LONDON — British writer Salman Rushdie, under Iranian death threats since February, and his American wife have been "living separately" for the last month, her publisher said Friday.
It is unclear from the terse statement whether the marriage between the author of "The Satanic Verses" and novelist Marianne Wiggins was on the rocks. The couple married last year.
"She and her husband . . . have been living separately for four weeks," Wiggins' publisher, Secker and Warburg, said.
Rushdie and Wiggins have been in hiding since Iran's late spiritual leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, ordered Muslims to kill him for blasphemy against Islam in his novel "The Satanic Verses."
The Indian-born Rushdie has denied the book blasphemed against the Prophet Mohammed.
"Scotland Yard (police) security arrangements for the protection of Mr. Rushdie have been re-ordered . . . and Ms. Wiggins does not know where he is," the statement said.
It said Wiggins, 48, "requests privacy and she is not prepared to discuss the matter further."
Threats against her husband forced Wiggins to cancel an American tour earlier this year to coincide with the publication of her novel "John Dollar."
In an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper last month, Wiggins spoke of their life in isolation and said she and Rushdie had been moved constantly by their guards and had slept in 56 different beds since going into hiding.
"I am married to him and what I needed to do was to be with him to make his life go forward and that meant I had to go into invisibility, too," she told the newspaper.
Wiggins' publishers issued Friday's statement after Rushdie, in his first public response to living under the death threat, launched a bitter attack on his critics in a three-verse poem penned from hiding.
In the poem, titled simply "6 March 1989," Rushdie says he refuses to be silenced despite attacks on him by the Islamic world.
It will be published under copyright Sept. 1 by the literary magazine Granta, whose editor, Bill Buford, refused to allow it to be reproduced.