Padma Lakshmi is speaking out about ex-husband Salman Rushdie after the Satanic Verses author was stabbed on Friday during a literary event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, N.Y. The Top Chef host, 51, wed Rushdie in 2004 after five years of dating, though the marriage ended in divorce in 2007.
Following a statement from Rushdie’s son, Zafar Rushdie, that the 75-year-old novelist “remains in critical condition” but has been taken off a ventilator and is displaying “his usual feisty and defiant sense of humor,” Lakshmi has expressed her relief at the apparent improvement in her ex-husband’s health.
In a tweet on Sunday, the former model shared that she is “relieved [Rushdie] is pulling through after Friday’s nightmare. Worried and wordless, can finally exhale. Now hoping for swift healing.”
According to New York State Police, Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and chest during Friday’s event, and was subsequently airlifted to a local hospital for treatment. On Saturday, suspect 24-year-old Hadi Matar was arraigned on charges of attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree. Matar, who pleaded not guilty to both charges, was ordered to be held without bail.
Zafar Rushdie described his father’s injuries as “life-changing” and “severe,” but shared his own relief at the author’s ability to breath on his own and “say a few words.”
Those decrying the attack on Rushdie have included President Joe Biden, Bill Maher and fellow writers Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. After Rowling tweeted that she felt “very sick” about news of the stabbing, the Harry Potter author received a threatening response that read, “don’t worry you are next,” prompting police involvement and a statement from Warner Bros. Discovery condemning the threats against her.