Bollywood’s cerebral couple, Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao have parted ways after 15 years of marriage during which they collaborated not only on several film and television projects but also on a philanthropic mission on water management in the drought-hit areas of Maharashtra.
They have an nine-year-old son, Azad Rao Khan.
The news has taken many in the film industry as well as their fans by surprise. This is the second divorce for Mr. Perfectionist, who had divorced his first wife, Reena Dutta in 2002. They had married in 1986 during the shooting of his debut blockbuster, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Aamir has two kids, Junaid and Ira from his first marriage.
In a joint statement on Saturday, the couple announced their decision, saying their divorce is “not an end, but as the start of a new journey”.
“In these 15 beautiful years together we have shared a lifetime of experiences, joy and laughter, and our relationship has only grown in trust, respect and love. Now we would like to begin a new chapter in our lives - no longer as husband and wife, but as co-parents and family for each other. We began a planned separation some time ago, and now feel comfortable to formalise this arrangement, of living separately yet sharing our lives the way an extended family does. We remain devoted parents to our son Azad, who we will nurture and raise together. We will also continue to work as collaborators on films, Paani Foundation, and other projects that we feel passionate about. A big thank you to our families and friends for their constant support and understanding about this evolution in our relationship, and without whom we would not have been so secure in taking this leap. We request our well wishers for good wishes and blessings, and hope that - like us - you will see this divorce not as an end, but as the start of a new journey,” the statement reads.
The divorce has taken place at a time when Aamir is busy completing his next ambitious movie, Lal Singh Chadha, a remake of Tom Hanks; Oscar-winning Forest Gump (1994), which stars Kareena Kapoor in the lead opposite him.
Aamir and Kiran had met while they were working on Lagaan (2001). While Aamir was the actor-producer of the film, Kiran worked as an asssistant director to Ashutosh Gowariker. They married in 2005. Later, they worked together on several projects, including Dhobi Ghat (2010), which was directed by Kiran.
In 2016, they co-founded an NGO called Paani Foundation, to work in the area of drought prevention and watershed management in the parched areas of Maharashtra.