Padma Lakshmi "Hoping for Swift Healing" for Ex Salman Rushdie After Attack

Salman Rushdie's ex-wife Padma Lakshmi is sending her well-wishes to the author amid his recovery from severe injuries sustained in a stabbing attack.

By Corinne Heller Aug 14, 2022 10:04 PMTags
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Padma Lakshmi sent her well-wishes to her ex-husband Salman Rushdie as he continues his recovery from severe injuries sustained in a stabbing.

The Top Chef host, who was married to the author from 2004 to 2007, tweeted on Aug. 14, two days after the incident, "Relieved @SalmanRushdie is pulling through after Friday's nightmare. Worried and wordless, can finally exhale. Now hoping for swift healing."

The same day Padma spoke out, Salman's agent told E! News that the author's "road to recovery has begun," adding, "It will be long; the injuries are severe, but his condition is headed in the right direction."

In addition, Salman's eldest son, Zafar Rushdie, 42, shared a statement on behalf of the family about his dad. "My father remains in critical condition in hospital receiving extensive ongoing medical treatment," he said. "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."

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On Aug. 12, Salman was preparing to speak at an event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY, when a male attacker rushed the stage and stabbed him about 12 times in areas such as his face, neck, abdomen and chest, a district attorney's office spokesperson told NBC News. The author was airlifted to a hospital and the suspect was arrested and charged with attempted murder and assault.

Zafar continued, "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."

Padma was Salman's fourth wife. He was previously married to Zafar's mother, Clarissa Luard, Elizabeth West—with whom he shares a 23-year-old son, Milan Rushdie, and Marianne Wiggins.

The stabbing suspect, New Jersey man Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault.

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"Mr. Matar benefits from the presumption of innocence, a fair trial and due process, as does every individual in our country," his attorney, Nathaniel L. Barone II, said in a statement to E! News. "We look forward to the scheduled Preliminary Hearing on August 19, 2022 and having the opportunity to aggressively exercise Mr. Matar's constitutional rights."

Police are investigating the motive for the attack on Salman, who lived in hiding for several years after Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a "fatwa" on him in 1989, calling on Muslims to kill the author over his novel The Satanic Verses. A preliminary law enforcement review of Matar's social media accounts showed he appears to be sympathetic to Shia extremism and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps causes, a law enforcement person with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.

(E! and NBC News are part of the NBCUniversal family.)

—Additional reporting by Meriam Bouarrouj

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