March 9, 2016

Padma Lakshmi says her husband Salman Rushdie called her "a bad investment" and was insensitive to her struggle with endometriosis.

She stood by him as he lived under a fatwa, but he accused her of using her ailment as an excuse not to have sex with him. She decided it was better to live alone, "free to wallow in my malaise, and nurse myself without seeing the disappointment in his face." She has a new memoir, and as she tells it, he said "You have the right to tell your side of the story as you see it."

He's written about her after all, in a memoir where he calls her his "Illusion" and — as the NYT puts it in "Padma Lakshmi Opens Up About Rushdie in Memoir" — he "describes her as irrational, vapid and vain."
“Her feelings for him — he would learn — were real, but intermittent,” he wrote. “She was ambitious in a way that often obliterated feeling. They would have a sort of life together — eight years from first meeting to final divorce, not a negligible length of time — and in the end, inevitably, she broke his heart as he had broken Elizabeth’s.” He also suggested that she was competitive with him ”and thought he was blocking her light.”


Picture 1 is Rushdie with Elizabeth. Picture 2 is Rushdie with Lakshmi. The NYT has the word "Elizabeth's" without any antecedent. I had to guess that Elizabeth was his previous wife. I Googled and learned about Elizabeth West, who was his third wife.
‘You saw an illusion and you destroyed your family for it,’ Elizabeth would tell him, and she was right.
Ah, "Illusion" is West's word for Lakshmi.

54 comments:

mccullough said...

Rushdie's writing is magical realism. Don't ever marry a magical realist

eddie willers said...

The little head votes for the one on the right.

Bay Area Guy said...

Padma Lakshmi - Yowza!

Rob said...

First wife. Second wife. I'd say the man has hit above his weight all four times.

Rob said...

Here's the first wife.

B said...

Serial divorcée hops from one uber attractive woman to the next. Describes his fourth wife as vapid and vain.

jdniner said...

Interesting. I can't say I have been successful at relationships. I do think though that a person has to be attracted to the mates passion. And overlook their faults because of that. A person is vain? So what. They can still love dogs. And you can love them because they love dogs. A person is intermittently emotionally absent? Again so what. The spouse needs to adjust what is valuable then as long as its not 100 percent absent.

Fabi said...

Who knew that being subject to a fatwā was such a good way of meeting gorgeous women.

coupe said...

Seems the easy thing to do would be to get a hysterectomy and have the ovaries removed. Life is short. Get rid of the bad parts and enjoy it.

But no, we have to have drama...

buwaya said...

Current GF apparently.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riya_Sen

pm317 said...

Padma Lakshmi's hair is always a mess and not flattering. I have wondered (watching Top Chef when I did) why she does not use a good stylist.

pm317 said...


But no, we have to have drama...


Well, drama might one day bring a child.

pm317 said...

Rushdie should use his Muslim privilege and simply go for multiple wives all at one time.

buwaya said...

Oddly, he has had only two sons out of all those women.

traditionalguy said...

A trophy wife with endometriosis. That's a revolting development.

And the beat goes on.

pm317 said...

@coupe, FYI she has a beautiful girl child now with another man..despite bad parts. My hair stylist(?) has endo and she conceived last year but lost the baby half way. Tragic.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Am I missing whatever it is from this celebrity divorce "news" that anyone's supposed to find interesting or helpful to their own lives?

J. Farmer said...

Khomeini's fatwa was the best thing to ever happen to Rushdie. It elevated his profile far above what his literary talent merited.

dustbunny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

The picture with the most recent made me laugh out loud. Those books must have sold well.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I mean, he was the best thing that ever happened to me by a mile. The fact that somebody of that stature and caliber was even interested remotely enough in me to want to take me to lunch was kind of unbelievable."

Someone please have a facts of life talk with this nice woman.

buwaya said...

"Simone Bouvior wasn't exactly beautiful "

She was, however, at least as depraved as Sartre.

Wiki re publicized scandals -
"She and Jean-Paul Sartre developed a pattern, which they called the “trio,” in which de Beauvoir would seduce her students and then pass them on to Sartre.[25] De Beauvoir and Sartre would both take part in political campaigns to abolish the age of consent laws for sexual relationships in France."

dustbunny said...

