LONDON: Pakistani heart specialist and Princes Diana's former lover Dr Hasnat Khan has confirmed that his 20-month marriage to glamorous Hadia Sher Ali ended just before last Christmas.
47-year-old Khan, the man Princess Diana famously described as 'Mr Wonderful', has confirmed to British tabloid the News of the World that he and Hadia are living apart.
Speaking at his home in Jhelum in northern Pakistan, the heart specialist said, "I got married to a Pakistani girl who was of an Afghan descent in May 2006 but we got separated recently."
"There were so many reasons for the separation and not just one. I really can't elaborate on that."
Dr Khan, once described by the Princess as 'the love of my life' even moved with his wife from London back to Pakistan to try to escape the memories of his association with Diana.
Hasnat's two-year romance with Diana happened before her ill-fated affair with Dodi Fayed in 1997.
The couple fell deeply in love after meeting at the Royal Brompton Hospital in west London where Hasnat worked. When the Princess met him in pubs and restaurants, she would wear a long, black wig to fool photographers.
Hasnat - who Diana nicknamed Natty - would be smuggled into Kensington palace in the back of her butler Paul Burrell's car. While staff were away at weekends she would cook for the heart expert.
Burell later revealed how she wanted to wed the caring surgeon - and Diana even visited his family in Lahore and sought pal Jemima Khan's advice on how to handle marrying a Muslim.
But the relationship floundered when Hasnat's mother declared she had no intention of letting her son marry a non-Muslim - and he struggled with life in the public eye.
In an interview to the tabloid, Hasnat Khan said Princess Diana and he met in 1995.
At the height of their romance, Diana kept his picture by her bedside, introduced him to William and Harry, and studied the Koran every night, the report said.
The couple went to great lengths to keep their relationship secret.
But when their relationship was uncovered, the pressure of the publicity was reportedly too much for Dr Khan, and he ended it, leaving the Princess devastated.
Dr Khan said he was sent a letter, forwarded to him from London, two months ago suggesting he might need to attend the inquest into Diana's death.
He replied with an email saying he had nothing to add to his statement at the 2004 Lord Stevens inquiry into her death.
At that time, he told the inquiry by Lord Stevens that she had talked about marrying him and moving to Pakistan after he told her it was the "only way he could see them having any sort of a normal life together".
He recently received a reply to his letter saying that the coroner might want him to appear to give evidence before the jurors but he has subsequently been advised by his lawyers that, because he is now living outside Britain, he is not obliged to attend.
"I will act on my lawyer's advice. I will do exactly what the law requires," he said.