DailyMail 29 July 2013
How Hawking’s illness forced his marriage into a ‘black hole’ of despair: First wife says couple were ‘swept away by a wave of fame and fortune’
Stephen Hawking’s first wife has revealed how the world-famous physicist’s illness forced them into their own ‘black hole’ of despair.
Jane Wilde, who was married to the scientist for 25 years, says the couple were ‘engulfed and then swept away by a wave of fame and fortune’.
…Prof Hawking, 71, met Miss Wilde while studying at Cambridge when he was 21. Soon afterwards he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease – a condition which has left him wheelchair-bound for almost half a century and able to communicate only through a voice synthesiser operated by a muscle in his cheek.
Prof Hawking describes how he became so desperately ill with pneumonia while he wrote A Brief History of Time that doctors offered his wife the chance to end his misery and turn off his life-support machine. But Miss Wilde refused to do so and her husband went on to complete the bestselling book which has sold 10 million copies in 40 languages.
Prof Hawking describes the near-death experience in 1985 as the ‘darkest’ time of his life and explains how it was the treatment for this illness which left him unable to speak.