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Salman Rushdie called Padma Lakshmi “bad investment” when she refused sex: Lakshmi’s memoir

Lakshmi didn’t know who the father of her son Krishna was.

AB Wire

Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi

Salman Rushdie comes across as a cold and heartless husband, who belittled his wife with “lethal eloquence” and scorned her with contempt when she refused to have sex with him because of a painful medical condition, reveals an explosive memoir by his ex-wife Padma Lakshmi.

Rushdie needed consoling every year he did not win the Nobel Prize for literature, and their marriage was marred by jealousy and insecurity, according to Lakshmi’s new memoir: ‘Love, Loss and What We Ate’, reported The Telegraph.

The Indian American model and judge on US reality show ‘Top Chef’, Lakshmi, 45, accused Rushdie of describing her as “a bad investment” after she refused his sexual advances, and painted him as a cold and heartless husband.

The pair met in 1999 at a party in New York, when Miss Lakshmi was 28 and single, and Rushdie was 51 and married to his third wife. They married in 2004, dividing their time between London – where his two sons lived – and New York. She told how he used to make her breakfast in bed every morning, and at first their marriage was blissful.

But slowly it soured with Rushdie proving as “lethally eloquent” in wars of words as in print. The author, who was born in Bombay but brought up in the UK, was knighted by the Queen in 2007 for services to literature, having won the Booker Prize in 1983 for Midnight’s Children.

When his glamorous wife was pictured on the cover of Newsweek, and delightedly showed the magazine to him, his grudging response was: “The only time Newsweek put me on their cover was when someone was trying to put a bullet in my head.”

Lakshmi told People magazine in an interview to promote her book: “I just wanted my own identity. I was making the transition out of one stage of my life and into another. But in order to do that, it required that I wasn’t everywhere that he needed me to be.”

“I was making the transition out of one stage of my life and into another. But in order to do that, it required that I wasn’t everywhere that he needed me to be”

Salman Rushdie (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Salman Rushdie (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Lakshmi developed endometriosis, a painful condition affecting the lining of the womb, but Rushdie was unsympathetic, she writes. When she refused sex due to the pain, he would reply: “How convenient.”

“It’s not that I didn’t want to be there for him, but something was very deeply wrong,” she said. “And I didn’t understand it. And that caused a whole lot of misunderstanding.”

After one five-hour surgery for her condition, Lakshmi returned with stitches in four major organs and stents in both kidneys. But Sir Salman, instead of caring for her, left the next day for a work trip.

“The show must go on, after all,” he said on this way out the door, according to Lakshmi.

As soon as she was able to leave the house she went to a divorce lawyer. She went on to become involved with Ted Forstmann, the billionaire chief executive of sports and artist management company IMG, who died in 2011 aged 71. She has a six-year-old daughter, Krishna, with Adam Dell, the venture capitalist. She dated both men at the same time, and when she got pregnant didn’t know who the father was, says the memoir.

“It was tears mixed with worry, mixed with embarrassment, mixed with triumph because I did have a child,” she recalls. She asked Forstmann to take a paternity test, which revealed he wasn’t the father, reported People.

Although she was terrified he might leave her, Forstmann stood by her side and was there in the hospital room when Krishna was born. “He was resolute in making sure I wasn’t alone,” she says. “This wasn’t his child and he held my hand – and he held it very publicly.”

The Telegraph reported Rushdie has not responded to his ex-wife’s onslaught. But shortly after his marriage to Lakshmi ended, he said he thought marriage was an unnecessary complication in life -and women only want it for the dress.

“It’s strange, given that I’ve been married four times, but I actually don’t think marriage is necessary,” he said. “Girls like it, especially if they’ve never been married before – it’s the dress. Girls want a wedding, they don’t want a marriage. If only you could have weddings without marriages.”

After his marriage to Lakshmi was over, a new girlfriend Pia Glenn gave an interview after they split up to The New York Post saying he was “cowardly, dysfunctional, and immature”, and that he kept talking about Lakshmi.

Last week, at the Vanity Fair Oscars party, Rushdie was pictured on the arm of a mystery, much younger, model, reported Telegraph.

In an interview to NPR to promote her memoir, Lakshmi talked about her favorite subject: food.

She says in that interview: “From my earliest childhood memories I can remember being in the kitchen, and my grandmother and my aunts and my older cousins, and my mother, certainly, all taught me about food. I only found out recently from a scientist in Seattle at the Science Museum that I am a supertaster, and I never knew that was actually a thing … I bring it up because from a very early age, I was always very curious about eating foods that normally toddlers don’t eat. Very sour things like mango and tamarind, very bitter things like fermented foods or certain Asian vegetables. And you know, you don’t really give a bowl of fiery Indian pickles to a 2-year-old! And yet I was climbing up on my grandmother’s shelves in the kitchen like a monkey, sort of like a temple monkey, to try and get at the pickle jars … I think my young palate needed that stimulation.

She spoke about her rice eating habits, inculcated after she moved to America at the age of 4: “I was very used to a lacto-vegetarian Hindu Brahmin diet, and so I found it hard to eat American foods. So we would have to seek out restaurants that had rice — whether it was a Chinese restaurant or a Mexican restaurant, or whatever. And luckily we lived in New York City, and I experienced the city through my palate, and it was an exciting place to grow up as a child. It gave me great independence, but it also allowed me to really experience a lot of the world in a much less sheltered way than I would if I was living anywhere else.”

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