He seems to be a very unattractive character but there is a history of beautiful women and famous writers. I'm thinking of
Monroe and Miller, Norman Mailer and his last wife, Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre who was walleyed.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I'm with R&B. Why is this remotely interesting. Our gracious hostess usually has a plan or reason for her posts.

Anyone seen Meade lately.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Er, heh.

I've seen him around. And he didn't seem very happy. ;-(

buwaya said...

When at university our Philosophy department head (a woman) was an ex-groupie of Sartre, whether there had been something between them back in her student days in Paris, well, who knows. But she insisted on her bad but expensive French cigarettes, and she a native of the land of very cheap bad cigarettes.
Somehow she got the university to make all students, including engineers, take the Existential Philosophy class and read read her Tagalog translation of "Being and Nothingness". That semester we all learned to hate Sartre.

dustbunny said...

Yes she wasn't beautiful but he was hideous in the looks dept, as for the depraved stuff, come on, they were French existentialists!

dustbunny said...

Perhaps Althouse is considering a beauty and the beast theme. Melania and Trump.

Bob Ellison said...

So Salmon is on the market, ladies!

Titus said...

So she didn't want to fuck him...shocking.

His face is hideous; could you imagine his body?

Ick!

Sebastian said...

@buwaya: "Somehow she got the university to make all students, including engineers, take the Existential Philosophy class and read read her Tagalog translation of "Being and Nothingness". That semester we all learned to hate Sartre" Nauseated by Sartre? Perish the thought.

Being and nothingness being taught in Tagalog through the haze of French tobacco smoke: Rushdie could do something with that premise.

@FH: "I mean, he was the best thing that ever happened to me by a mile. The fact that somebody of that stature and caliber was even interested remotely enough in me to want to take me to lunch was kind of unbelievable." Yes, funny. So (apologies) did Salman wince the first time she told him he was the best thing that happened to her "by a mile"?

Laslo Spatula said...

"Baby, don't you see? I am Internationally Respected Writer. U2 dug me: Bono let me wear his Hat. I wore Bono's Hat. And I love how your breasts are big and nebulous, but I sound like a pre-modern dick if I don't properly abstract my scholarly reactions to your tits in a post-modern religion-inflected way, so: I appreciate the abstract bouncy nebulosity of your tits..."

"Did I say I love your cooking? Because I loved when you cooked for me, not for hundreds of thousands of flittery people who watched you on TV, not for your amazing smoosh swirl of exotic food, but for your pre-post-modern tits, as you souffled and sifted, bouncing and bouncing, the nipples never quite showing to the TV: did you ever want to wear Bono's Hat? Ws that a problem?"

"God, I am hurting, baby..."

"I am sorry about that Matt Damon thing. He was so excited to help me in my International Cause, and I can't help it: my dick fell internationally into his mouth: I just don't like to wear pants and then what happened happened. I already explained to Ben Affleck..."

It's really over? Really? So does that mean you are fucking Sean Penn now? Because Sean Penn fucks everybody when they break up. Hell: He fucked me in the ass after Elizabeth and it wasn't that great: he smelled like old beer and cigarettes and made me listen to Madonna albums...."

I am Laslo.

Freeman Hunt said...

On second thought, I think the aw shucks thing is part of the act. Or net more specifically.

rcocean said...

"Sartre who was walleyed."

He was also a midget, like Bill Maher.

madAsHell said...

He had a son with his second wife, and with his third.
I'm just as big a cunt hound as the next guy, but at some point it is no longer about you. You really need to man-up, and be a father, and not a fucker.

rcocean said...

If Truman Capote had been straight, he probably could've bagged Marilyn Monroe

chicks love writers.

fivewheels said...

"Who knew that being subject to a fatwā was such a good way of meeting gorgeous women."

Famous, and certified bad boy. No further effort required.

Drago said...

rcocean: "If Truman Capote had been straight, he probably could've bagged Marilyn Monroe chicks love writers."

Reminds me of that old Hollywood joke about the ambitious actress that was so dumb she slept with the writer!

Gerard Grosso said...

Who in the world cares?!

holdfast said...

Baby, does this burka make me look Fatwa?

holdfast said...

"Nebulous" means small. Try "pendulous".

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Having watched many Top Chef eps "vapid" feels about right, though she gets funny afeter a few glasses of wine.
Where was the NYT article about Gail Simmon’s memoir? I call sexism.

David said...

