JK Rowling’s abusive first husband last night admitted slapping her — but said: “I’m not sorry.”
Jorge Arantes, 52, said he had not bothered to read the accusations of domestic abuse by the Harry Potter author — and he did not care.
But he said on his mum’s doorstep in Porto: “I slapped Joanne — but there was not sustained abuse. I’m not sorry for slapping her.”
The ex-drug addict, dad to Rowling’s daughter Jessica, said of the writer’s claims: “If she says that, that’s up to her. It’s not true I hit her.”
But he was then quizzed about his own admission ten years ago that he had hit her on the night she left him.
The former TV journalist said: “Yes. It is true I slapped her. But I didn’t abuse her.”
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Rowling, 54, revealed on Wednesday she had suffered domestic abuse in her first marriage.
She also said that she had been sexually assaulted — though did not identify the attacker.
Rowling had never previously spoken publicly about her ordeals in a bid to protect Jessica, now 27.
But she claimed it helped explain her controversial tweets about transgender people, where she said only women could menstruate.
Her comments had sparked a fierce backlash where she was accused of being “anti-trans” — with Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Eddie Redmayne among those opposing her views.
By Rachel Horman, Anti-stalking charity Paladin
I THINK she’s incredibly brave to speak out about it.
Obviously this is something she’s been living with for a long time as a victim of physical and sexual abuse.
It must be very difficult for her to speak out about it because it will still be very painful for her even after all these years.
Domestic abuse is something that can impact everyone and people will be surprised that someone like JK Rowling was a victim of it.
It shows it can happen to anyone and how common a problem it is.
Responding to the criticism, Rowling opened up in a lengthy and emotional post online.
She wrote: “I’ve been in the public eye now for over twenty years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor.
“This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember.
“I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces.”
Rowling, now happily married to Neil Murray, continued: “I managed to escape my first violent marriage with some difficulty.
“But I’m now married to a truly good and principled man, safe and secure in ways I never in a million years expected to be.
“However, the scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear, no matter how loved you are, and no matter how much money you’ve made.”
Rowling decided to move to Porto after her mother died in December 1990.
She taught English and was writing Harry Potter — then met Arantes in a bar one evening in 1992.
The journalism student recalled: “This girl with the most amazing blue eyes walked in.”
The scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear.
The pair swapped numbers that night and were soon dating. Arantes later said: “Immediately, there was a connection between us.
Joanne could not speak any Portuguese, but my English was good. We both realised we had a great deal in common with our love of books.
“I remember her saying she was rereading Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, which I had also read.”
He went on: “After that night, Joanne and I saw each other two or three times a week. It was an intense and passionate relationship.”
Rowling soon became pregnant but miscarried. The couple married in October 1992 in Porto’s register office, watched by the bride’s sister Dianne and her boyfriend.
But signs of trouble were already evident. Friends were suspicious of her new man, viewing him as possessive, jealous and untrustworthy.
Before the wedding, they argued in a cafe and an onlooker contacted the police after Arantes reportedly pushed his fiancee.
When cops arrived, Arantes was said to be in tears, crying: “Joanne, forgive me, I love you.”
Arantes later said of the relationship: “We were either in heaven or hell.”
The following year Jessica was born, but the marriage was over by the time she was just two months old.
Rowling recalled: “I married on October, 16, 1992. I left on November 17, 1993.
“So that was the duration of what I considered to be the marriage.”
Arantes admitted he had been violent towards her on the night she left — after she said she did not love him.
He said: “She refused to go without Jessica and, despite my saying she could come back for her in the morning, there was a violent struggle.
“I had to drag her out of the house at five in the morning, and I admit I slapped her very hard in the street.”
Rowling returned to Britain the next day with her daughter and settled in Edinburgh, where she landed her first publishing deal.
I don’t care about it. What she says is up to her. It’s her responsibility, not mine.
In 1994, Arantes followed her to Scotland in an attempt to see his daughter.
Having lost his job as a TV journalist, it was reported he had plunged into drug addiction.
Rowling took out a restraining order on Arantes, who is still living in the old ramshackle Porto townhouse owned by his 90-year-old mother.
Neighbours yesterday said he annoys locals by playing loud music — and the smell of cannabis often wafts out from the front door.
Meanwhile, Rowling went on to sell 500million copies of her Harry Potter books.
She has previously only hinted at what caused their split.
She explained: “Obviously you do not leave a marriage after that very short period of time unless there are serious problems.”
But she chose to speak out on Wednesday amid a backlash from controversial tweets she had made about transgender people.
She had appeared to mock an article about “people who menstruate”, posting: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpound? Woomud?”
It sparked a furious reaction, with Rowling accused of being “anti-trans”, which she furiously denies.
She said she had been trolled by trans activists and wanted to divulge her “back story” to explain how it “shapes my fears, my interests and my opinion”.
When pressed last night, Arantes told The Sun: “It was a long time ago and I don’t want to talk. I don’t speak to Joanne anymore and I don’t want to have this conversation.
“I don’t care about it. What she says is up to her. It’s her responsibility, not mine. There was not sustained abuse.”
Rowling has been happily married to doctor Neil Murray for 19 years, and they have two children, David and Mackenzie.
While she has previously kept her abuse ordeal a secret, she has used her vast fortune to help others who have suffered.
Last month, she gave £1million to charities for survivors of domestic abuse and homelessness, Refuge and Crisis.
She has recently released her new children’s story, The Ickabog, for free and has been encouraging children to post their illustrations for it on social media.
- The Sun did not pay Arantes for his comments
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