Oh, possums, we always knew our Padma was trendy, and now Time Magazine agrees, turning Lady Rushdie into the poster girl for the rising divorce rate in India, where "this week's announcement that Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi are splitting after just three years of marriage is front page news across" the entire country. Indeed, the Bombay-based Daily News & Analysis is dubbing Padma "the woman who broke Rushdie's heart."
Kleenex in hand (minds out of the gutter, possums), we turn to our misty, water-colored, Padma-Lakshmi's-own-website-assisted memories of the way they were:
The New York Daily News, September 27, 2006, at the Metropolitan Opera's gala premiere of Anthony Minghella's version of Madame Butterfly:
Salman Rushdie: "There was a certain inevitability about the plot." Padma Lakshmi Rushdie: "The Americans don't come out very well." Salman: "What can you do? They go around plucking flowers and then they pluck off."
The London Daily Mail, July 2, 2007
Salman Rushdie..., who is worth around £8 million [$16 million], is said to still be in love with his 36-year-old wife but has accepted the marriage has no future."
When a woman leaves Salman Rushdie self-confessedly content with being "just the boyfriend", puts him on a diet of thair sadam, aka good ol' South Indian curd rice, and declares, "I have immense respect for him, but I also have respect for myself," you approach her with some admiration.
As she admits with ringing laughter, "I'm talking too much about Salman, it's obnoxious really, but I can't help it because I'm in love!"
The Observer—Sunday August 8, 2004
"I would never have said that I'd be able to fancy him [Salman Rushdie], but he's very charismatic, he's got a great sense of humour, he's endearing, he's a real charmer, he's a good flirter, and he loves women.' The only thing she doesn't like about him is his beard. It plays havoc with her skin.
Food, Lakshmi believes, is the 'main socialisation of our times' - by which she means, I think, that it brings people together. But is it also the way to a man's heart? (Not that she must require much help in that department.) 'Oh, yes ,' she says. 'Get some green seedless grapes, take them off the stems and freeze them. They become like hard, little marbles. They're great to feed your lover in bed. You can imagine the rest. But use the green ones, not the red ones because the red ones stain the sheet. Just keep them in the fridge - you never know when a date is going to end up back at your place.'
British GQ, December 2004
Lakshmi hadn't read any other future husband's books and was so taken aback by Rushdie's knowledge that she mistook him for a family friend. So how did he win her over? "Any woman who has heard him speak for five minutes would just melt," she says. "He's very charismatic. I think he's very handsome, very beautiful and very sexy."
Whether the bespectacled gent at the shoot today could ever be described as "very sexy" has been debated in the press ever since the couple got together. The Sun, with a nod to Mrs Merton, headlined its Lakshmi profile "So, dear... what first attracted you to millionaire novelist Salman Rushdie?"
Scurrilous GQ correspondent Toby Young reported that Rushdie's friends had dubbed the model "Pashmina Lickme" and feared the union wouldn't last. Such was the press' appetite for rumours of the couple splitting up that Rushdie and Lakshmi had to issue a statement last year to counteract claims that she found him "boring" and that she wasn't "intellectually stimulating enough" for him.
Hollywood Life, September/October 2006
What is your favorite painting?
The Lovers, by Rene Magritte, which is at the Prado in Madrid, Spain. It's of two people kissing, but they have white cloth over their faces. It's eerie.
The London Sunday Times, April 2, 2006
“There’s nothing useful about being married to [Sir Salman Rushdie], though. I think it works against me. I do have it easy in that I can take business class instead of coach, but I would have that if I was married to anybody.”
“In fact, I’d have to be really dumb to think that being with a writer was going to help with an acting career. I live in America. They don't give a shit about that stuff.”
“Dude, sometimes I try to say I shouldn’t go to things [parties] with him [Sir Salman] but ... I'm fucked if I do and fucked if I don’t.”