JK Rowling’s first husband was Jorge Arantes, a Portuguese television journalist. They were only married for a year, when Rowling was 27 years old — but in that year, Rowling had a daughter named Jessica.
Rowling’s first marriage ended decades ago, but it’s been brought back into the limelight via a statement Rowling released on June 10, defending the comments she has made about trans rights and women’s rights. Specifically, Rowling received widespread criticism after she tweeted her frustration with an article online that referenced “people who menstruate.”
She shared the article and wrote, “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Now, Rowling has released an over-3,000 word essay doubling down on her belief in the importance of acknowledging sex as well as gender. She wrote in part,
I’ve been in the public eye now for over twenty years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor. This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember. I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn’t want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too. However, a short while ago, I asked her how she’d feel if I were publicly honest about that part of my life, and she encouraged me to go ahead.
….I managed to escape my first violent marriage with some difficulty, but I’m now married to a truly good and principled man, safe and secure in ways I never in a million years expected to be. However, the scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear, no matter how loved you are, and no matter how much money you’ve made. My perennial jumpiness is a family joke – and even I know it’s funny – but I pray my daughters never have the same reasons I do for hating sudden loud noises, or finding people behind me when I haven’t heard them approaching.
Arantes has not spoken publicly about his marriage with Rowling for the last decade-plus. Their marriage lasted from1992-1993. He has remained largely out of the public eye in the decades since Rowling skyrocketed to fame, but he did speak out in the early 2000s about their marriage. He even admitted to hitting her once.
Here’s what you need to know:
In 2000, Arantes Was Living in Paris With His Brother
The most recent interview Rowling’s ex-husband gave to the media was in 2000, with the New York Post. In that interview, Arantes talked about how he lost his job as a journalist while battling drug addiction, but that he had since recovered and was living in Paris with his brother, Justino. Justino was a travel agent at the time, Arantes said.
Prior to her statement, Rowling talked rarely about her husband. She said to The Times London in 2000 (as quoted by The New York Post), “I married on Oct. 16, 1992. I left on Nov. 17, 1993. So that was the duration of what I considered to be the marriage.”
Rowling continued, “Obviously, you do not leave a marriage after that very short period of time unless there are serious problems. I’m not the kind of person who bales out without there being serious problems.My relationship before that lasted seven years. I’m a long-term girl. And I had a baby with this man. But it didn’t work. And it was clear to me that it was time to go, and so I went. I never regretted it.”
Rowling & Arantes’ Daughter, Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes, Is Now 26 Years Old
Rowling and Arantes’ only child is Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes. Jessica has two half-siblings named David and Mackenzie, both from Rowling’s second marriage with Neil Murray, a doctor from Scotland. David was born in 2003 and Mackenzie was born in 2005.
Jessica is now based in Portugal and runs a successful YouTube account.