Rupert Murdoch is set to walk down the aisle for the fifth time later this year when he will wed his new fiancee Ann Lesley Smith, a widow and former police chaplain who he has described as his ‘last love’.
News of the couple’s romance was first made public earlier this year by the Daily Mail, months after his divorce from fourth wife Jerry Hall was finalized, thrusting Ann Lesley into the spotlight – with much intrigue and speculation swirling over the identity of the woman who appears to have won Rupert’s heart once and for all.
Just two months after their romance was revealed to the world, the 92-year-old media mogul announced today that he had popped the question to Ann Lesley, 66, earlier this month – adding that the pair are planning to tie the knot in a matter of months.
Speaking about the union, Murdoch made a rare admission about his ‘nervousness’ at proposing – sharing with the New York Post that he had ‘dreaded falling in love’ again, having been through four very public divorces in the past.
So who is the woman who helped the mogul put his ‘dread’ to one side?
Rupert Murdoch is set to marry again after proposing to his girlfriend Ann Lesley Smith (seen together on March 16) last week
Ann Lesley, 66, is a former police chaplain and widow of late country music star Chester Smith, who died in 2008 aged 78 from a heart attack
Ann Lesley, 66, is a former police chaplain and the widow of late country music star Chester Smith, who died in 2008 aged 78 from a heart attack. And much like Rupert, she has been through her fair share of romantic turmoil, having survived an ‘abusive’ first marriage that left her on the brink of suicide when it came to an end.
Before her marriage she was married to John B. Huntington, an attorney who was a descendant of one of California’s pioneering railroad families.
Ann Lesley’s union to John was a tumultuous one, according to the 66-year-old bride-to-be, who previously told The Christian Broadcasting Network that he turned into a ‘different person’ when he drank.
‘He physically abused me, mentally abused me, emotionally,’ the former dental hygienist said.
After the couple’s messy divorce, Ann Lesley was left homeless and living on welfare – a tough period in her life that left her with suicidal thoughts.
‘I really wanted to commit suicide cause my life was just so bad,’ she said.
It was in the devastating aftermath of this divorce that she found Christianity and went on to work as a volunteer police chaplain.
It was through this work that she met her next husband, Chester, and found a new career as a radio host, according to The Modesto Bee.
Her second marriage appeared to be a happy one, with Chester’s 2008 obituary describing her as his ‘loving wife.’
It’s unclear how long the couple had been married at the time of his death, but they did record an album together in 2005 entitled Captured By Love.
As Ann Lesley prepares to walk down the aisle for the third time, FEMAIL reveals the fascinating ups and downs of Rupert’s soon-to-be fifth wife.
How the former dental hygienist began living ‘like royalty’ after marrying into one of California’s pioneering railroad families – before finding religion following her bitter divorce
Ann Lesley graduated from Idaho State University before starting her own business as a dental hygienist in the 1970s, according to CBN.
She then met her first husband, John, and claimed she was ‘easily’ spending $65,000 a month on clothing as a socialite wife.
Her husband was an attorney who was a descendant of one of California’s pioneering railroad families. Ann Lesley was 28 and John was 47 when they married in 1985.
‘During the day my life was just so fun. John was into cars, and we had a stable full of every kind – exotic Ferraris and everything,’ Ann Lesley told CBN.
Ann Lesley graduated from Idaho State University before starting her own business as a dental hygienist in the 1970s
She then met her first husband, John, and soon she was spending $65,000 a month on clothing as a socialite wife
‘Money was not an object. I had everything in the world.
‘The world just opened up to me. Almost like royalty.’
She added she would spend her days not just shopping, but riding horses, getting involved in philanthropy and working as a model for top designers.
But while Ann Lesley was being showered with gifts by her husband during the day, at night John was a drinker and ‘became a different person.’
‘He would lock me out of the house. He physically abused me, mentally abused me, emotionally… which is actually worse than physical because you start to believe the lies,’ she said.
Their union didn’t last and the couple divorced, but their prenup saw Ann Lesley become homeless and living on welfare, leaving her ‘ashamed.’
‘I really wanted to commit suicide cause my life was just so bad,’ she said.
‘Everything was just too much. I was thinking that if I just drive my car real fast into someone else then I’d end it. Well, I was driving recklessly. I wanted it to happen, [but] it didn’t.’
Her husband was an attorney who was a descendant of one of California’s pioneering railroad families. Ann Lesley was 28 and he was 47 when they married in 1985
To make ends meet, Ann Lesley picked up odd jobs and modeling gigs.
