JK Rowling feared her first husband would have burned the manuscript of her first ‘Harry Potter’ book if she had left it at home.
The multi-millionaire writer, 57, was married to Portuguese ex-TV journalist Jorge Arantes, 56, from 1992 to 1995 and they had daughter Jessica, 27, and the author said she was forced to sneak notes on her future hit novel out of the house a few pages at a time so she could photocopy at them at work as she was petrified he would destroy her work.
She added in a chat on ‘The Witch Trials of JK Rowling’ podcast that Jorge knew what her first manuscript meant to her “because at a point he took the manuscript and hid it”.
JK – now worth an estimated £850 million thanks to the Harry Potter book and film franchise – added: “That was his hostage.”
Telling how she started taking her manuscript out of the house after she decided to walk out on Jorge, the author said: “When I realised I was definitely going to go I would take a few pages of the manuscript into work every day, just a few pages so he wouldn’t realise anything was missing, and I would photocopy it.
“Gradually in a cupboard in the staff room, bit by bit, a photocopied manuscript grew and grew because I suspected that if I wasn’t able to get out with everything, he would burn it or take it and hold it hostage.
“That manuscript meant so much to me and it was the thing that I prioritised saving.
“The only thing I prioritised beyond that was my daughter but at that point she was still inside me so she is as safe as she can be in that situation.”
JK has previously spoken about her marriage to Jorge, who she met at a bar when she was teaching in his native Portugal, and she published details of their relationship in a personal essay published in 2020.
After it was released, Jorge admitted he slapped the writer – but insisted he was not consistently abusive,
He told The Sun: “I slapped Joanne – but there was not sustained abuse. I’m not sorry for slapping her.”
JK added about how she left the former TV presenter: “There came a night where he became very angry with me and I cracked and I said, ‘I want to leave.’ “He became very violent and he said, ‘You can leave but you’re not getting Jessica, I’m keeping her, I will hide her.’
“So I put up a fight and I paid the price. There was a violent scene which terminated with me lying in the street.”
The author – who has been married since 2001 to doctor Neil Murray, with whom she has son David, 19, and 18-year-old daughter Mackenzie – also said she was later forced to leave the home she bought with the money she earned from her first ‘Harry Potter’ book, published in 1997, after Jorge broke into the home after she found fame.