How’s this for a new couple alert? The rumor circulating around the corridors of power — from Washington, D.C., to Europe and Asia — is that Vladimir Putin and Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife, are dating. See more photos of Wendi here.
Reports of the pair have been floating around for years, ever since their respective divorces in 2014 and 2013.
One insider close to the powerful leader Said the relationship is “serious.”
The controversial Russian president, 63, was previously married to Lyudmila Putina for 30 years, with whom he shares daughters Maria, 30, and Yekaterina, 29. The Kremlin confirmed their divorce in April 2014. The politician rarely discusses his children, but during an annual news conference in December 2015, he boasted about his daughters to thousands of reporters, before shutting down more personal questions.
“They studied only at Russian universities. I am proud of them. They continue to study and work. My daughters speak three European languages fluently. One of them can even speak one or two Oriental languages. They are making their first steps and are successful,” he told the crowd during the rare moment, before stating: “I never discuss questions related to my family. They are not involved in business or politics. They are not pushing for this.”
Following Lyudmila and Putin’s split, the president was rumored to be dating Russian gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Putin was often featured in European gossip sites after Kabaeva stepped out in early 2015 looking “fuller,” igniting pregnancy rumors. Swiss newspaper Bild then reported that Putin had missed appearances because he had traveled to Switzerland to be by Kabaeva’s side, where she allegedly gave birth to their child at a Swiss hospital in March 2015.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the rumors.
“Information that a child has been born to Vladimir Putin is not true,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Forbes Russia in March 2015. He went on to joke, “I am planning to appeal to people who have money to organize a competition for best journalistic hoax.”
Deng has yet to be spotted looking romantic with the Russian leader, but was seen boarding her pal Roman Abramovich’s yacht in St. Bart’s on Monday, March 28. Abramovich also happens to be friends with Putin. (According to the Daily Mail, the billionaire Chelsea Football Club owner reportedly gifted the president with a $35 million yacht in January.)
Murdoch, 85, filed for divorce from Deng, 47, after 14 years of marriage in June 2013 after he reportedly grew suspicious of her relationship with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. (A spokesperson for Blair denied the affair to The Hollywood Reporter in July 2013.) The businesswoman famously made headlines in 2011 when she jumped to Murdoch’s defense and slapped a protestor’s face after he tried to pie her husband during a meeting with parliament.
The billionaire News Corp. chairman and CEO — who was previously married to Patricia Booker for 11 years and Anna Torv for 32 years — has also moved on, and is now married to famed supermodel Jerry Hall.
The media mogul tied the knot in March with the actress, who was previously in a long-term relationship with Mick Jagger. “Feel like the luckiest and happiest man in the world,” Murdoch tweeted after their union.