LONDON • Russian beauty queen Oksana Voevodina has claimed in an interview with Britain's Daily Mail news website that she had to pawn her wedding ring to pay for her medical bills after her former husband, Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, left her when she was pregnant.
Ms Voevodina, who also goes by the name Rihana Oksana Petra, said she ended up selling the Jacob Arabo ring worth £203,000 (S$343,000) at a third of its value, because she desperately needed the money towards the end of her difficult pregnancy.
The former Miss Moscow said she pawned the ring just before her son, Ismail Leon, was born on May 21. She said she had to pay off the money she borrowed for her Swiss hospital costs for two months.
"I won't say the price I sold it for," she told Daily Mail. But she added that it was a third of its cost.
"I used this money to cover my medical bills in Switzerland as I was at risk of losing the baby," she said.
The 27-year-old's marriage to the former Malaysian king, 50, and their subsequent divorce have attracted much public attention.
The couple were said to have married on June 7 last year, when Sultan Muhammad V was the Malaysian King, but it was only months later that video clips of their wedding reception made the rounds internationally.
News of the end of their whirlwind marriage broke in July last year.
The Sultan's lawyer in Singapore confirmed to The Straits Times that the divorce was carried out in the Republic on June 22 this year, in accordance with syariah laws. The lawyer had also said that "there was no objective evidence as yet as to the biological father of the child".
Ms Voevodina had previously told the Daily Mail that she has not seen her former husband since he left Russia in December, and found out about the divorce from the Internet.
She said her son belongs to her former husband and has offered to take a DNA test to prove that he is really their child.
She is living in a rented apartment in Moscow while supporting her son on her own.
"I'm raising my son on my own and I'm taking care of our financial well-being by myself too," she was quoted as saying in the article published online on Sept 27.
She told the British newspaper that the expensive car she drives was a "wedding gift" from the ruler.