insider

Murdoch would go on to buy social network MySpace for $580 million in 2005, only to sell it for $35 million a few years later.

Murdoch would go on to buy social network MySpace for $580 million in 2005, only to sell it for $35 million a few years later.

Source: The New York Times

Murdoch's News Corp won a bid to buy Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and others, in 2007 for $5 billion.

Murdoch's News Corp won a bid to buy Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and others, in 2007 for $5 billion.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the paper is one the billionaire long coveted; some feared, at the time, that he would meddle in its editorial affairs.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Murdoch is also very close with former Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson. Murdoch made Thomson, who is also from Australia, the CEO of News Corp. in 2013.

Murdoch is also very close with former Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson. Murdoch made Thomson, who is also from Australia, the CEO of News Corp. in 2013.

In 2011, The New Yorker reported Thomson was Murdoch's "closest friend," dining in restaurants frequently with one another and chatting about politics and drinking wine.

Source: Bloomberg, The New Yorker

In 2009, The Guardian published an article about illicit phone hacking conducted by News of the World into the voicemail of a British teenager who had been killed.

In 2009, The Guardian published an article about illicit phone hacking conducted by News of the World into the voicemail of a British teenager who had been killed.

The scandal went on to rock Murdoch's reputation in Britain. Years after the scandal, his attempt to buy television network British Sky Broadcasting was dropped due to public outcry.

Source: The Guardian, The New York Times

Two years later, the Murdoch family announced plans to shutter the paper after 168 of operations.

Two years later, the Murdoch family announced plans to shutter the paper after 168 of operations.

In front of lawmakers in 2011, Murdoch apologized for the phone hacking.

Source: The New York Times

In 2015, 21st Century Fox announced that Murdoch would be handing off new leadership roles to his two sons, James and Lachlan, keeping the company in the family.

In 2015, 21st Century Fox announced that Murdoch would be handing off new leadership roles to his two sons, James and Lachlan, keeping the company in the family.

James, 46, now holds the role as chief executive, and Lachlan, 47, is executive co-chairman. Murdoch's two sons are from his second marriage to Anna Murdoch Mann.

Source: The New York Times

Lachlan celebrated the promotion by buying a $29 million, 13,500-square-foot home in Aspen, Colorado in 2017.

Lachlan celebrated the promotion by buying a $29 million, 13,500-square-foot home in Aspen, Colorado in 2017.

Source: Business Insider

Murdoch himself doesn't mind living lavishly — he owns an $84 million Gulfstream G650.

Murdoch himself doesn't mind living lavishly — he owns an $84 million Gulfstream G650.

Source: Business Insider

He also bought this Bel Air mansion for $28.8 million in 2013.

He also bought this Bel Air mansion for $28.8 million in 2013.

The property was once a horse ranch and has over 16 acres of land, 13 of which are grapevines. The residence is nearly 8,000 square feet and includes a guest house and office building.

In 2017, Variety reported that Murdoch's estate was impacted by a California wildfire, but none of the buildings were burned.

Source: Variety

In 2014, Murdoch bought the top four floors in the One Madison Park building in New York City, just steps away from Madison Square Park, for $57.5 million. The penthouse offers vast views of Lower Manhattan and Midtown, with floor-to-ceiling windows.

In 2014, Murdoch bought the top four floors in the One Madison Park building in New York City, just steps away from Madison Square Park, for $57.5 million. The penthouse offers vast views of Lower Manhattan and Midtown, with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Murdoch tried to sell the elaborate four-story apartment for $72 million less than a year later.

Source: Curbed NY

Murdoch bought a 180-foot yacht in 2006 and named it Rosehearty, after a village home to his ancestors in Scotland. He later sold it after his divorce from Deng in 2013.

Murdoch bought a 180-foot yacht in 2006 and named it Rosehearty, after a village home to his ancestors in Scotland. He later sold it after his divorce from Deng in 2013.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner vacationed on the boat with Murdoch's ex-wife Deng prior to her divorce from Murdoch. The yacht is complete with seven guest cabins and a Jacuzzi on the deck.

