Jemima Khan - Biography

When Jemima Goldsmith announced she was marrying Pakistani cricketing legend Imran Khan, eyebrows were raised. The beautiful English heiress, a close friend of Princess Diana, waved goodbye to her studies, London society and Christianity, exchanging them for Islam and a life in Lahore as a political wife.

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Jemima was born in London on January 30, 1974, to tycoon Sir James Goldsmith and his then mistress, Lady Annabel Vane Tempest Stewart. The couple went on to marry in 1976.

A bright girl, seen as the apple of her father's eye, Jemima was an excellent horsewoman, and many thought she had the talent to become a professional showjumper. But she chose to turn her back on equitation and took up a place on Bristol University's prestigious English course.

The beautiful socialite with the mane of tawny hair was not to finish her higher education, however. When she met Imran, a dashing Oxford-educated cricketer 42 to her 21 at a nightclub in London in 1995, the attraction was as mutual as it was instantaneous.

In May 1995, the two married in a two-minute ceremony conducted in Urdu in Paris, with a civil ceremony at Richmond Register Office the following month. The dinner dance held at Jemima's parents' house that evening was attended by the cream of London society. In place of wedding presents, Jemima, in typical style, asked guests for donations to the cancer hospital in Lahore, named after her husband's late mother.

The couple set up home in Pakistan, where Imran set out to carve a career for himself in politics he is the leader of the Movement for Justice Party, which is campaigning to end corruption in the country. Eighteen months later, Jemima, by then speaking Urdu and campaigning to improve the country's literacy levels, presented her husband with his first son, Suleiman. Their second, Qasim, was born in 1999.

Jemima appears to have inherited her father's entrepreneurial qualities. As well as developing her own brand of ketchup, she set up a fashion label, the profits from which went to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer hospital. But in 2001 the budding entrepreneur, citing the economic downturn, announced the label would close.

Jemima is no slouch when it comes to sartorial elegance herself. "I couldn't define my style that's impossible," says Jemima. "I like comfort and elegance with a bit of glamour thrown in. If I like something, I'll wear it for years."

At the start of the new millennium Jemima and Imran appeared to be drifting apart, and she returned to her native London to enroll at university. Although they initially denied rumours that the marriage was in trouble, in June 2004, after nine years of marriage, a spokesperson for the political party which Imran founded in Pakistan announced the marriage was over.

In the months that followed the press took a keen interest in her friendship with British film star Hugh Grant. While the pair did their best to keep the relationship under wraps at first, they soon became a regular feature on the London party scene. The pair spent three years together, before confirming their split in February 2007.