Those who have seen the James Marsh film A Wonderful History of Time already know. Struck at 22 with an incurable neurodegenerative disease, called Charcot, nailed very early to his electric chair, gradually deprived of speech, Stephen Hawking had two women in his life – publicly, in any case.
He had just entered the prestigious Cambridge University, cosmology option, when he met Jane Wilde, a student of medieval Spanish poetry, at a campus party in 1962. It was only a month before Stephen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We give him two years to live. Against all odds, Jane stays. “I was young, full of energy and optimism,” she recalls in The Telegraph in 2015. I wanted to do my best for him, and I thought I could easily devote two years of my life to someone I loved – and who had so much potential.
- Jane Wilde, the courageous mother
They got engaged in 1964, married a year later, and moved to St Albans, north London. Three children will follow, Robert in 1967, Lucy in 1970 and Timothy in 1979, to the rhythm of Stephen’s slow degeneration. Jane Hawkins is a day and night housewife, mother, and nurse. She later admits to having considered suicide several times. “Life was sometimes so appalling, so physically and mentally exhausting, that I often thought about throwing myself in the river – which I kept myself from doing, for the children,” she continues to The Telegraph. The triumph of the physicist, after the publication of his Brief History of time in 1988, things worsened, “bringing too many new people into our circle and making our daily life intolerable”. Stephen Hawking has already lived twenty-five years longer than expected. He confines himself to “black holes” (his object of study par excellence), and Jane feels less and less admitted into his world. They separated in 1990, only to divorce five years later.
The one nicknamed “the other Einstein” died this Wednesday at 76 years old. Stricken with an incurable disease, he revolutionized cosmology, married twice, and had three children. How did Stephen Hawking die?
- Elaine Mason, the disapproved nurse
In 1995, Stephen Hawking married Elaine Mason, one of his nurses, whose ex-husband designed the talking computer used by the scientist to communicate. In James Marsh’s film, the “nurse” comes into his life when he is still married to Jane – “nonsense”, insists relatives of the family. This second marriage gives rise to embarrassing headlines. Some portray stepmom restricting Stephen Hawking’s access to his three children. For the most part, they accuse Elaine Mason of physical and psychological abuse on her paralyzed husband, from 2003. Accusations that the supposed victim will deny forever. His mysterious – serious – injuries, a broken leg, then a femur, they will humorously justify them by accidents (a shock against a wall, “it is the wall that won”), reports Vanity Fair. Her daughter Lucy herself complains of mistreatment of her father, but the law wants the victim to blame. “He asked me not to interfere in his life with Elaine anymore,” she says in the American magazine. But he never denied the abuses ”. After eleven years of marriage, in 2006, Elaine Mason suddenly files for divorce. Rumors speak of stories of infidelity.