Source: Boat International, The New York Times

Murdoch and former supermodel Jerry Hall got married at St. Bride's church in London in March of 2016.

Murdoch and former supermodel Jerry Hall got married at St. Bride's church in London in March of 2016.

Source: Business Insider

Hall is his fourth wife and was formerly involved with Mick Jagger, with whom she has four kids.

Hall is his fourth wife and was formerly involved with Mick Jagger, with whom she has four kids.

The day Murdoch married Hall was also the last day he tweeted — he was formerly prolific on Twitter, and would comment on topics like politics.

Source: Business Insider

No more tweets for ten days or ever! Feel like the luckiest AND happiest man in world.

— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) March 4, 2016

Although many of Murdoch's publications and television networks lean toward the right politically, he tried to convince former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president against Donald Trump in 2016.

Although many of Murdoch's publications and television networks lean toward the right politically, he tried to convince former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president against Donald Trump in 2016.

Source: Forbes

Yet, since the 2016 presidential election, Murdoch and Trump have become quite close. In 2017, The New York Times reported that Murdoch calls Trump at the White House a few times a week to chat about politics and business.

Yet, since the 2016 presidential election, Murdoch and Trump have become quite close. In 2017, The New York Times reported that Murdoch calls Trump at the White House a few times a week to chat about politics and business.

And during the 2016 primaries, Murdoch's publications, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, went after Trump, calling him "toast" and a "phony."

Source: The New York Times

Their relationship was not always friendly, though. When Trump was an up-and-comer in the real-estate industry, Murdoch's Page Six would often cover the saucy details of his personal life.

Their relationship was not always friendly, though. When Trump was an up-and-comer in the real-estate industry, Murdoch's Page Six would often cover the saucy details of his personal life.

The two eventually became friendly as their circles drew closer together.

Source: The New York Times

Murdoch's ex-wife Deng is good friends with Trump's daughter Ivanka. Deng even played a part in getting Ivanka back with husband Jared Kushner when the two briefly broke up in 2008.

Murdoch's ex-wife Deng is good friends with Trump's daughter Ivanka. Deng even played a part in getting Ivanka back with husband Jared Kushner when the two briefly broke up in 2008.

Source: The New York Times, Business Insider

In 2017, Murdoch-run 21st Century Fox announced it would sell to Disney for $71.1 billion.

In 2017, Murdoch-run 21st Century Fox announced it would sell to Disney for $71.1 billion.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Disney will acquire the famed Fox Hollywood studios and various other television operations of the Murdoch family-controlled group, which is responsible for blockbusters like Avatar and series like The Simpsons.

Disney will acquire the famed Fox Hollywood studios and various other television operations of the Murdoch family-controlled group, which is responsible for blockbusters like Avatar and series like The Simpsons.

The deal rocked Hollywood and could change the way the industry functions for decades to come.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

So what's left after the sale? A lot, actually. Lachlan Murdoch heads Fox News, the Fox Broadcasting network and the FS1 cable sports network, while Rupert himself still helms News Corporation, and the handful of newspapers it publishes.

So what's left after the sale? A lot, actually. Lachlan Murdoch heads Fox News, the Fox Broadcasting network and the FS1 cable sports network, while Rupert himself still helms News Corporation, and the handful of newspapers it publishes.

Source: The New York Times

After news of the Disney deal broke, Murdoch's net worth jumped by $1.2 billion. As of March 2019, it sits at $19.8 billion.

After news of the Disney deal broke, Murdoch's net worth jumped by $1.2 billion. As of March 2019, it sits at $19.8 billion.

Source: Forbes

Forbes lists the Murdoch family as #39 on the most powerful families in the world; Murdoch himself is the 47th-richest person in the world.

Forbes lists the Murdoch family as #39 on the most powerful families in the world; Murdoch himself is the 47th-richest person in the world.

Source: Forbes, Bloomberg

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