Salman Rushdie & Padma Lakshmi to Divorce

Salman Rushdie & Padma Lakshmi to Divorce
Lakshmi and Rushdie
Ramone/Landov

07/02/2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT

The 3-year marriage of author Salman Rushdie and TV's Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has ended, according to his rep.

"Salman Rushdie has agreed to divorce his wife, Padma Lakshmi, because of her desire to end their marriage," spokeswoman Jin Auh said in a statement issued to Reuters.

"He asks that the media respect his privacy at this difficult time," the statement also said.

In a statement from her rep, Lakshmi said she: "After an 8 year relationship including over 3 years of marriage, Lakshmi regrets that their mutual efforts failed to make the marriage work."

Rushdie, 60, and Lakshmi, 36, were married in New York City in April 2004. Among the 275 guests at the ceremony were comics Steve Martin and Robert Klein, as well as members of the international literary community.

It was the fourth marriage for the writer, whose previous three marriages also ended in divorce.

Two weeks ago, Rushdie – whose 1989 novel The Satanic Verses sparked death threats that forced him to live in hiding for nine years – was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth. The appointment provoked renewed anger among some Muslims in Iran and Pakistan.

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