Netizen 24 NGA: Stephen Hawking's tangled private life: Two marriages ended in divorce

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Stephen Hawking's tangled private life: Two marriages ended in divorce

Stephen Hawking was known the world over for his work as an astrophysicist, but his personal life could be as complicated as some of his theories.

Failed marriages, families divided, accusations of abuse and obsessive followers dogged Hawking, who died yesterday aged 76.

It was in 1963 that Stephen Hawking's life changed forever.

Professor Stephen Hawking with his second wife Elaine Mason after their wedding. Photo / AP

He met his future wife and mother of his two children at a New Year's Eve party and soon after he received the devastating diagnosis that he had motor neurone disease.

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Within two years of meeting Jane Wilde the couple were married and became a family.

They had three children. Robert was born in 1967, and their daughter Lucy in 1970 and nine years later their third child Timothy was born.

Wilde believed problems for the couple began when Hawking began to achieve worldwide fame after the publication of A Brief History of Time. Accolades flowed from his landmark work, bit so too did attention from admirers.

"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'," Wilde recalled in a 2014 interview with Radio Times.

Professor Stephen Hawking and his first wife Elaine Mason. Photo / Getty Images

She went as far to brand some followers as "sycophantic".

The marriage didn't last. By 1990 it was over and Hawking began a relationship with his nurse Elaine Mason.

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In a nod to what developed with Mason, Wilde said she found the attitudes of people around Hawking "exhausting".

" ... it grew a lot worse when we finally had to engage carers".

She told the Times: "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. I was desperate; I didn't think I could carry on, because I was so drained."

Hawking and Mason were married in 1995, a year after his divorce. But it wasn't all smo oth sailing.

The second marriage caused friction with Hawking's children, who accused their stepmother of restricting access to their famous father.

Further tension came in 2003 after Hawking's nurses accused Mason of physically abusing Hawking and reported the incident to police.

Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane on their wedding day.

The police investigation was called off after Hawking denied the allegations.

After 11 years of marriage, Mason filed for divorce in 2006. There was immediate speculation Hawking was cheating on her â€" something he strongly denied â€" and a matter-of-fact response was issued through a spokesperson.

"He is far too busy. This is just a distraction which is really annoying. We don't have any time for any of this. We have no interest in any of the gossip that is going on," was the official response.

Before the couple called it q uits, and at the height of the abuse claims, Lucy Hawking told Vanity Fair her stepmother could "choke" on any money she was left if her father died.

"Well, it's a worry," she said. "I mean, at some point you ask yourself, Is it really worth it? I mean, the pain and the struggle we've been through, if this all turns out to be about money, well, then â€" she can keep it and I hope she chokes on it."

In 2004, Wilde told the Guardian she, Hawking and their children were barely on speaking terms.

Stephen Hawking, Jane Wilde and Lucy Hawking arrives for the British Academy Film and Television Awards 2015. Photo / AP

"I used to see him. I never set foot in his house, of course â€" that is very much forbidden territory," she said. "But I used to go and see him in his office, and we used to have a good time, talking about the children and then about William, our gr andchild. But I don't even know now whether he is in hospital or back at home. The children don't know either. So that is where we are."

After the marriage to Mason ended, things improved dramatically.

Wilde said she began communicating with Hawking again after his second divorce and even appeared alongside him in front of the world's media on the red carpet when the film The Theory of Everything premiered in London.

Neither Wilde or Mason have publicly commented since his death, but Hawking's children announced the news with a touching statement and tribute.

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," the statement said. "His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.

"He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it w asn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."

Source: Google News

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