It was at one of her modeling jobs that her life changed when an event coordinator pulled her aside and noticed her struggling.
The coordinator told her she needed Jesus and handed her a copy of The Four Spiritual Laws, which she took home ‘begrudgingly’ and prayed.
She took the book’s advice and did ‘everything’ it advised.
Ann Lesley said Jesus gave her a new perspective on life, adding: ‘As I began to walk with God, the things of the world just seemed pointless to me.’
It was her new-found faith that brought her second husband, Chester Smith, onto her path.
The couple met while she was a volunteer police chaplain.
‘Loving wife’ to her second husband: Ann Lesley marries country music singer, and radio and TV mogul Chester Smith, with the couple releasing an album together in 2005
Ann Lesley’s second marriage appeared to be a happy one with Chester Smith. The couple pictured in 2005
Ann Lesley’s second marriage appeared to be a happy one with Chester Smith who was a country music singer and also became a media mogul worth millions, according to The Modesto Bee.
He launched the Modesto area’s first country music radio station in 1963 before going on to start the first UHF TV station in Northern California three years later.
The station was the first to offer Spanish-language programs in Northern California.
Recognizing the demand for Spanish-language content, Chester was part of a group who started Univision.
Univision went on to become the country’s largest provider of Spanish-language TV.
Like Ann Lesley, Chester, born 1930, also had a strong connection with his faith after being raised in a Christian household and was the youngest of six children.
The couple recorded a 13-track country album together in 2005 called Captured By Love
His religious beliefs shaped his musical career, with his 1955 hit, Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus, described in his obituary as ‘a song about Jesus extending the harvest of souls in the end times.’ Chester reportedly signed a record deal with Capitol Records aged 23.
The couple went on to record a 13-track country album together in 2005 called Captured By Love.
One of the many traits that Ann Lesley admired about Chester was his drive to improve the lives of others.
Sadly Chester died in 2008 aged 78 from a heart attack
‘He did help a lot of people. He was a wise man and he was a quiet man, but boy, did he make some breakthroughs,’ she told The Modest Bee in 2017.
Sadly Chester – who had three daughters from a previous marriage as well as 11 grandchildren – died in 2008 aged 78 from a heart attack.
Ann Lesley decided to remain in Modesto, California, after his death, living a ‘relatively quiet life on her ranch,’ the publication reported.
She had carved out a career as a radio personality and journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area, and was the host of her own show on iHeartRadio station Power Talk 1360.
The host was paying for her own airtime at 1pm on Saturday, The Modest Bee reported at the time.
In Chester’s obituary, Ann Lesley was described as his ‘loving wife’.
Ann Lesley, 66, is ready to wed again 14 years after being widowed – this time to billionaire businessman Rupert, 92
Rupert revealed that he and Ann Lesley met last September at his Moraga vineyard in Bel Air, California, explaining that he phoned her two weeks after meeting her at a 200-person event, the New York Post, his own newspaper, reported.
Ann Lesley described the relationship as ‘a gift from God’, revealing that the pair ‘share the same beliefs’ and ‘speak the same language’.
‘I’m a widow 14 years. Like Rupert, my husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations and helped promote Univision. So I speak Rupert’s language. We share the same beliefs,’ she shared.
Back in January, Rupert was seen soaking up the sun in Barbados with Ann Lesley after reportedly being invited by British billionaire Anthony Bamford, the chairman of JCB
The pair dined by a public beach with the future Mrs Murdoch wearing a yellow halterneck bikini and a matching sarong with a large diamond crucifix pendant
Ann Lesley continued that she felt she ‘waited for the right time’ to get engaged again, adding that her ‘friends are happy for her.’
Rupert revealed the couple’s plans to wed in late summer and it will mark the fifth time that the businessman, who is worth an estimated $17 billion, has tied the knot.
The media mogul admitted that he was ‘nervous’ about popping the question again, confessing that he had ‘dreaded falling in love,’ but said that he was confident his marriage to Ann Lesley would be his ‘last.’
Rupert, who is worth an estimated $17 billion, proposed in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day, joking in the interview: ‘I’m one-fourth Irish.’
The couple’s relationship was exclusively revealed by the Daily Mail back in January.
Rupert was seen soaking up the sun in Barbados with Ann Lesley after reportedly being invited by British billionaire Anthony Bamford, the chairman of JCB.
The pair dined by a public beach with the future Mrs Murdoch wearing a yellow halterneck bikini and a matching sarong with a large diamond crucifix pendant.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk