London, April 03: Controversial India-born author Salman Rushdie has revealed that his wife Padma Lakshmi`s decision to divorce him had a crippling effect on him.
Speaking for the first time of his "emotionally violent" split last year from the Chennai-born model and actress who is 23 years his junior, 60-year-old Rushdie told Tatler magazine "it provoked a crippling bout of writer`s block which threatened to end my literary career."
The Booker prize winning author said "I got very worried that I`d lost it because the break-up of my marriage suddenly intervened in an extremely emotionally violent way and there were two months or so - May, June - where I really couldn`t work.
He said "divorce is a very difficult thing and it was very painful for me. I think the only shred of dignity that remains in these situations is to keep your mouth shut."
Rushdie met Padma at a magazine launch party in 1999, while still married to his third wife Elizabeth West. He wed Padma five years later.
Renowned as a literary workhorse, the author, who faced death threats from Muslim extremists after a fatwa was imposed on him in 1989 for his controversial book The Satanic Verses, became increasingly concerned.
"My book lay in front of me like an unfinished bridge. You`ve got all these girders and bits hanging out like nerve endings and the question is, how can you rejoin them? I became very panicky." Rushdie said.
Finally, however, he beat his demons and completed his novel The Enchantress Of Florence, which is jam packed with romance and scintillating love scenes.
"Panic makes you work and there was a moment when I got so frightened that I was going to lose the book completely that it just drove me back to it and gave me back the ability to concentrate," he said.