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Hawking ex-wife says fame took toll

Stephen Hawking's ex-wife has told how the physicist's fame and success damaged their relationship.

The couple were married for 30 years from 1965 after they met while studying at Cambridge.

New movie The Theory Of Everything, which stars Eddie Redmayne and is being tipped for Oscar glory, is based on Hawking's first wife Jane Wilde's memoir, Travelling To Infinity.

Speaking about her then-husband's growing success, after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, she told Radio Times magazine: "The goddess physics was Stephen's idol. I was not jealous of her but she did give me some cause for concern.

"Sometimes Stephen would spend a whole weekend in his wheelchair ... He wouldn't take any notice of the children, or of me, and I would become very worried. Was he uncomfortable or ill, or had I upset him in some way?

"Then, on the Monday morning, he would look up and smile and say 'I've solved that equation'. These were truly amazing achievements, because when he reached the stage where he could no longer write, he had to work out absolutely everything in his head."

Ms Wilde, who is portrayed by actress Felicity Jones in the new movie, added: "When he achieved fame, and the considerable fortune that A Brief History Of Time brought him after its publication in 1988, life became very complicated.

"I rather felt that the family had been left behind. To me, Stephen was my husband and the father of my children; one does not say to one's husband 'Oh, you're so clever! I must worship the ground under your feet, or, in this case, wheels'.

"I found this kind of sycophantic attitude - the attitude adopted by so many people around Stephen - exceptionally frustrating and, of course, it grew a lot worse when we finally had to engage carers."

She added: "I expected that carers came into the home to help look after the disabled person and respect the rest of the family. Very few of them did that."

After a "traumatic" end to the marriage, Hawking married his carer Elaine Mason - but the two have since split up - and Ms Wilde wed choirmaster Jonathan Hellyer Jones.

"After Stephen's second divorce, it became possible for us to communicate again," she said.


From Belfast Telegraph