Best comment at the Daily Mail describes the writing in Rushdie's article as "dreadful chicklit." Amen.

William said...

There's a lot of risk in having a relationship with a writer. They're more likely nursing a grudge than responding to your nurturing. And the better the writer the greater the risk that you will be known to posterity as Mrs. Portnoy.......Gerald and Sarah Murphy were a fabulous couple. She was a great beauty, and he was extremely wealthy. They lived in Paris in the twenties and were the brightest lights in that luminescent scene. They were generous with their time and money to all their friends. Their friends included Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Hemingway dismissed them as "pilot fish" in A Moveable Feast. Fitzgerald based the Divers couple in Tender Is The Night on them, or rather on who he thought they were.. By all accounts they were good, kind people and not the damaged souls he presented. But that's how they're remembered in posterity........And it's not just male writers. I wouldn't want to be Erica Jung's last boyfriend.

Eric said...

FYI she has a beautiful girl child now with another man..despite bad parts. My hair stylist(?) has endo and she conceived last year but lost the baby half way. Tragic.

Endomitriosis can be like cancer. A lady who worked for me had it all throughout her abdomen, on various organs, and on her spine. It spreads, so occasionally the doctors had to open her up and cauterize what they could find so she wouldn't bleed to death. This was true even after the hysterectomy. And when it got bad she was in incredible pain.

William said...

Maybe Padma could make a casserole dish with little baby carrots and poached salmon and call it Salmon Flagantre. But unless it really catches on, the dish will never have the impact of a full length novel about a a neurotic chef: Eat, Prey, and Shit All Over Me. This is especially true if Julia Roberts plays the part of the neurotic chef in the movie, and they include the grisly scene where she disembowels a lamb in her crazed pursuit of culinary excellence.........I'm not familiar with either Padma's cooking or Salman's writings, but dumping on the ex does seem to be a field where the writer has the edge on a cook.

dustbunny said...

Gerald Murphy was an interesting artist and heir to the Mark Cross company. Scott and Zelda were both attractive and she also wrote a novel. I think the the Murphys resented being known as the models for the Divers characters because the mental illness of the wife was obviously closer to that of Zelda. So, money, fame, and craziness but no ugly people in that group.

Laslo Spatula said...

""Nebulous" means small. Try "pendulous"."

Nebulous: Lacking definite form or limits; vague.

The post-modern breast, free of sexual conformance and description.

I am laslo.

Paul Snively said...

I'll never forget the "Top Chef" episode in which the guest judge was Nigella Lawson, and the quick fire challenge was "breakfast in bed." I immediately thought "that's not a quick fire challenge; that's a Penthouse letter," and sure enough, one of the contestants, a fair-skinned, red-headed young man, stammered and blushed furiously through his presentation.

Padma Lakshmi was uncomprehending, cold, almost dismissive. Nigella Lawson, who is well aware of both food's and her own sensuality, was sweet, kind, and sympathetic. My already significant respect for Lawson increased. My conclusion about Lakshmi was that she's dangerously clueless and probably came up with the ill-considered breakfast in bed quick fire challenge in the first place.

tim in vermont said...

Best comment at the Daily Mail describes the writing in Rushdie's article as "dreadful chicklit." Amen.

+1

Bill Peschel said...

Why the hate for presenting this? It brought out some great comments. Isn't that enough?

But then, I'm a whore for writers. Been collecting stories about them for years.

I loved the fake memoir by one of officers assigned to guard him. The Daily Fail ran this tidbit about "Scruffy" (their nickname for SR) when the party were at an isolated cottage hiding from the fatwa:

"It was there, Evans reveals, that two officers were dispatched to a local B&B and the other two were told to retire upstairs when Rushdie decided to get amorous with ‘pal’ and soon to be third wife Elizabeth West.

"Things calmed down at the cottage. I looked through Fenton’s CD collection and chose one by Roberta Flack. I didn’t realise it would make Scruffy romantic.

"Bob told me Joe and Elizabeth wanted some privacy though I tried to tell him that having us around hadn’t put Scruffy off his stroke in the past."

Birkel said...

A man who collects trophy wives? I wonder what that reflects about his character.

The Drill SGT said...

Padma was hot as a Rajah's concubine in one of the later Sharpe's TV movies

"Sharpe's Challenge"

Char Char Binks said...

"Nubulous" means "cloudy", so you can understand my confusion.