Jemima Marcelle Khan ( born 30 January 1974) is a British writer and campaigner. She is associate editor of the New Statesman and European editor-at-large for Vanity Fair. She has worked as a charity fundraiser, human rights campaigner and contributing writer for British newspapers and magazines. Khan first gained notice in the United Kingdom as a young heiress, the daughter of Lady Annabel and Sir James Goldsmith. She was married to the retired Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan between 1995 and their divorce in 2004. For the next three years, from 2004 to 2007, Khan gained worldwide media attention for her romantic relationship with British film star Hugh Grant.
Early life and education
Born in London’s Westminster Hospital as Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith, Khan is the eldest child of Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart and Anglo-French financier Sir James Goldsmith. Her parents started a polyamorous relationship in 1964 while they were married to different partners, but in 1978, they married for the sole purpose of legitimizing their children. She has two younger brothers, Zac and Ben, as well as five paternal and three maternal half-siblings, including Robin and India Jane Birley
Khan grew up at Ormeley Lodge while attending the Old Vicarage preparatory school and Francis Holland School. Between the ages of ten and seventeen she was an accomplished “equestriene” equestrian in London. Khan enrolled at the University of Bristol in 1993, but dropped out to get married in 1995. Khan eventually submitted her dissertation in March 2002 gaining a 2:1 bachelor’s degree in English. She later completed an MA in Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS, University of London, reading Modern Trends in Islam.
Marriage to Imran Khan
At 21, Jemima Goldsmith married the 42-year-old retired Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan on 16 May 1995 in a traditional Islamic ceremony in Paris. The couple later participated in a civil ceremony on 21 June at the Richmond Register Office, which was followed by a midsummer ball at Ormeley Lodge. Raised a Protestant, she converted to Islam a few months before her wedding, citing the writings of Muhammad Asad, Gai Eaton, and Alija Izetbegović as her influences. She also learned to speak Urdu and wore traditional Pakistani clothes. In 2008, she wrote that she “over-conformed in eagerness to be accepted” into the “new and radically different culture” of Pakistan.
In 1999, in an accusation believed to have been politically motivated, Khan was charged in Pakistan with the non-bailable crime of illegally exporting tiles claimed to be centuries-old antiques of the Islamic era. She stayed with her mother for a year due to fear of incarceration and returned to Pakistan only after the case was dropped following General Pervez Musharraf’s military coup. She returned to the UK full-time in September 2003 to study for a Masters degree at SOAS. Her ex husband has said that they decided to divorce because he never had time for his family owing to his life in Pakistani politics. Their divorce was announced on 22 June 2004.
Relationship with Hugh Grant
In 2004, Khan became involved in a romantic relationship with Hugh Grant. She gained a new level of prominence during the three years she and Grant were partners. A 2005 article in the Evening Standard magazine noted that while “Jemima’s profile” was high during her first marriage, it was “soaring since she became involved with Hugh Grant”. As he was followed relentlessly by the paparazzi and featured in print and television media worldwide, Khan’s relationship with Grant was scrutinized extensively by the tabloids. A survey of visitors to London in 2005 showed that Khan and Grant were the couple with whom a majority of visitors wanted to travel the city. In 2007, Khan accompanied Grant on the red carpet at the London and New York premieres of his movie Music and Lyrics. After three years of the high profile romance, in February 2007, Grant announced that the couple had “decided to split amicably”. Grant’s spokesman added: “Hugh has nothing but positive things to say about Jemima.
Commentary and other writings
Khan was a feature writer and a contributing editor for British Vogue from 2008 to 2011. In 2011 Khan was appointed Vanity Fair’s new European editor-at-large. She was Associate Editor at the Independent newspaper which she left to become Associate editor of the New Statesman in November 2011. Khan has contributed op-eds to England’s newspapers and magazines such as The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard and the Observer In 2008, she was granted an exclusive interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on the eve of the elections, for The Independent. She was a Sunday Telegraph columnist from 21 October 2007 to 27 January 2008In April 2011, Khan guest-edited the New Statesman and themed the issue around freedom of speech. She interviewed the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and included contributions from Russell Brand, Tim Robbins, Simon Pegg, Oliver Stone, Tony Benn, Julian Assange, and cover art by Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst.
