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Rushdie, Top Chef Wife Skewer Marriage

by Julie Keller
Tue, 3 Jul 2007 02:36:57 PM PDT

A divorce is cooking for author Salman Rushdie and his Top Chef host wife, Padma Lakshmi, but it's a little unclear who's stirring the pot.

According to a statement from the 60-year-old author of The Satanic Verses, it was his missus who is looking to fry their three-year marriage.

"Salman Rushdie has agreed to divorce his wife Padma Lakshmi, because of her desire to end their marriage," his agent said on the author's behalf. "He asks that the media respect his privacy at this difficult time."

But Lakshmi, 36, claims it was more of a mutual decision, saying that she "has agreed with her husband-author, Salman Rushdie, to end their marriage," in a statement released by her publicist, Christina Papadopoulos.

"After an eight-year relationship including over three years of marriage, Lakshmi regrets that their mutual efforts failed to make the marriage work," continued the statement from the host of the hit Bravo reality cooking show and the author of the Easy Exotic cookbook.

The author tied the knot with the 36-year-old Indian model in New York in 2004. It was his fourth marriage. His previous three trips down the altar also ended in divorce.

All in all, it's been an eventful time for the author. Two weeks ago, the Queen knighted him for his services to literature. His second novel, Midnight's Children, won the Booker Prize in 1981 and The Satanic Verses made him a household name in 1989.

While Sir Salman says he was happy to receive the honor ("I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honor and am very grateful that my work has been recognized in this way," he told the Hindustan Times), the appointment did raise the ire of Muslim groups in Iran and Pakistan.

Fundamentalists in those countries renewed the fatwa, essentially a call for his execution, that was first issued after the release of The Satanic Verses, which was deemed heretical and forced Rushdie underground for years.

The fatwa was officially lifted in 1998, bringing Rushdie out of his self-imposed isolation and back into the media spotlight—he even made a guest appearance in 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary.

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com


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