The Truth About Padma Lakshmi's Relationship History

Padma Lakshmi has enjoyed a hugely successful and wide-ranging career thus far. Although most people likely know Lakshmi from "Top Chef," it's worth noting she has an extensive background in acting (via IMDb), and is also a well-respected author, as per her official site, and committed human rights activist, co-founding the Endometriosis Foundation of America, as well as serving as an Artist Ambassador for the American Civil Liberties Union, and a UN Goodwill Ambassador too. 

Lakshmi is also considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, who probably has a whole roster of men famous and otherwise lining up to date her. Although the "Top Chef" host has been settled down with boyfriend and father of her daughter, Adam Dell, for a while now she had several high-profile relationships in the preceding years. In keeping with how impressive Lakshmi is as a person, she's got a hugely varied romantic history too, involved with writers and actors alike. 

The Top Chef host was briefly married

Padma Lakshmi released her memoir, "Love, Loss and What We Ate," in 2016, detailing her tempestuous relationship with famed author Salman Rushdie. As the New York Times notes, they originally met a party in 1999 and subsequently married in 2004. According to Lakhsmi, the relationship took a turn when she began suffering from endometriosis, which required surgery at one point. Rushdie believed she was using her ailment as an excuse not to have sex. 

The "Top Chef" host soon realized she was better off single as, "I was free to wallow in my malaise, and nurse myself without seeing the disappointment in his face." Rushdie covered their marriage in his own memoir, "Joseph Anton," released in 2012, in which he describes Lakhsmi as someone who was ruthlessly ambitious and couldn't stand to share the spotlight. Looking back on their eight-year relationship, Rushdie dismisses it as living "a sort of life together." 

Padma Lakshmi fought hard for her family

In 2014, Padma Lakshmi was briefly linked to "Pretty Woman" actor Richard Gere. According to Cheat Sheet, they split after six months due to Gere being on the rebound after his own divorce. He was the first man Lakshmi dated after the shock passing of her boyfriend, Teddy Forstmann, whom she saw alongside current boyfriend Adam Dell almost immediately after splitting from Salman Rushdie. The "Top Chef" host became pregnant in 2009 and wasn't sure who the father was, admitting to Extra, "I had just gotten out of a divorce and, by the way, I was honest with everyone involved in my life — but it was still hard." 

A paternity test confirmed the child was Dell's, but Lakshmi wanted to start a family with billionaire financier Forstmann. A bitter custody dispute ensued, at the end of which a source confirmed to Page Six, "they came to a compromise." Following Forstmann's sad death, the activist and financier rekindled their romance, with Lakshmi noting in 2020 how grateful she was for both Dell and her daughter (via Instagram).