UK & World News
Hacking: What Now For Rebekah Brooks?
Rebekah Brooks married an EastEnder and later a country gent and counted prime ministers among her friends.
Even Royals found themselves at ease in the presence of the flame-haired empathiser.
But it was her relationship with Rupert Murdoch that saw her rise to being the most powerful woman in British media and a paid-up member of the Chipping Norton set, a clique of the rich and famous with boltholes nestled in the Cotswolds countryside.
The extent of Mrs Brooks' power and influence was perfectly illustrated by her wedding reception at Sarsden House, a grand country estate, also in the Cotswolds.
On the guest list were the Camerons, Gordon and Sarah Brown, Rupert Murdoch, JCB tycoon Sir Anthony Bamford and his wife along with 200 movers and shakers.
One former News of the World (NOTW) exec described it as "only one level down from a Royal wedding".
Not bad for a grammar school girl from Warrington whose first foray into national journalism as a 20-year-old was a trip to Luxembourg to cover a story about beer for Eddy Shah's short-lived Post newspaper.
When the tabloid folded after a matter of weeks, Mrs Brooks washed up at NOTW as a secretary.
At 31 she was the boss, but it wasn't just her ambition and drive that got her there, it was her mentor Rupert Murdoch that prepared the ground, according to former News of the World's executive editor Neil Wallis.
Mr Wallis says the then-Rebekah Wade, her soon to be deputy Andy Coulson, and another young editor, Piers Morgan, were seen as the future.
He said: "They came through at a time where there was a deliberate decision to change the direction and the mood of how those papers operated... and it was a conscious decision by Rupert Murdoch that he wanted change."
Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson became an item professionally and personally at the NOTW - Coulson another apparently snared by what many say is Mrs Brooks' engaging personality and ability to empathise with people from all walks of life.
It certainly worked on more than one prime minister and their spouse. As well as the Camerons, Gordon and Sarah Brown became close to Mrs Brooks, as did Cherie and Tony Blair, according to his former spin doctor Lance Price
Coulson spent even more time at Downing Street. Mr Wallis, who says he is proud to call Coulson a friend, believes he gave Old Etonian David Cameron the common touch he needed to run the country.
He said: "If you talk to people in politics even now, they will say that to this day Cameron misses Andy Coulson's understanding of real people who are outside Cameron's world."
In the end it was phone hacking that brought both Coulson and Brooks down and ultimately closed the newspaper they both edited and which was owned and run by the man who used to treat Rebekah as a fifth daughter, part of the family.
With her acquittal at the Old Bailey, will he now bring her back into the family business?