Rebekah Brooks: The Evolution of Fear and Loathing

The ex-CEO of Rupert Murdoch's News International (and former editor of the now-famous-for-phone-hacking News of the World) was once the youngest editor of a British national newspaper. Now she's arguably the most despised. Check out our timeline of her rise and fall

Jamie Miles • Editor
rebekah brooks rupert murdoch news of the world hack scandal
Photograph: Courtesy of Getty Images

During the years in which Rebekah Brooks served as editor of the Rupert Murdoch tabloids News of the World and The Sun, and later served as CEO of their parent company, News International, many came to fear the woman in red (yes, her hair has always been that color). Suspicions of illegal practices at the newspapers, including hacking of phones and bribery of sources, surfaced in The Guardian in early 2000 but the investigation sputtered out, perhaps because some in Parliament and the police force feared future retribution from Brooks. Now, 10 years later, the phone-hacking scandal has re-emerged and the editors at the helm are being held accountable.  The following timeline of Brooks's life maps her toxic trajectory.

May 27, 1968: Born Rebekah Wade in Warrington, Cheshire.

1982: Brooks turns 14 and, according to Newsweek, decides she wants to be a journalist.

Approx. 1989: Brooks graduates from the London College of Printing (now known as the London College of Communications, it's part of the University of the Arts).

1989-1998: Brooks begins her career at News of the World (NOTW) as a secretary. She later moves up to become a features writer, features editor, associate editor and, ultimately, deputy editor.

1998: Brooks leaves NOTW to become deputy editor of Murdoch tabloid The Sun.

2000: Brooks, now 31, becomes editor of   NOTW  , making her the youngest editor of a British national newspaper.

June 2002: Brooks marries soap-opera star Ross Kemp.

2003:  Brooks admits to lawmakers that NOTW paid police officers for information. No police investigation ensues.

2003: Brooks moves to NOTW’s sister publication The Sun, becoming its first female editor.

2005: Brooks is arrested for assaulting her husband, Kemp. No charges are filed.

November 2005: NOTW's Clive Goodman reports in the paper that Prince William has a knee injury. Since that information had never been made public, Buckingham Palace complains, prompting a police inquiry.

2006: Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are convicted and jailed for intercepting cell phone messages of members of the royal family.

July 2009: Brooks becomes chief executive of News International.

First Published July 19, 2011

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