What’s worse than a break-up with 91-year-old media mogul and Fox News daddy Rupert Murdoch? A break-up with 91-year-old media mogul and Fox News daddy Rupert Murdoch via email.
Last week it was reported that former model Jerry Hall had filed for divorce from Rupert Murdoch, citing “irreconcilable differences” after six years of marriage. But that’s not the end of the story.
In a narrative worthy of a Murdoch-owned tabloid, the Daily Mail reported on Sunday that the billionaire may have ended things with Hall by text message. Then, anonymous “friends of Hall” later confirmed that he ended the relationship via a “ruthless email” while Hall was waiting for her husband to join her in the UK.
If we learnt anything from Sex and the City (and there is a lot to learn from that show), it’s that this is no way to end a relationship — although as this Twitter punter points out, that “post-it note” episode could well be where Murdoch got his inspiration from.
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For context, an iconic episode from the TV series centres on Carrie Bradshaw’s writer boyfriend Jack Berger bailing in the night, leaving Carrie with nothing but a post-it note saying “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” The upside of the post-it break-up was that Bradshaw was later able to use the note to get out of a fine for smoking weed — we can only hope Hall gets as much, or more, out of her break-up email.
Of course, in the long history of romantic splits the media mogul isn’t the first to turn to the digital method of the day to let his feelings be known. Here are some other people who ended their relationships in a very impersonal manner.
Just the fax, Phil Collins
Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Phil Collins reportedly turned to the modern medium of the fax — in 1994 — to inform his second wife, Jill Tavelman, that he’d fallen out of love with her and was demanding a divorce.
Collins, however, has repeatedly denied the rumours that this is how he asked for a divorce — and he was forced to deny them again in 2020 when his third spouse, Orianne Cevey, reportedly broke up with him via text in the middle of COVID-19 lockdowns. Ouch. Guess he probably wished Cevey had lost his number.
Russell Brand’s text appeal
Comedian and actor Russell Brand ended his 14-month marriage to singer Katy Perry via text message. Text message. In an interview, Perry said, “Let’s just say I haven’t heard from him [Brand] since he texted me saying he was divorcing me December 31, 2011.” Happy new year!
Actually, when you dig into the world of celebrity break-ups, it turns out that splitting via text, social media or a TV show is fairly common. Paul McCartney of The Beatles was dumped on live TV by English actor Jane Asher in 1968. Asher told Simon Dee, the host of BBC chat show Dee Time, that her five years with McCartney were over, saying, “I haven’t broken it off, but it’s finished.”
A transatlantic missive
Of course, back in the day, the modern version of a text or an email was a letter. So much classier. And when lovers were separated by sea or land with no phone line or internet to connect them, a letter was actually a reasonably classy option for ending things.
Another transatlantic love affair — probably quite similar to that of Murdoch and Hall’s — between feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and Chicago writer Nelson Algren ended with a well-penned letter from de Beauvoir, which included these very poetic lines: “I am better at dry sadness than at cold anger, for I remained dry-eyed until now, as dry as smoked fish, but my heart is a kind of dirty soft custard inside.”
Murdoch’s heart, we are sure, is also a kind of dirty soft custard inside. Hope that made it into the break-up email.