Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik exchanged wedding vows Monday in a controversy hit celebrity union across the deep political and religious rivalries that divide their two countries.
Mirza’s spokeswoman Rucha Nayak told reporters that the pair, two of the region’s biggest sporting names, signed an Islamic matrimonial agreement in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
The nuptials follow a stormy courtship for the pair, with anger among hardline Hindus over Mirza’s relationship with a Pakistani man matched by a scandal over bigamy allegations against Malik.
Last week, Malik divorced his first wife, Ayesha Siddiqui, an Indian woman whom he had earlier accused of tricking him into what he described as an invalid wedding.
Asked earlier this month if she was unnerved by the controversy surrounding her wedding, Mirza said, “Of course I am upset. But we are happy that we are together.”
Mirza divides opinion in India, drawing criticism from strict Muslim groups for her short tennis skirts and jewelry, while gaining praise and fans for her achievements on the court.
She became the first Indian to win a WTA Tour title in 2005, she reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open later that year and won the Australian Open mixed doubles in 2009.