The magazine sold out and the website crashed. According to Nick Cohen in the Observer “Jemima Khan was by a country mile the best editor of the New Statesman that that journal has had since the mid-1970s”. Perhaps the most surprising piece in the magazine was “an unexpected scoop” from Hugh Grant who went undercover to hack Paul McMullan, a former News of the World journalist, who had been involved in hacking as a reporter.
However, one reader’s letter to the New Statesman published in the following week’s edition stated: “Jason Cowley’s choices for guest editor to date are surely calculated to aggravate the NS readership. First Alastair Campbell is invited to present his gloss on the New Labour story; now Jemima Khan (11 April issue) gets to produce a variant of Hello! magazine, wherein her glittering friends share with us the contents, not of their homes, but of their minds.
It takes considerable effort to avoid celebrities (and Old Etonians) nowadays, but I don’t expect to be Trojan-horsed by a left-wing paper.
Charity and other works
In 1998, Khan launched an eponymous fashion label that employed poor Pakistani women to embroider western clothes with eastern handiwork to be sold in London and New York. Profits were donated to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital but the company was closed in 2001In 2001, she established the Jemima Khan Afghan Refugee Appeal to provide tents, clothing, food, and healthcare for Afghan refugees at Jalozai camp in PeshawarKhan became an Ambassador for UNICEF UK in 2001 and went on field trips to Kenya, Romania, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she helped victims of the 2005 earthquake by raising emergency funds. She has promoted UNICEF’s Breastfeeding Manifesto, Growing Up Alone and End Child Exploitation campaigns in the UK.
Khan is a supporter of the Soil Association, and children’s charities like HOPING foundation for Palestinian refugee children. She is a patron of the Quilliam Foundation, recently set up by two reformed members of the extremist organisation Hizb ut Tahrir. In 2008, Khan received death threats from Islamic fundamentalists for supporting and speaking at the launch of the Muslim think-tank which preaches religious tolerance.
In 2007, Khan set up the Free Pakistan Movement. She, her family and friends, participated alongside hundreds of protestors in three demonstrations outside Downing Street to protest the state of emergency in Pakistan, during which her ex-husband was incarcerated.
In 2008, she modeled the relaunched Azzaro Couture fragrance and was a guest co-designer of a Spring 2009 collection for Azzaro, with her fee reportedly donated to UNICEF.
Together with John Pilger and Ken Loach, Jemima Khan was among the six people in Westminster Magistrates Court willing to post bail for Julian Assange when he was arrested in London on 7 December 2010. She has campaigned against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for freedom of information, attending Assange’s extradition hearings and speaking at the Stop the War Coalition’s rally in defence of Wikileaks alongside Tony Benn and Tariq Ali.
Khan runs a charitable foundation, the Jemima Khan Foundation.
She sponsors the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, an explicitly subversive award given to the journalist that best “exposes Establishment conduct and its propaganda”.
Khan featured in the new television advertising campaign for The Independent newspaper and reportedly donated her fee to charity.
Jemima to walk with Imran khan against US drone attacks in pakistan tribal areas.
Social and personal life
As voted by readers of the Daily Telegraph, she won the Rover People’s Award for the best dressed female celebrity at the 2001 British Fashion Awards. Khan was featured on Vanity Fair’s Annual International Best-Dressed List in 2004, 2005 and 2007. She attended the Women of Achievement Reception at Buckingham Palace, on 11 March 2004.
Khan is known to be shy, modest, stylish, and levelheaded, with her ex-husband describing her as “very shy”.
Khan has two sons from her marriage with Imran Khan, Sulaiman Isa (born 1996) and Kasim (born 1999). Because she wants to have the same last name as her children, she goes by Jemima Khan. On 29 December 2000, Khan and her family were on a British Airways jet to Kenya that was temporarily knocked off course and dived thousands of feet, after a mentally ill passenger tried to seize controls in the cockpit. Her mother later said, “Jemima was frightened of flying even be fore the incident; she’s petrified”.
Khan, like her two brothers, reportedly inherited around £300 million from her late father’s £1.2 billion fortune (at 1997 currency rates). In 2010 Khan purchased the country house of Kiddington Hall near Woodstock in Oxfordshire for a reported £15 million, which is now currently under refurbishment.
Diana, Princess of Wales was a close friend of Khan’s, visiting her twice in Lahore, Pakistan the year that she died Khan holds dual British and Pakistani citizenship.