For about thirty years, Jane Hawking was married to Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest scholars the world has ever known. Stephen was an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist who served at the University of Cambridge in the capacity of director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology – before he passed on. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the United States of America, Stephen enjoyed profound fame and recognition for his great scientific works both nationally and around the world.
Beyond her then husband’s popularity, however, Jane Hawking made her mark as an English author and teacher. Her memoir – Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen was adapted in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything. Let’s flip through the pages of her life story to learn more about what it was like living with one of the most revered academics in the world and how it all came to an end.
Biography And Age Of Jane Hawking
On March 29, 1944, Jane Hawking was born and named Jane Beryl Wilde by her parents – Beryl and George Wilde. She spent her early years in St Albans, United Kingdom, where she was also born.
Without finding any credible information on her early educational pursuit, we gather that Jane Hawking graduated from the University of London’s Westfield College with a degree in Languages. An ardent scholar, she furthered her studies to the level of doctorate which she was able to achieve after putting in a few years on her doctoral thesis. She eventually got her Ph.D. in Medieval Spanish Poetry from Westfield College in 1981. To her, a Ph.D. was necessary as a rite of passage in the academic world of Cambridge.
Family: Relationship With Stephen Hawking
As mentioned earlier, Jane Hawking was married to the late physicist Stephen Hawking. They met in 1962 with the help of some mutual friends at a party. In 1963, not long after they started dating, Stephen was diagnosed with motor neuron disease but this never constituted a stumbling block to their union. Their love blossomed and soon, they were engaged in 1964 and in the year 1965, they made it official in a wedding ceremony at their hometown of St Albans. Their first child was born in 1967 and named Robert. Lucy, the second fruit of their union joined the family in 1970 while the last child came along in 1979 and was named Timothy.
While they were married, Stephen’s medical condition gradually deteriorated but she did a good job taking care of him. She did suffer from depression as a result of the stress she had to go through but according to her, it was her faith as a Christian that saw her through those trying times. Ironically, Stephen Hawking was an unapologetic atheist.
Their marriage turned sour towards the end of the 1980s. Stephen Hawking and one of his nurses, Elaine Mason, had started getting too close for comfort and eventually confirmed the fears of everyone around them when it became clear that they were an item. Consequently, Stephen left his family in 1990, telling Jane he was more happy with Mason. It took five years before the divorce between Jane and Stephen was finalized and in September 1995, Stephen took Mason, the woman he professed undying love for, as his wife. Apparently, it wasn’t a match made in heaven as they divorced in 2006. After Stephen divorced his second wife, Jane was very supportive in his work and welfare.
Stephen Hawking battled the motor neuron disease for a record of fifty years, beating doctor’s diagnosis of having just two years to live. He eventually died on 14 March 2018 and was 76 years old when he passed. His legacy and contributions to science still impact on scholars around the world.
Meanwhile, Jane Hawking married musician Jonathan Hellyer Jones, in 1996. In a 2004 television film titled Hawking, Jane Hawking was played by Lisa Dillon. Another movie about her life came in 2014, dubbed The Theory of Everything. It was borne out of her memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. Her part in the film was portrayed by Felicity Jones, a role that earned the actress an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Actress.