Indian actor Aamir Khan and his wife, producer-director Kiran Rao, announced plans to divorce after 15 years of marriage. They will continue parenting their son Azad together, and continue to work together professionally. Khan, 56, is one of the most popular Bollywood stars in the world, and also enjoys a huge following in China.
"We began a planned separation some time ago, and now feel comfortable to formalize this arrangement, of living separately yet sharing our lives the way an extended family does," Khan and Rao, 47, said in a joint statement to Reuters. "Now we would like to begin a new chapter in our lives -- no longer as husband and wife, but as co-parents and family for each other. In these 15 beautiful years together we have shared a lifetime of experiences, joy, and laughter, and our relationship has only grown in trust, respect, and love."
Khan was previously married to Reena Dutta from 1986 to 2002. They share two children, son Junaid and daughter Ira. He met Rao for the first time while making Lagaan (2001), an epic sports film that became just the third Indian film nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Rao was an assistant director on the film. Rao and Khan married in 2005 and welcomed Azad via a surrogate in 2011.
In a recent interview on Koffee with Karan host Karan Johar, Khan revealed that actor Salman Khan (no relation) helped him after his first divorce in 2002. Khan said he did not like Salman after working with him on Andaz Apna Apna, but his opinion of his co-star changed when Salman helped him through a difficult time in his life. They have remained close friends ever since.
"After tasting the experience of working with him I just wanted to stay away from Salman," Khan explained, reports the Hindustan Times. "Salman walked into my life when I was at my lowest. I had gone through a divorce with my wife. But later we bumped into each other and he expressed his wish to meet me. We met again and drank together and we connected. And it began as a genuine friendship and it has only grown."
Khan is considered one of the most influential actors in the world. He has received several awards from Indian organizations and the Indian government. He even received a special honor from the Chinese government in 2017. He is also an activist and co-founded the nonprofit Paani Foundation with Rao. Several of his films are available to stream in the U.S. on Netflix.