You’ve probably heard the shocking news by now that Salman Rushdie was brutally attacked on stage at a speaking event Friday in Chautauqua, New York. The author suffered stab wounds to his face, neck, abdomen and chest, according to a district attorney’s office spokesperson who spoke to NBC News. The alleged attacker, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matir, was taken into custody by a state trooper at the event, according to New York State Police. Meanwhile the novelist was airlifted to a hospital to receive treatment for his wounds; he has remained there ever since.
Now, Salman’s ex-wife Padma Lakshmi has broken her silence, taking to social media to share her sympathy for the horrific situation. She explained in a Sunday tweet:
“Relieved @SalmanRushdie is pulling through after Friday’s nightmare. Worried and wordless, can finally exhale. Now hoping for swift healing.”
See the full post (below):
Relieved @SalmanRushdie is pulling through after Friday’s nightmare. Worried and wordless, can finally exhale. Now hoping for swift healing.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) August 14, 2022
The Top Chef host was married to the acclaimed writer for three years from 2004-2007 after first meeting him in 1999. She spoke with People in 2016 regarding her former relationship with the 75-year-old, explaining:
“For us Indians, he’s like Hemingway. Imagine a young woman in her twenties, who loves books and and who had published her little cookbook and in comes this guy. 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.”
Padma continued to cite endometriosis as a factor in the the pair’s split, revealing:
“Endometriosis was definitely a major reason that my marriage failed and I don’t think either of us understood it at the time. I think that’s also because I hid it to a certain degree, not intentionally, but you know, it’s weird to talk about your period all the time. It’s like the least sexy thing in the world to do. I think that Salman took it personally and I think that he felt rejected. I can understand that.”
Sounds like she’s really reached a place of understanding about a difficult situation.
Padma was the fourth wife of the Satanic Verses author, following Clarissa Luard (mother of Salman’s 42-year-old son Zafar Rushdie), Elizabeth West (who shares 23-year-old Milan Rushdie with the author), and Marianne Wiggins. The television host added that she remained good friends with her ex following their split, and spoke to him about her book Love, Loss and What We Ate: A Memoir, saying:
“I told him, ‘I just want you to know that I talk about the demise of our marriage and I talk about it because I really wanted to talk about endometriosis and also that you were a huge part of my life. And he said, ‘You have the right to tell your side of the story as you see it.’”
“I mean, look, he’s the most famous proponent of free speech. Plus, he is a big boy. He can take care of it.”
The author himself remains in critical condition, but is making improvements, per Zafar, who revealed in a statement:
“My father remains in critical condition in hospital receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment. We are extremely relieved that yesterday he was taken off the ventilator and additional oxygen and he was able to say a few words. Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact.”
“Life changing injuries” sounds catastrophic. According to Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt, Salman may lose his right eye. As of now, the attacker is facing second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault charges — and up to 32 years in prison if convicted.
But we’re glad he’s well enough to speak now. Zafar also thanked the people who saved his life, saying:
“We are so grateful to all the audience members who bravely leapt to his defence and administered first aid along with the police and doctors who have cared for him and for the outpouring of love and support from around the world. We ask for continued patience and privacy as the family come together at his bedside to support and help him through this time.”
Let’s hope Salman continues to recover and justice gets served!
[Images via Top Chef World/YouTube & Lisa Toby/WENN/Avalon]