Pakistani media was abuzz on Tuesday with reports of Imran Khan marrying for a third time but the cricketer-turned-politician squelched the speculation, saying he would “celebrate publicly” if he married again.
Dunya News channel quoted a source as saying that 63-year-old Khan, currently in London, had married a woman belonging to the influential Maneka clan from Pakpattan district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Reports suggested that the bride, Maryam, was the younger sister of Bushra, a woman who acts as a “spiritual guide” to Khan. The reports said Maryam was divorced and the mother of two children.
Dunya News reported that the marriage was solemnised during a simple ceremony in London a few days ago.
Soon after the news broke on Pakistani media, Khan took to Twitter to describe them as “baseless”.
“Rumours abt my marriage absolutely baseless. I have not gotten married. When I do I will announce & celebrate publicly,” he tweeted.
Naeemul Haq, a spokesman for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, too dismissed the reports. “Rumours about IK getting married are totally wrong. He is spending time with his boys in England and will be back in Pakistan on Sunday,” Haq tweeted.
Haq admitted Khan has a “spiritual link” with the Maneka clan of Pakpattan. Khan had given “all responsibilities regarding his marriage to his sisters”, he said.
Khan was earlier married to English heiress Jemima Goldsmith from 1995 to 2004. The couple had two sons. His second marriage to British-Pakistani TV journalist Reham Khan in 2015 lasted just 10 months.
In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Khan had said he would contemplate marriage for a third time.
“Of course. It’s not in my blood to give up. But it takes a lot. There’s nothing worse than divorce, I tell you. It’s one of the worst things that can happen to a human being,” Khan said. He added he “would be a bit more careful” about marrying again.
Khan said he hadn’t closed his mind to marriage. “No; it’s even more open than before. But marrying at 60 is not like marrying at 30. The great thing about life is that it’s unpredictable; you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”