‘Top Chef’s’ Padma Lakshmi hopes ex Salman Rushdie has ‘swift healing’ after attack

A woman with dark, slicked hair wearing a white, high-neck gown
Padma Lakshmi arrives at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles in 2019.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

“Top Chef” host and judge Padma Lakshmi is “relieved” that her ex-husband, author Salman Rushdie, is on the road to recovery after being stabbed multiple times at a lecture in upstate New York last week.

The “Love, Loss, and What We Ate” author tweeted Sunday that she is “relieved” that he is “pulling through after Friday’s nightmare” during which Rushdie suffered serious injuries at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center.

“Worried and wordless, can finally exhale,” Lakshmi, 51, wrote in her tweet. “Now hoping for swift healing.”

Married from 2004-07, Lakshmi was “The Satanic Verses” scribe’s fourth and most recent wife. Rushdie dedicated his 2001 novel “Fury” to her and modeled a character in the book after her. In his 2012 memoir, “Joseph Anton,” he portrayed her as a moody narcissist.

Before Lakshmi, Rushdie, 75, was married to Clarissa Luard, novelist Marianne Wiggins and author Elizabeth West.

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Following Friday’s brutal attack, Rushdie was removed from a ventilator Saturday and able to talk and joke, according to the Associated Press. But literary agent Andre Wylie cautioned that although Rushdie’s “condition is headed in the right direction,” his recovery would be a long process.

The “Midnight’s Children” author remains in critical condition after the attack damaged his liver, severed nerves in an arm and injured an eye, which Wylie said he is likely to lose.

“Though his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” Zafar Rushdie, the author’s son with Luard, said in a Sunday statement to AP that also expressed gratitude for the “audience members who bravely leapt” to Rushdie’s defense, as well as police, doctors and “the outpouring of love and support from around the world.”

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Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., pleaded not guilty Saturday to attempted murder and assault charges in what a prosecutor called “a targeted, unprovoked, preplanned attack.”

The attack against the Booker Prize winner was widely condemned in the West, where Rushdie has sought refuge after weathering death threats for decades and a $3-million bounty on his head for “The Satanic Verses.” The book was banned in more than a dozen Islamic nations and Rushdie spent nine years in hiding under a British government protection program after an Islamic leader in Iran issued a fatwa — a high-profile edict — calling for Rushdie’s death in response to his 1988 novel, which was condemned as blasphemous against Islam.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday “categorically and seriously” denied any link from the Islamic Republic to the stabbing. Instead, he cast blame on the author and his supporters for the attack.