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Jorge Arantes: All about JK Rowling's Ex-husband and the Father of Her Daughter

Dayna Remus
Aug 04, 2022
08:00 A.M.
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Before JK Rowling became famous, she traveled to Portugal, where she married a man and had a child, though their union did not last long. Learn more about Jorge Arantes, JK Rowling's ex-husband, and their meeting, marriage, and divorce.

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The controversial author J.K Rowling built a fortune on her magical world. The "Harry Potter" fantasy series is one of the most in-demand series in history, including both the films and the books.

When she managed to get "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" published in 1997, they almost immediately began flying off the shelves. When the movie adaptation came out, cinemas filled to the brim with future Potterheads.

J.K. Rowling at the "Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore" world premiere on March 29, 2022, in London. | Source: Getty Images

J.K. Rowling at the "Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore" world premiere on March 29, 2022, in London. | Source: Getty Images

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Her journey toward becoming successful was not easy. The best-selling author grew up in Gloucestershire, England, and always knew she wanted to be an author, writing tales even as a young girl.

However, as an adult, she struggled, living in Edinburgh, Scotland, using government assistance while several publications rejected her submissions. Simultaneously, she was a single mother, looking after her daughter Jessica, who she had with her ex-husband Jorge Arantes.

JK Rowling returns to her former university Exeter to collect an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. | Source: Getty Images

JK Rowling returns to her former university Exeter to collect an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. | Source: Getty Images

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WHO IS JORGE ARANTES, JK ROWLING'S FIRST HUSBAND?

At 26 years old and before she moved to Edinburgh as a single mother, Rowling traveled to Portugal to teach English. It was there that she met her first and future husband, Arantes.

Arantes was a 23-year-old student and television journalist when he met Rowling, but it is unknown what his current professional status is. In 2020 it was reported that he is a recovered drug addict.

JK Rowling at the launch of her new book, at which Rowling reads extracts from “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” in Edinburgh. | Source: Getty Images

JK Rowling at the launch of her new book, at which Rowling reads extracts from “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” in Edinburgh. | Source: Getty Images

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The writer and journalist first crossed paths in a café, where they connected over their love of Jane Austen. A few months following their meeting, Rowling fell pregnant but had a miscarriage.

When Rowling fell pregnant again, Arantes proposed to the aspiring author. They exchanged vows in October 1992, and their daughter was born the following year.

 A photo of JK Rowling taken on March 20, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

A photo of JK Rowling taken on March 20, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

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WHY DID JORGE ARANTES AND JK ROWLING SPLIT?

Rowling and her ex-husband had a tumultuous relationship leading up to the divorce, with the author accusing him of abuse. They went their separate ways on November 17, 1993, and two months later, Jessica was born. The decision to move to Edinburgh followed this split.

There, she continued to write and try to get published. When the time for publishing finally arrived, Rowling decided not to use her full name, Joanne Rowling, because she was reportedly scared of her ex-husband.

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Speaking about this decision, she said she was slightly paranoid even though she had only spoken to him about the book. However, the author thought it was better not to risk it. Their official divorce went through in 1995.

You May Also Like: Emma Watson Recalls How She Fell for Tom Felton, Who Had a Crush on His Much-Older 'Harry Potter' Co-star

JK Rowling at a book signing on 20 October 1999 in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

JK Rowling at a book signing on 20 October 1999 in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

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WHO IS JK ROWLING MARRIED TO NOW?

Rowling moved into the next romantic chapter of her life when she married Neil Murray when she was 36 years old. It was reported in 2001 that Murray used to be an anesthetist and was studying to become a general practitioner.

You May Also Like: Daniel Radcliffe Once Claimed to Be Crushing on Helena Bonham Carter - He Has Been Dating Erin Darke for 9 Years

   J.K. Rowling and Neil Murray at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts 2019 Ripple Of Hope Gala & Auction on December 12, 2019, in New York.  | Source: Getty Images

J.K. Rowling and Neil Murray at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Hosts 2019 Ripple Of Hope Gala & Auction on December 12, 2019, in New York. | Source: Getty Images

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The two had a secret and intimate ceremony in 2001 at her mansion, with Jessica as one of the bridesmaids. Previously, they were going to get married on the Galapagos Islands until the press found out about this upcoming wedding.

She took every measure to avoid press and attention, swearing her guests to secrecy and hiring guards. However, the author's agent confirmed the rumors: "JK Rowling married privately on 26 December. [The] immediate family attended the wedding."

  J.K. Rowling and Neil Michael Murray at the "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" World Premiere on November 8, 2018, in Paris.  | Source: Getty Images

J.K. Rowling and Neil Michael Murray at the "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" World Premiere on November 8, 2018, in Paris. | Source: Getty Images

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JK Rowling has also opened up about marriage life using a song to give fans and readers a peek into the relationship. Speaking about musical pieces that have moved her throughout her life, Rowling listed "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers as one of them.

She said it might be her favorite out of all the love songs she knows because her husband told her during lockdown that it reminds him of her when she is away. Speaking about the lockdown, Rowling said that it was a great time spent with her, her husband, and the children.

She and Murray had kids of their own; Mackenzie and David. Both of them are still teenagers. Jessica, meanwhile, is an adult and in her twenties.

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JK ROWLING AND JESSICA'S JOURNEY

JK Rowling's firstborn grew up to be a makeup YouTuber and influencer, and in 2020 it was reported that she was living in Brazil with 8000 Instagram followers. Judging by her posts on the platform at the time, there was speculation that she was in a relationship with a young man named Ronny Dias.

Jessica was the only child out of her three kids that were around when she was not famous and still struggling. The author has admitted that she did feel at some point as if she was letting her child down, saying she was angry with herself for finding herself in her that situation.

A rock-bottom moment for Rowling was when she saw a son of her friends, who wasn't born long before Jessica, with a bedroom full of toys. Meanwhile, all her daughter's shoes managed to fit in a shoebox.

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