June 20, 2024
Not much is known about Rupert Murdoch's new romantic interest, though this mystery scientist might not surprise him with a past that includes extreme politics and marriages that end in litigation.

It’s been quite a year for 92-year-old media tycoon Rupert Murdoch in the romance department.

In April, the Fox News mogul ended his whirlwind engagement with Ann Lesley Smith, a one-time dental hygienist and conservative radio host from Modesto who reportedly favors “QAnon-style politics” and who has a pattern of marrying older, wealthy men, including the late John B. Huntington, the scion of one of San Francisco’s most prominent families.

Now, on Monday, comes a report that Murdoch has already moved on and has been enjoying a yachting vacation with a woman named Elena Zhukova, who’s only been described as a “scientist.”

The Drudge Report broke the news of Murdoch’s latest romance, citing a source who said he has “got the energy of people half his age,” the Daily Mail reported. The source also told The Drudge Report: “He just might be in love again.”

That’s pretty much all that the Drudge Report had to say, mentioning nothing about where Zhukova is from, her age, where they met and where the supposed new couple are on their yacht vacation, Newsweek also said. 

Given the global fascination with Murdoch’s love life, news outlets feverishly searched the name Elena Zhukova, and it’s likely there are some women out there who are being inundated with requests for comment Monday.

Newsweek found a couple of possible Elena Zhukovas who work as scientists. There is an Elena Zhukova who contributed to articles in 2007 about cellular DNA synthesis, and insulin released from gastric G cells, Newsweek reported, citing the ResearchGate website, which tracks scientific contributions. More recently, a scientist named Elena S. Zhukova of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has contributed to work on quantum spin liquids, according to AD Scientific Index’s website.

A woman with an expertise in DNA synthesis or quantum spin liquids certainly sounds very different from Murdoch’s recent past partners. He spent six years married to former super model Jerry Hall, the longtime ex-partner of Mick Jagger. That marriage suddenly ended in the summer 2022, when Hall was “blindsided” by an email from Murdoch, saying he wanted to end the marriage, Vanity Fair reported in April. 

Six months later, Hall and the rest of the world earned that Murdoch was dating Smith, the widow of the late Modesto-based TV mogul Chester Smith. Hall recognized Smith as a woman who had dined with her and Murdoch at their ranch in Carmel, Vanity Fair reported.

At the time, Smith was dating the ranch’s manager, Vanity Fair said. She also was a conservative radio host “with QAnon-style politics” who flattered the media mogul by telling him that he and Fox News were saving democracy. Hall recalled how Smith had offered to give Murdoch a teeth cleaning, Vanity Fair also reported.

Perhaps it’s some consolation to Hall that Murdoch pretty quickly dispatched Smith, a mere two weeks after announcing their engagement in late March. In breaking the news that Murdoch had called off the engagement, Vanity Fair writer Gabriel Sherman reported that Smith’s politics and religious views might have been too extreme even for the man who owns Fox News. A source close to Murdoch told Sherman that Murdoch had become “increasingly uncomfortable” with Smith’s “outspoken evangelical views.”

It’s also possible that Murdoch — or people close to him — had become increasingly uncomfortable with news reports that began circulating about Smith. Details about her personal history were sketchy, including where she was born and grew up. It also become known that she had been married at least twice to much-older men and that those marriages ended in bitter and protracted legal fights over money.

Perhaps Murdoch knows a lot more about Elena Zhukova’s past and politics and can hope the odd details don’t begin to pop up about her.

Or maybe the supposed romance isn’t serious: Murdoch and the scientist are just “having fun together” and “keeping it casual,” as younger celebrity couples tend to say when they are discovered doing sleepovers at each other’s homes or going on yachting vacations together.