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Salman Rushdie's fourth wife Padma Lakshmi is pictured out in NYC

Salman Rushdie’s fourth wife Padma Lakshmi is pictured out in NYC after her former spouse was left horrifically-injured and on a ventilator after being stabbed in Buffalo by ‘Iranian government sympathizer’

  • Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, 51, was the fourth wife of 75-year-old novelist Salman Rushdie
  • The two met back in 1999 at a lavish New York City party, married in 2004 and divorced in 2007
  • Lakshmi was spotted in NYC on Friday after Rushdie was stabbed at a literary event in upstate New York
  • Hadi Matar, 24, was arrested after allegedly rushing the staging and repeatedly stabbing the novelist
  • Rushdie was rushed to the hospital where he is on a ventilator and fighting for his life 

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, the fourth wife of novelist Salman Rushdie, was spotted out in NYC on Friday afternoon hours after her former spouse was stabbed at a literary event by an alleged Iranian government sympathizer.

Just a few hours after the stabbing, his fourth wife Padma Lakshmi was pictured out in New York City wearing a denim jumper, face mask and glasses as she stepped out in Manhattan. The two were married in 2004, but their union only lasted three years.

Rushdie, 75, is on a ventilator, unable to speak and will likely lose an eye, his agent said following the attack. 

Rushdie was about give a talk on artistic freedom at New York’s Chautauqua Institution when a man rushed to the stage and lunged at the novelist, who has lived with a bounty on his head since the late 1980s.  

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi was spotted out in NYC after her ex-husband novelist Salman Rushdie was stabbed at an event

Lakshmi attempts to shield herself as she’s seen out in New York City after her ex-husband was attacked earlier in the day

The Top Chef host was spotted just a couple of hours after Rushdie was stabbed by a suspect identified by police as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, who bought a pass to the event.

After hours of surgery, Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak on Friday evening after an attack condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an assault on the freedom of expression.

‘The news is not good,’ Andrew Wylie, his book agent, wrote in an email. ‘Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.’

Rushdie has long faced death threats for his fourth novel, ‘The Satanic Verses’ that some Muslims said contained blasphemous passages. It was banned in many countries with large Muslim populations upon its 1988 publication.

A few months later, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Iran’s supreme leader, pronounced a fatwa, or religious edict, calling upon Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone involved in the book’s publication for blasphemy.

Rushdie, who called his novel ‘pretty mild,’ went into hiding for nearly a decade. Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of the novel, was murdered in 1991. The Iranian government said in 1998 it would no longer back the fatwa, and Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years.

But Iranian leaders have since said that, while they no longer support the fatwa, it can only be rescinded by the leader who issued it – and he has since died, meaning it will remain indefinitely.  

He has been married four times and had a string of high-profile romances that included Lakshmi, as well as Olivia Wide, and models decades younger than him.

Lakshmi is seen in NYC on Friday afternoon after ex-husband Rushdie was stabbed by an ‘Iranian government sympathizer’

Rushdie’s fourth marriage to Lakshmi ended in 2007 after only three years. Pictured: The pair in 2006

Rushdie’s fourth marriage to Lakshmi proved the most controversial when, like the others, it ended in divorce and Lakshmi, 23 years younger than him, wrote an excoriating account of their eight-year relationship.

She portrayed him as an insecure and insensitive spoilt baby, requiring constant praise, feeding and attention, not to mention ‘frequent sex’.

The two met back in 1999 at a lavish New York City party thrown by media queen Tina Brown. Lakshmi alleges that the two had an affair, and that Rushdie promised to be with her once his rocky marriage to his third wife concluded. 

Rushdie’s 2001 novel, Fury, was dedicated to Lakshmi. At the time of the wedding, Lakshmi was 28, while Rushdie was 51.

While Rushdie’s previous marriages lasted more than a decade, his union with Lakshmi only lasted three years, with the novelist bemoaning her in his memoir as a ‘bad investment’ who overly narcissistic and ambitious.

Lakshmi hit back at Rushdie in her own memoirs, calling him ‘sexually needy’ and insensitive to her endometriosis.

Salman Rushdie (right) together with his fourth wife, model and Top Chef host Padma Lakshimi attending the Cannes Film Festival in 2004

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