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Putins on the Fritz, Splitting on the Doch of the Fray

Putin and Murdoch lead our divorce round-up

Adam Chandler
June 13, 2013

It’s commonly thought that January is the month when the most break-ups take place. But what if you live in Russia and every month is kind of like January? Or, if you’re of Aussie stock, June is your January and the Coriolis effect makes chaos of your personal life. I’m talking about the Putins and Murdochs, two of my favorite couples, whose marriages are both not long for this world.

Last week, the world found out about the Putins when they made a joint announcement…on state television…all dressed up…having just left a ballet. It was the first time a Russian leader had annulled his marriage in 300 years when Peter the Great exiled his wife to a nunnery.

The First Couple of the Kremlin made the announcement on national television while dressed in formal wear, with the stiffness of wax statuettes and the careful orchestration of the ballet they had just finished watching. It was meant to be a rare bit of candor from a man whose government has guarded his family affairs as closely as the codes in his nuclear suitcase. But it mostly served to reaffirm the rule Russians have long gotten used to: everything about Putin’s life is a secret unless he dictates otherwise.

Talk about a black swan song! The development spawned all kinds of fodder for members of the press non-press in Russia, whose years-long suspicions about the precarious standing of Russia’s first couple were confirmed by the announcement.

Today, the news got darker with the announcement that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch are also headed to Splitsville.

Murdoch met the socialite, 38 years his junior, at a company party in Hong Kong. The couple tied the knot in 1999, less than a month after Rupert’s divorce from his former wife Anna Maria Torv Murdoch Mann was finalized.

Just two years ago, the world was marveling as Wendi Murdoch deftly saved her ex-beloved Rupert by cold-cocking a protestor, who sought to interrupt a hearing at the British Parliament by hitting Murdoch with a shaving cream pie. It was exactly the Wendi DANG moment upon which many thought their eternal love was built. Now the two will have to split their own pie, including a $44 million 5th Avenue penthouse previously owned by Laurance S. Rockefeller.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.