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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Imran Khan and Jemima divorce
Imran Khan and Jemima Goldsmith on their wedding day
Imran and Jemima on their wedding day in 1995
The marriage of former Pakistan cricket star Imran Khan and UK socialite Jemima Goldsmith has ended.

"I sadly announce that Jemima and I are divorced," Mr Khan, now a high-profile politician, said in a statement released by his Justice Movement party.

They married in 1995 and Jemima, daughter of the late UK billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, later became a Muslim.

She recently moved back to London, taking their two children with her to be educated in the United Kingdom.

'Very sad'

"While Jemima tried her best to settle here, my political life made it difficult for her to adapt to life in Pakistan," Mr Khan said in the statement issued in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Jemima Goldsmith (left) with Princess Diana in Lahore in 1996
Jemima (left) with Princess Diana at Imran's cancer hospital in 1996

"This was a mutual decision and is clearly very sad for both of us. My home and my future is in Pakistan."

A member of Mr Khan's Justice Movement (Tehreek-e-Insaf) party told the Associated Press news agency that the couple had formally divorced a few days ago.

The marriage in 1995 of one of the world's biggest cricket stars to the daughter of one of Britain's richest men caught the world's imagination.

Last year Jemima, an ambassador for the United Nation's children's fund Unicef, dismissed reports that their marriage was in trouble.

Differences

Imran Khan gave up cricket in 1992 after captaining Pakistan to victory in the World Cup that year. At the same time he changed his lifestyle, devoting more time to Islam.

His marriage to Jemima three years later caused waves in part because he was in his 40s and she was only 21. Moreover, she was from a Jewish background, he a Muslim. She was to convert to Islam, which she says she still follows now she is living back in the UK.

The two shared his political work, with Jemima joining him on the campaign trail.

Imran Khan became a member of Pakistan's parliament in 2002 and has been a vociferous critic of President Pervez Musharraf.

Despite his high-profile, Mr Khan's Justice Movement party has little support.

He is also known for founding a hospital in Lahore for the treatment of cancer, after his mother died from the disease.

Jemima's high-profile circle of friends included the late Princess Diana who visited the hospital in 1996.

Mr Khan has a child from a previous relationship and courted scandal because until recently he refused to publicly acknowledge the girl, who is now 12.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Paul Anderson
"The statement issued by Imran Khan's party said it was a mutual decision"



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