ISLAMABAD (REUTERS) - Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and his wife, Reham Khan, have filed for divorce, they said on Friday (Oct 30), ending a whirlwind romance that captivated international tabloids and Pakistani voters.
Imran, 62, who captained the Pakistan team when they won the Cricket World Cup in 1992, tied the knot with the former BBC journalist in a low-key ceremony in January.
"We have decided to part ways and file for divorce," Reham Khan, 42, said on Twitter.
Imran later took to Twitter to express his "greatest respect for Reham's moral character and her passion to work for and help the underprivileged".
"This is a painful time for me and Reham and our families. I would request everyone to respect our privacy," he said.
The little-known journalist endured criticism on social media from conservative Muslim Pakistanis after her marriage to Imran became public and pictures and videos surfaced of her on-screen in Western outfits.
Imran, who developed a playboy reputation in his younger days, built a political power base in Pakistan's deeply conservative north. His party became the country's third-largest in a 2013 election after he advocated talks with Pakistani Taleban insurgents and criticised the United States for drone strikes in militant areas.
His party spokesman, Naeem ul Haque, said in a television interview that the decision had been finalised with the consent of both parties. Rumours of the end of the marriage first circulated in August when Reham was campaigning to support a candidate from her husband's party in a by-election.
The candidate lost the vote and later Imran announced that his wife would not have a political career with his party.
His previous marriage to British socialite Jemima Khan, the daughter of the financier James Goldsmith, ended in 2004. His political rivals used the marriage to attack him by emphasising her Jewish roots.