Veteran actor Neelima Azeem, who has single-handedly raised her sons Shahid Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter, recently opened up about her divorce from her first husband, Pankaj Kapur, when their actor-son Shahid was just three-and-a-half years old.
Conceiving at the tender age of 21, Neelima revealed that her then-husband Pankaj had left her for Mumbai to try his luck in films and TV even before they knew she had conceived. She also mentioned that she got help from her parents to raise Shahid who was born in Delhi.
Opening up on how Shahid reacted to the news of their separation, Neelima told Bollywood Bubble, “Shahid was very young, he was three and a half years old. Shahid was born in Delhi while I was staying with my parents because Pankaj had left much earlier and shifted to Mumbai before we know that I had conceived. He wanted to try his luck in films and TV and I supported him because I thought he is a very talented and young man.”
Sharing that Pankaj and she never had a home together, Neelima said that it was her parents and brother who took care of her when she was pregnant with Shahid.
“I was actually taken care of by my parents and my brother during the pregnancy all through. Later when Shahid was born, we were with my parents in their home. Pankaj and I never had a home together ever. Shahid was used to staying with us there in Delhi,” she added.
In her interview, Neelima said that it wasn’t much of a change for Shahid since he stayed in the same environment he was born in. Neelima said, “It wasn’t as if that he stayed with his father and then he had to shift. He was in the same surrounding as he was born. So it did not make a huge difference to him. Of course, separation and divorce make a difference to children but he was very young and he was in the same family structure as he was used to be.”
Earlier, during an interview with Bollywood Bubble, Neelima said that she took the failure of her first marriage to Pankaj hard, whereas, her second marriage to Rajesh could have been saved had there been more control.
Speaking about being married to Shahid’s father, Neelima said, “I had this wonderful friend who I got married to, everything was just la-la-la-da-di-da, my parents were wonderful, I had a great crowd around me, toh mujhe ye pata hi nahi tha ke kuch zindagi mein aisa bhi ho sakta hai jisme pav phisal jaye aur hum dup kar ke ghir jaaye (I wasn’t aware that one could slip in life and fall flat). Aur rejection ka koi sawaal hi nahi hai (there was no question of rejection) because everybody used to love me and adore me and follow me around. So it was, in that way, when you’re young and full of beans, it was the first time when I experienced grief, sorrow, rejection, anxiety, pain, and fear of the unknown and a whole lot of insecurity.”
Neelima raised Shahid as a single parent after her divorce from Pankaj in 1984. She has another son, Ishaan Khatter, with her ex-husband Rajesh Khattar.