Padma Lakshmi Says 2010 Scrutiny Over Her Daughter’s Paternity Was “As Horrible As Is Possible to Be”

“I mean, talk about slut shaming.”

Lead Judge Tom Colicchio, Host Padma Lakshmi
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Television host and author Padma Lakshmi can still recall the moments when it felt like the entire world was scrutinizing her and her daughter's paternity.

In a recent interview for a profile in the New Yorker, Lakshmi said that while she has always tried to keep her private life just that—private—she can still remember what it was like to be under the microscope when she revealed she was pregnant with her daughter, Krishna, but did not disclose the name of her daughter's father.

"It was just about as horrible as is possible to be,” Lakshmi told the publication. “I mean, talk about slut shaming.”

During a previous interview on People's Me Becoming Mom podcast, the former Top Chef host said that she was“between relationships” at the time, having dated both Adam Dell and Teddy Forstmann at the time she conceived.

Top Chef, Lead Judge Tom Colicchio, Host Padma Lakshmi

Former Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi alongside Lead Judge Tom Colicchio. At the time, Lakshmi was pregnant with her daughter.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In her 2016 memoir, Love, Loss and What We Ate, Lakshmi revealed how she navigated the situation with Forstmann and Dell via a paternity test.

(Forstmann, the CEO of IMG, helped raise Krishna before his death in 2011. A paternity test determined Dell was her daughter's father, not that it is anyone's business, just to let the record show).

During a 2016 appearance on TODAY to promote her candid memoir, Lakshmi discussed the end of her 3-year marriage to Salman Rushdie and the decision to enter into a relationship with two men simultaneously (a thing a lot of women and men do, by the way!).

"It probably wasn't the best choice, but it was the choice I made at the time," she said at the time. "I didn't want to be in a serious relationship. I was still really hurting from my divorce."

A post shared by Padma Lakshmi

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"I probably shouldn't have been with anybody and just taken the time I needed for myself but I was presented with two very different, very interesting men and men do it all the time," Lakshmi continued. "I chose to do it. I was open with the men involved.

"I'm going to own my history," she added, unapologetically. "That's what I did."

Danielle Campoamor is an award-winning freelance writer covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mental health, politics, celebrity, and feminist issues. She has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, and more.