J.K. Rowling

I Put a Spell on You

UPDATED 01/14/2002 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/14/2002 at 01:00 AM EST

Not long ago, J.K. Rowling was a happy single mom. "I have what I always wanted," she told Britain's Sunday Telegraph in 1998 as sales of her first Harry Potter novel soared. "I don't look and think, 'Now let's get Mr. Perfect in.' "

He showed up anyway. On Dec. 26 the 36-year-old author—now among Britain's wealthiest women thanks to her boy wizard—wed anesthesiologist Neil Murray, 30, her beau of the past year. About 15 friends and relatives watched Rowling tie the knot in a 20-minute ceremony at Killiechassie House, an 1865 mansion near the small Scottish town of Aberfeldy she bought this fall for a reported $2.75 million. Rowling's daughter Jessica, 8, served as a bridesmaid alongside Rowling's sister Dianne, 33, a nurse, and Murray's sister Lorna.

Both divorced (Rowling's 20-month relationship with Jessica's father, Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes, 33, ended in 1993; Murray and medical-school sweetheart Fiona Duncan split in 1999), the two met at a mutual friend's house and courted at bistros and pizzerias around their home base of Edinburgh. The once-penniless writer's estimated $150 million fortune may now have to stretch a little: Last summer Murray quit his $45,000-a-year hospital job to travel with her and Jessica. A true honeymoon, however, may have to wait for the other guy in the bride's life: Her fifth Harry book is in the works.

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