Are Murdoch and Blair no longer pals?
LONG-TIME allies Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch are feuding after reports emerged that the mogul's former wife, Mr Wendi Deng, spent time alone with the former without the latter's knowledge, British papers reported.
A rift, described in the Daily Mail as "terminal", has developed in the relationship, although Mr Blair, British prime minister from 1997 to 2007, has maintained that his relationship with Ms Deng is platonic.
News Corp chairman Murdoch, 82, and Ms Deng, 44, finalised their divorce last week.
A close friend of Mr Blair told the Daily Mail: "Rupert Murdoch is putting out ridiculous stories about Wendi and Tony which are not true. It is the ravings of a sad, old man."
Meanwhile, a friend of Mr Murdoch told the newspaper: "Rupert Murdoch will have nothing more to do with Tony Blair. Not ever."
The sources were not named by the paper.
Sources close to Mr Murdoch also told the paper that Mr Blair, 60, and Ms Deng had met without the mogul's knowledge.
They are said to have stayed at Mr Murdoch's California home on weekends in October last year and again in April. They reportedly also spent a weekend in Los Angeles and met in London and New York.
A spokesman for the former prime minister denied he was having an affair with Ms Deng when the allegations first emerged in June.
Mr Murdoch's support is widely considered to have been a crucial factor in Mr Blair's three consecutive election victories and the latter is godfather to the former's daughter, Grace.