By Anuja Jha: Imran Khan has led a colourful life, both as a cricketer and later as a politician. And his personal life is no less colourful or less out of limelight. Married twice before, Imran Khan is currently in his third innings. And his third wife, Bushra Bibi, might very well prove to be his nemesis.
The cricketer-turned-politician was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust case. The trust was formed by Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi, and their close aides. Bushra Bibi then went on to sign a memorandum in 2019 with a real estate firm, Bahria Town, to receive donations from it.
The case, which led to Imran Khan’s arrest and the subsequent unrest in Pakistan, has once again brought the personal life of the former cricketer under scanner. Here’s a brief look at Imran Khan’s three weddings and two divorces, and also the allegations regarding his infidelity.
IMRAN KHAN AND JEMIMA GOLDSMITH
Jemima Goldsmith, a British screenwriter, television, film and documentary producer, was Imran Khan’s first wife. The couple married in 1995 and divorced in 2004.
They have two sons — Sulaiman Isa (born in 1996) and Kasim (born in 1999).
The exact reasons for their divorce have not been extensively disclosed. However, it has been widely reported that the couple faced challenges due to the pressures of Imran Khan’s political career and the cultural differences between the couple.
Imran Khan’s involvement in politics and his dedication to his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is believed to have put strain on their relationship. Additionally, Jemima Goldsmith, who is of British origin, faced difficulties adapting to the cultural and political environment in Pakistan.
Both Jemima Goldsmith and Imran Khan have maintained a respectful relationship since their divorce and have continued to co-parent their two children.
Jemima had in June 2021 criticised Imran Khan for his sexist and derogatory towards women. She spoke out against him after his remarks that women’s attire could provoke sexual harassment and assault. The remarks drew criticism from women’s rights activists and civil society too.
In November 2022, Jemima tweeted she was relieved at the news of the former Pakistan PM being safe after the attempt on his life.
“The news we dread. Thank God he’s okay. And thank you from his sons to the heroic man in the crowd who tackled the gunman,” she tweeted.
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REHAM KHAN AND HER TELL-ALL BOOK
Imran Khan had the shortest marriage with his second wife, Reham Khan. The couple married in October 2014 and filed for divorce barely a year after. And this one did not end on a good note, as was evident after Reham announced a tell-all ‘biography’.
In the 500-odd-page book, Reham Khan gave lurid and graphic details on Imran Khan’s “preferences”. Imran Khan’s “confessions” about his illegitimate children (“He told me he has five, including Indian children,” said Reham back in 2018) are part of the book. She writes about Imran pleasuring himself to “images of male bodies”. She devotes much paper and ink to Imran’s sexual life; from empty cigar cases to tubes of KY jelly.
Reham Khan said that early in her marriage with Imran, when they were talking about Tyrian White (who she claims is “universally accepted as Imran’s love child”), the former cricket star said, “You know she isn’t the only one I have….There are five in total, that I know of.”
He said the mothers informed him, Reham claims. “Some are Indians. The eldest is 34 now,” she quotes him as saying.
Reham also claimed that she saw sexually explicit text messages from two women PTI leaders on her husband’s phone.
The timing of the release of the book coincided with Imran Khan contesting the country’s general elections in 2018.
Reham also hurled allegations of infidelity against Imran. She claimed that Imran was seeing Bushra, his now wife, while he was still married to her.
The bad blood between the duo did not end here. In January 2022, Reham Khan alleged that she was accosted by unidentified men who opened fire at the vehicle she was travelling in. Targeting her former husband over the attack, Reham Khan said Pakistan had become a land of “cowards, thugs and the greedy” under Imran Khan’s rule.
Months later, while Imran Khan was facing a no-confidence motion, Reham Khan, in an interview with India Today, slammed her ex-husband for being “a celebrity diva who only wants to listen to flattery, compliments”.
“He has this typical diva personality that he needs to pump up his ego. He needs to hear the applause, he needs to hear the sound of his name and I think even in cricket or Bollywood, you need to have the performance,” Reham Khan said.
Reham Khan even called Imran Khan “delusional” and said, “He does not listen to advice. Had he listened to advice, perhaps I’d still be married to him.”
VALIDITY OF MARRIAGE TO BUSHRA BIBI QUESTIONED
Imran Khan then took a third chance at marriage as he tied the knot with Bushra Bibi in 2018.
Unfortunately for Imran Khan, who was been a public figure for almost five decades, even his third marriage could not escape controversy.
The cleric who performed the nikah of Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi testified in court that the ceremony was performed during Bushra Bibi’s Iddat period. The iddat period (three months) is a waiting period that a Muslim woman must observe on account of the death of her husband or the dissolution of earlier marriage.
According to the cleric, Imran Khan told him that, at the time of the initial ceremony, Bushra’s iddat period had not been completed as she was divorced in November 2017.
The cleric said the former Pakistan PM and his wife planned their wedding despite being aware of the situation. He also alleged that Imran Khan had confided in him that he believed marrying Bushra would lead to him becoming the prime minister.
While the validity of Imran Khan’s wedding was still being questioned, the former Pakistan found himself arrested in a case that has close links with his third wife.