Padma Lakshmi – who just made her final appearance as host of Excellent chef — reflects on her former marriage to author Salman Rushdie. Following the publication of his 1988 novel satanic versesRushdie received threats of violence, including a fatwa demanding his execution published on Valentine’s Day 1989 by Ayatollah Khomeini, then Iran’s supreme leader, who called the book “blasphemous against Islam”.
Appearing on Who is talking to Chris Wallace? On Max and CNN this weekend, Lakshmi, 52, admitted threats weighed heavily on her during her three-year marriage to Rushdie, 75. The former couple were married from 2004 to 2007.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about those things. I thought about the fatwā every day of my life, I couldn’t not think about it,” Lakshmi told Wallace. “But what I thought about the most was a very deep love between us. And that didn’t scare me, because I was with the man that I loved. And I thought that was where it should be.”
The cookbook author added that her family had reservations about the relationship.
“My family also wasn’t very excited at first, you know, about this relationship, but over time they also really grew to love Salman,” she shared. “And that’s really what I hope propels all my major decisions.”
Now a mother to 13-year-old daughter Krishna from her past relationship with Adam Dell, Lakshmi also shared her thoughts on Rushdie’s condition after he was stabbed at a literary event last summer.
“He heals beautifully, valiantly,” said Lakshmi, who spoke out after Rushdie’s attack. “Like everyone, when I heard about it, it catapulted me to things I hadn’t thought about in a very long time.”
She added: “You know, obviously we have a lot of mutual friends and I think he’s doing really well. He’s a tough old boot. And he’s nothing if he’s not tenacious, so I’m glad he’s recovering.”