Even before his authorised biography, Unlikely Hero: The Story Of Om Puri, hit the stores, the actor’s wife and the book’s author, Nandita Puri, was in the eye of a media storm. Excerpts from the book that detailed Om Puri’s sexual escapades were leaked to the press and grabbed headlines. Om reacted with an ‘angry’ interview accusing Nandita of “reducing a sacred part of his life to cheap and lurid gossip”. His wife retaliated by saying that excerpts from her book had been taken out of context and that her husband’s remarks had been misquoted.
End of the story? No, the saga continues. A couple of weeks ago, a website quoted the actor as saying, that his wife and he were separating. Soon after, a press release was issued denying the same. But speculations were rife that Om had confided in friends that the statement had been released without his consent and that he had initiated divorce proceeding, but stopped them, keeping in mind the interests of his son, Ishaan. He was also quoted as saying that he wanted to spend his old age with his first wife Seema, singer-actor Annu Kapoor’s sister, whom he had divorced 16 years ago.
When we called up Nandita Puri, to talk about the “break-up,” she insisted that they were “still together” and her husband had not moved out, as had been reported. Nandita, who has written another book earlier, Nine On Nine, was appalled by the negative publicity over her recent work and rued the trauma it had caused her 12-year-old son. She said that Om and she had mutually decided to now maintain a “dignified silence” on the subject. And were waiting for the rumours to die a natural death.
The Puris are no going their separate ways then. Tiger and Elin Woods? We are not sure. The golfing legend who’s been in the news for a string of extra-marital affairs, publicly apologised to his wife in Florida last Friday, February 18, for his “irresponsible and selfish behaviour”. Elin was not present at the press conference.
Victoria Beckham had earlier ‘forgiven’ soccer star husband, David, for his transgressions. More recently, Toni Poole kissed and made up with England’s football captain, John Terry, after it was caught playing footsie with mate Wayne Bridge’s model girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel. For some long-married couples, divorce continues to be a dirty word. But there are others, who after a lifetime of compromises, reach breaking point. It could be that one last revelation of infidelity, years of domestic abuse, freedom from parental responsibilities or simply incompatibility that makes them take that drastic step forward into an uncertain future, alone.
Aamir Khan and Reena Dutta
Aamir Khan and Reena Dutta had two children, a son named, Junaid and a daughter, Ira. Reena was involved briefly in Khan’s career, when she worked as a producer for Lagaan. In December 2002, Khan filed for a divorce, ending the 15-year marriage with Reena, before taking the custody of both their children.
Alyque Padamsee and Pearl Padamsee
Theatre personality Alyque first met Pearl while in college. They liked each other, but nothing happened. Pearl married someone else. After her divorce and despite parental opposition, they married. However, after nearly a decade together their marriage became predictable. So the two parted ways. Padamsee then married Dolly Thakore and later, Sharon Prabhakar. All three women were connected with the performing arts.
Basu and Rinki Bhattacharya
Rinki was married to film director, Basu Bhattacharya (1934-1997), though after suffering domestic abuse, she walked out of her home in 1982. The news came out publicly in 1984, through an interview with journalist Madhu Kishwar in Manushi, and the couple formally divorced in 1990.
Rita and Raja Dhody
Highflying businessman, Raja Dhody, distanced himself from a 10-year-old marriage with first wife Rita and their two children, to be with former beauty queen, Queenie. Recently, after 14 years of marriage, Queenie and Raja have split too.
Anup and Sonali Jalota
Sonali (Rathod) and Anup had a love marriage. After a few years of togetherness, their equation changed and their relationship did not last for long after that. Sonali then married Roopkumar Rathod.
Deepti Naval and Prakash Jha
Actor Deepti Naval and ex-husband filmmaker Prakash Jha, drifted apart two years after their marriage. After a brief “period of silence,” the two resumed communication. Both Naval and Jha had other relationships but have maintained a close friendship since their separation.
Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia
Kapadia tied her wedding knot with renowned Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna about six months prior to the release of her debut film, Bobby. The couple was blessed with two daughters. Their married life was not smooth and therefore, Dimple decided to divorce her husband in 1984.
Nana Patekar and Neelkanti
When Nana Patekar wanted to become an actor, his wife Neelkanti was working in a bank and supported his career choice. Patekar still feels he owes his career to her. The couple has been living separately for some time now, but they have not been divorced yet. They have a son from their marriage, and meet each other very often.
Hollywood’s ‘broken’ couples
Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri
The couple split after being married for seven years due to “mixing business with pleasure”. Dupri had produced several of Janet Jackson’s tracks on her last two albums.
Sean and Robyn Penn
Oscar winner, Sean Penn and his wife, Robin, have been separated twice. The on-and-off couple were married for 11 years and officially announced their split in 2009. “Marriage ain’t easy,” Penn said, “but it’s great most of the time.”
Mel Gibson and Robyn
The couple filed for a divorce after 28 years. They had seven children together and Robyn had requested spousal support and the attorneys’ fee. The actor had his first daughter with his girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, last November.
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
After 10 years of marriage, Hollywood’s hottest couple announced their split in 1998. The couple who have three daughters, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah Belle continue to share a platonic relationship, despite Moore’s relationship with Ashton Kutcher.
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
They met in 1999, the year his first wife, Linda McCartney, died of breast cancer. They married at an Irish castle in 2002, amid whispers that his children disapproved. They split four years later.
Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins
The split between the 23-year-old couple was declared on December 23, 2009. Sarandon, 63, and Robbins, 51, met while shooting for the film, Bull Durham, in 1988. Sarandon and Robbins were never married. Instead, they have been compared to other long time Hollywood pairs who remain committed despite never officially tying the knot, such as Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
They got married soon after the making of Cleopatra in 1963. After 10 years, Burton’s drinking habit became the reason for their divorce in 1974. However, the pair remarried in October 1975, and split up 11 months later.
Five types of couples who are waiting to get away
Psychologist Dr Trupti Jayin lists them out for us
Clinical Psychologist Dr Trupti Jayin categorises couples into procrastinators, racers, impudents, pretenders and the exacting types. She explains that the procrastinators are in the 45-plus bracket and are those who shy away from confronting issues in their lives and postpone decisions because of financial constraints and children. “Once the kids have grown up or the wife has become financially secure, they don’t feel the need to stay together,” says Jayin.
The racer couples are the jetsetters, usually in the 35-plus category, and are doing well professionally. They have an up-scale apartment, swanky cars and travel across the globe, but separately. “They started with similar goals, but over the years developed different interests and forms new friendships and associations. Eventually, they outgrow each other and want to live apart, so they separate amicably,” maintains Jayin.
The impudent ones are those who get caught in a constant shame and blame game. They often resort to verbal abuse. “They should have separated much earlier,” points out the psychologist. The pretender couples always say nice things about each other in public, and continue even when at home behind closed doors. But it’s a fake relationship and their feelings for each other are shallow. However, they continue with the marriage, because a lot is at stake, for as long as they can. “At some point though, some of them reach a breaking point and go their own ways,” says Jayin.
Finally, the exacting couple who have an extremely stressful and anxiety-ridden marriage. One reason could be that either partner thinks he or she is better than the other. The feeling of superiority erodes the other’s confidence and turns him or her into a nag, till the spouse gets tired of being a pillar of support and moves on.