Jemima Khan’s So-Called ‘Love Letter’ to Pakistan

While married to Imran Khan, the British socialite was reviled and beloved. With a new film about her time in her adopted country, where does she stand today?

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Jemima Khan with Princess Diana and Imran Khan in Pakistan (Getty)

Sadaf Ahsan


January 27, 2023


11 min

When an 18-year-old Imran Khan — who would one day become a beloved cricket player for Pakistan and, years after that, the controversial prime minister of that same country — was leaving home for England for the first time, his mother delivered a stern warning: “Don’t bring back an English wife.” 

She was onto something. The year was 1995. After spending the better part of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s gallivanting and grinding through the London club scene with a bevy of socialites, Khan did indeed find his wife. She came in the form of a very English woman, just as his mother had feared: 21-year-old Jemima Goldsmith. She was half Khan’s age, blonde, beautiful, and wealthy.

The press — in the U.K. and Pakistan — were ravenous. While the former warned Goldsmith of the country’s conservative ways, the latter was much more welcoming (its politicians less so). Throughout their nearly 10-year marriage, Goldsmith would become a fixture in the Pakistani media, at times considered nothing more than a harlot who had poisoned the mind of Pakistan’s prince. Nearly two decades after the end of their marriage, Goldsmith, now a filmmaker, is out with What’s Love Got To Do With It?, which not so subtly — and not so kindly — explores her time living in the East. One might say the tabloids had it right: Goldsmith did and continues to capitalize and lay claim to a culture she never knew. But, having been all but chased away, perhaps she, too, deserves a reassessment.

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