Anita Sarawak had spine operation in 2013

Anita Sarawak had a spine operation in October 2013 and was hospitalised for four days, a report said. PHOTO: ST FILE

More light has been shed on the life of Anita Sarawak, the singing legend who hit the headlines recently when she dropped out of sight and contact.

The New Straits Times (NST) reported on Friday (June 19) that the Singapore-born star had a spine operation in October 2013 and was hospitalised for four days.

She was already living in Las Vegas then, as she had left Malaysia in 2011, and not 2013 as widely reported, NST said quoting "a source close to the couple".

The source also dismissed rumours that arose after it was reported that Anita, 63, had "disappeared".

She has not separated from her husband, Mohamad Mahathir Abdullah, nor is she in debt.

On the contrary, the latest property she bought was a piece of land in Tuscany, Italy.

And while she is not as prolific as was in her heyday, she has come back to Singapore and Malaysia for a few singing engagements since 2011, the source said.

She also had a few shows at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in February and March.

Once nicknamed "Asian Dynamite", Anita came from a family of celebrities.

Her father is late actor-director S. Roomai Nor, and her mother Siput Sarawak was a prominent actress during the golden age of Malay cinema in the 1950s and 1960s.

But hers was not a charmed life. Her parents were divorced, and she met dad Roomai Nor for the first time when she was nine.

"Prior to that I didn't know I had a dad," she said.

She was also teased as a child for her trademark pucker.

"As a child growing up, I was always made fun of in school, they would mock my lips, saying it was as big as my neck. I didn't have that many friends then," she once said.

Anita has been married four times.

In 1972, Anita married musician Mohamad Abdul Samad. They divorced in 1976. She married late Indonesian singer-actor Broery Marantika in 1981. It lasted four years.

In 1995, she married American James Dean "JD" Nicholas, lead singer of US funk group The Commodores in a Las Vegas mosque. They divorced in 1999 but remain good friends.

She married her current husband Mr Mahathir, a Briton, in 2011.

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