British author Salman Rushdie and his wife Padma Lakshmi, host of TV show Top Chef, are getting divorced, his spokeswoman said on Monday, just two weeks after he was awarded a controversial knighthood.
Rushdie, 60, is best known for his novel "The Satanic Verses," which outraged many Muslims and sparked death threats that forced him to live in hiding for nine years.
He married Lakshmi, a former model born in 1970 in India, in 2004. She was his fourth wife and the couple had no children.
"Salman Rushdie has agreed to divorce his wife, Padma Lakshmi, because of her desire to end their marriage," spokeswoman Jin Auh said in a statement on his behalf. "He asks that the media respect his privacy at this difficult time."
Rushdie hit the headlines two weeks ago when he was selected for knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, provoking renewed anger among some Muslims in Iran and Pakistan.
When the Indian-born Rushdie started his romance with the model more than 20 years his junior, the British tabloids made much of their differences in age and intellectual stature.
But Rushdie always defended his wife.
"Anyone who's met Padma knows she's as intelligent as they come," he told The Times of London in a 2005 interview. "But, you know, it's not supposed to be permitted to be gorgeous and really smart and also very nice."