Former Malaysian King divorces Russian ex-beauty queen wife after one year of marriage: Report

The date of Sultan Muhammad V's divorce from Russian ex-beauty queen Oksana Voevodina was listed as June 22 and it was marked as taking place in Singapore. PHOTO: RIHANAPETRA/INSTAGRAM

KUALA LUMPUR - The former Malaysian King, Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, has divorced Russian ex-beauty queen Oksana Voevodina, according to local media reports - an apparent abrupt end to the whirlwind romance that enraptured and befuddled Malaysia in equal parts.

The divorce was registered on July 1, the New Straits Times reported on Wednesday (July 17), adding that its sources said a copy of the couple's divorce certificate making its rounds on social media was genuine.

The certificate, which bears the Kelantan state crest and is marked as the copy of the wife, indicates that the divorce was done through the utterance of the word "talak" three times - the most severe and irreversible form of divorce in Islam. The date of the divorce was listed as June 22 and it was marked as taking place in Singapore.

On Friday (July 19), a spokesman for the Syriah Court in Singapore said that there are no records of divorce filed by the couple at Syariah Court Singapore.

When asked, Kelantan's deputy chief minister denied any knowledge of the split, the NST reported.

"(Just) like when members of the Press asked us (the state government) on the Sultan's marriage, we cannot comment (on the divorce news) because we have no official information about that," Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah told reporters on Wednesday.

"We only know about the divorce through social media, including from the news published on the front page of a newspaper today."

This comes barely two months after the couple's son was born.

Though the palace has not made an official comment on the divorce, on Tuesday it issued a statement laying out the correct use of royal titles.

"Please be informed that no one can be called as Kelantan Queen, Kelantan King, Sultanah Kelantan or Queen of Kelantan without any official announcement from Istana Kelantan," the palace said in a statement. It did not mention Ms Voevodina.

Russian-born Ms Voevodina started an Instagram account last month. The verified account has some 360,000 followers and several posts include pictures of her with Sultan Muhammad V, along with long captions about her life and how the couple met.

Taking the name Rihana Oksana Petra, the 27-year-old also shared about motherhood and married life with the once-divorced Sultan Muhammad V. But she has not been officially recognised by the state as the new Sultanah. Sultan Muhammad V does not have children from his first marriage.

A post on July 10 said she got married last June and in May, gave birth to her son Ismail Leon, "Inshallah (if God willing) His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Kelantan and, Inshallah, the future King of Malaysia".

Sultan Muhammad V, 49, has made few public appearances since stepping down as Malaysia's King on Jan 6, becoming the first monarch in the country's history to abdicate.

He had ascended the throne in December 2016 and was meant to serve for five years under a rotating monarchy system shared between the country's nine royal households.

While he did not state his reasons for abdicating, royal observers have said speculation last November about his marriage to Ms Voevodina, while on medical leave, was a factor.

Ms Voevodina's past raised eyebrows in conservative Muslim Malaysia, after photos surfaced online of her scantily clad and modelling lingerie.

Note: This story has been edited for clarity.

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