Swiftly to a close: Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch divorce

Just five weeks after making their separation public, former supermodel Jerry Hall and media mogul Rupert Murdoch have finalised their divorce. Ms Hall, 66, filed for divorce in California on 1 July, citing ‘irreconcilable differences' with her 91-year-old husband.

The divorce has proceeded at remarkable speed. The couple’s spokesperson released a statement this week saying that:

“Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch have finalized their divorce. They remain good friends and wish each other the best for the future.”

Earlier there had been a glitch when Ms Hall had requested the court to dismiss her petition, which stated that she was:

“Unaware of the full nature and extent of all (Murdoch’s) assets and debts, and will amend this petition when the information has been ascertained.”

However, despite this initial issue of non-disclosure of financial details, the couple reached an agreement, and the divorce went ahead.

Ms Hall filed for divorce in Los Angeles rather than in the UK where the couple married in 2016. Californian divorce law means that any property acquired during the marriage is automatically divided between them 50/50.

Also, had she filed for divorce in the UK, she would have had to wait considerably longer for her divorce to be finalised. Under no fault divorce legislation, a divorce takes 26 weeks (six months) minimum.

Property and fortunes

According to Forbes, Mr Murdoch is worth an estimated $19.8billion, most of which would have been (presumably) accrued before his fourth marriage to Ms Hall.

However, since marrying, the couple have invested heavily in property in the UK and US, including:

  • Holmwood House, a £11.25million Georgian property near Henley-on-Thames
  • Great Tew Manor, subject of a £30 million restoration project
  • A £228m cattle ranch near Yellowstone Park in Montana

It is believed that other properties they own are held in trust and include apartments in London and New York, ranches in California and Australia, and a $30m winery.

In addition, during their marriage, Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox assets were acquired by Disney for an eye-watering $71billion.


Quick - and quiet

Mr Murdoch is no stranger to sensational divorce revelations appearing in the newspapers as he is CEO and Chairman of media group News Corp. However, it seems from the speed of this divorce that he wanted it to be done with the minimum of fuss.

When Ms Hall separated from Rolling Stone Mike Jagger, she was awarded a settlement of around $18m. Mr Murdoch’s three previous divorces cost him considerably more. His divorce with second wife Anna, for example, resulted in a reported settlement of $1.7billion.

His divorce settlement with Ms Hall is said to include Holmwood House and a home in the south of France, but none of the US properties.

“Estimates of the final cash sum Hall will receive range from £50m-£250m, a relatively small sum for one of the world’s richest men. It is understood the couple agreed a pre-nup deal setting out what she would get in the event of a separation.”

(For more about pre-nups, see our page).


File for divorce in LA or London?

How assets are divided on divorce varies considerably depending on what country and which jurisdiction you file for your divorce in. Ms Hall chose to file her divorce in LA, where the 50/50 rule applies. However, many ultra high worth individuals choose to file for divorce in the English courts, as there is no fixed rule on how assets are divided. Often wives choose the UK as it can be deemed to be more favourable to wives specifically in terms of maintenance awards which of course can be capitalised.


Divorce for ex-pats and those working abroad

At LGFL, we have represented ex pats living or working abroad in divorce cases here in the UK courts, whether as petitioner or respondent. Our remote service ensures we can represent you and work to protect the best interests of you and your children.

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