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'Harry Potter split more painful than divorce'

Last updated on: January 30, 2008 12:50 IST

For JK Rowling, splitting up with her husband was nothing compared to saying goodbye to boy wizard, Harry Potter.

'It has been the worst break-up of my life -- far worse than splitting up with any man,' Times Online quoted the author of the blockbuster Harry Potter series as saying.

Honoured for outstanding achievement at the South Bank Show Awards on January 29 in London, Rowling, who married Dr Neil Murray in Scotland in 2001, however, has no regrets.

'But it has also been wonderful to stop and draw breath and think, 'My God, look what's happened with an idea I had 17 years ago on a train," Times Online quoted the multi-millionaire author.

The author's previous marriage to Jorge Arantes, a Portuguese television journalist, ended shortly after the couple's daughter, Jessica, was born in 1993. But the end of the marriage saw the birth of her first Harry Potter book, which she wrote while struggling to make ends meet as a single mother in a tiny flat in Edinburgh.

'There has always been a real disconnection in my mind between the fictional world in which I've spent so many hours and what the printed books were doing in the real world... although I absolutely noticed the royalty cheques coming in,' she said.

Last year, the 42-year-old revisited the tiny flat as part of a documentary, J K Rowling: A Year in the Life.

Choked with emotion, she told The Sunday Times, 'This is where I turned my life around completely. My life really changed in this flat,' she said. 'I feel I really became myself here, in that everything was stripped away, I'd made such a mess of things. But that was freeing, so I just thought, well, I want to write, and I wrote the book and, what is the worst that can happen? It gets turned down by every publisher in Britain, big deal. It's back-to-the-wall time here.'

But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and hers is worth an estimated 545 million pounds.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows published last year was the seventh and final book in the series that have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and made into films starring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry.

In fact, Lord Attenborough, the director and actor while presenting Rowling with the award joked that he would have loved a role in the Harry Potter films.

'I must be the only English actor of my generation, who has got absolutely bugger all out of this extraordinary series that has been read by millions and made into movies,' Times Online quoted him as saying. 'Surely there must have been something I could have played? Even just a few lines here and there? Don't think I didn't try!'