It is perhaps fair to say it has not been the best of weeks for Mick Jagger. First, his old friend, collaborator, and contemporary David Bowie died. Now his former wife, Jerry Hall, has announced that she is to marry the 84-year-old media magnate, Rupert Murdoch.
And it’s only Tuesday.
In one of the most unlikely pairings to occur since Beauty hooked up with the Beast, Texan supermodel and professional glamour-puss Hall and the enormously wealthy Murdoch announced their engagement in traditional fashion in this morning’s edition of The Times of London.
Happily, Murdoch, who is not known for his delight in missing out on scoops, owns the paper in question.
A friend of the family who has spent time with Murdoch in recent weeks told The Daily Beast that his friends and family were delighted with the news. “Rupert couldn’t be happier. He’s not acting like some dotty old man who’s in love with a teenager, he just seems really, really happy. It’s a wonderful thing.”
And for those who find it unlikely that Jerry Hall should have fallen for a balding 84-year-old, the friend says, “Rupert’s a seriously impressive person. You spend five minutes with him and you will either be totally charmed or completely terrified—or both. When you look at what he has done with his life, it’s impossible not to have a bit of hero worship going on. It’s actually not that surprising when you know him.”
The announcement in today’s paper follows a whirlwind romance—Murdoch and Hall only started dating in the summer after being introduced in Australia, making their relationship public in October when they were seen for the first time together at the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham in London.
In a statement, a spokesperson said: “They have loved these past months together, are thrilled to be getting married and excited about their future.”
The discreet announcement in the Births, Marriages and Deaths section of The Times read: “Mr Rupert Murdoch, father of Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan, James, Grace and Chloe Murdoch, and Miss Jerry Hall, mother of Elizabeth, James, Georgia and Gabriel Jagger, are delighted to announce their engagement.”
The marriage will be Murdoch’s fourth but will technically be Jerry Hall’s first marriage. Sir Mick Jagger, who has long been celebrated as one of the meanest millionaires in rock, successfully sought to have his marriage to Hall, which took place on a Balinese beach in 1990, ruled unofficial when they separated in 1999.
As a result of Jagger’s legal maneuverings, Hall walked away from the relationship, which spanned more than two decades and resulted in four children, with a paltry $15m. Jagger is estimated to be worth over $300 million.
Murdoch’s wealth, however, dwarfs even Jagger’s impressive bank balance—the Australian is estimated to be worth around $11 billion.
Hall grew up in a poor Texan family with an abusive father who once lost their house in a poker game. She wrote in her biography that she decided to become a model after taking LSD at a party.
“All I remember is looking in the mirror and thinking: ‘You’re really beautiful. You should be a model,’” Hall wrote.
She ran away to France at the age of 16 and just weeks after she arrived “chewing gum and reading comics,” she was being photographed by Helmut Newton for the covers of Elle and Vogue magazines.
She fell in love with the British singer Bryan Ferry, and was the cover girl on his 1975 album Siren, but left him for Jagger (who was at that time married to Bianca) in 1977.
Jagger was an incorrigible womanizer but Hall turned a blind eye for the most part.
“All of our friends are the same friends, we like the same people,” Hall said by way of explaining her tolerance of Mick’s infidelity. “So we got on great. Except he slept with lots of other people, which was horrible. Otherwise, he was perfect.”
Hall finally demanded a divorce in 1999 after it emerged that Brazilian model Lucia Morad was having Mick’s baby—which was when Jagger claimed they had never really been married in the first place.
Sources said no date has yet been set for the marriage but it will likely be this summer.