Who's the woman who fought Murdoch's foam foe?

LONDON - If the old saying is true - "Behind every successful man, there's a woman" -- it probably also helps if she has a good right hook.

Forty-two-year-old Wendi Deng Murdoch wasted no time when a protester tried to slam a foam pie into the face of her husband, 80-year-old media baron Rupert Murdoch, during a parliamentary committee hearing Tuesday, CBS' "Early Show" news anchor Jeff Glor reports.

"Her stock rose tremendously," said Brian Stelter, a media reporter for The New York Times. "Everyone now is wondering, who is Wendi Murdoch?"

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Deng, Murdoch's third wife, was raised by working-class parents.

"She's a native of China," said Stelter. "She grew up playing volleyball, which might explain that great swing she took at the hearing on Tuesday."

(At left, watch Deng in action at Tuesday's hearing)

She came to the United States in 1988 on a student visa.

"She moved here, ended up actually marrying her host father after having an affair with him," Sarah Ellison, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine, said.

In 1996, Deng -- single again but now with a green card -- graduated from Yale with a business degree.

"Did very well and became an intern at Star, which is one of Murdoch's companies in Asia, and she turned out to have met him when he needed a translator on one of his trips there, and so that was the beginning of their meeting and their romance," Ellison said.

In 1999, she married Murdoch, 38 years his junior.

"During this long hearing on Tuesday, you couldn't help but notice that the woman sitting behind Rupert Murdoch was half his age, but when she jumped up to defend him, that was the kind of love and compassion you see that I think any husband or any wife wants to see," Stelter said.

But she's not just a supportive wife-turned-bodyguard. She's also raising their two daughters -- Grace, 9, and Chloe, 7 -- and helps to shape his media empire's operations in Asia and, more recently, in Hollywood.

In her latest role, Deng helped produce the film "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" for her husband's movie studio, a story about the lifelong friendship of two Chinese women.

"I grew up in China in a small town very, very poor, so in a way I can relate to that character," Deng said in an interview promoting the film.

And now she stands by her husband's side during these scandalous times fiercely defending him in more ways than one.

"The speculation about whether Rupert Murdoch's going to step down or step up from the CEO job is going to continue, I think, in the days and weeks to come," said Stelter. "He's lucky that he has someone like Wendi, who's clearly a defender of him, to help him through it."

Police have charged the protester, identified as 26-year-old Jonathan May-Bowles, with behavior causing harassment, alarm or distress in a public place.

(At left, watch his comments to reporters after his arrest Tuesday)

May-Bowles, who performs comedy under the name Jonnie Marbles, is expected to appear in court July 29.

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.

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