Padma Will Have the Salman

Salman Padma
Lakshmi and Rushdie also appeared together at the PEN gala earlier this summer, after rumors of their split. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Like our cohorts at WWD, we spent much of the night at the after-party for the Keep a Child Alive benefit transfixed by the drama of the Salman Rushdie–Padma Lakshmi reunion. Lakshmi's presence at the event had been a given; she's a KAC "global ambassador," and she'd designed the gala's dinner menu. And it seemed pretty clear from repeated comments referring to her "ex-husband" earlier in the night that she hadn't been expecting Rushdie to show. But Rushdie is the one who introduced her to the night's honoree, Bono — they'd flown to a concert together once, Lakshmi said — and apparently the sneaky devil got an invite through other means and decided to come. God, we had an ex who used to do that all the time, just like show up places he knew we'd be. Padma! Fancy meeting you here! Actually, come to think of it, we've done that to exes ourselves. We're a little bit of a stalker like that. Salman! He's just like us! Anyway. To be honest, we were kind of shocked by the hot and heavy make-out sesh that ensued.

We'd assumed when we saw him out before that Rushdie had been in search of a Padma replacement, and also frankly we'd always suspected their marriage had been based mostly on her ambition and his understandable desire for one of the most gorgeous women alive. But there they were, kissing, snuggling, giving each other long, searching looks. We, along with half the room, watched in awe. Why would they grope each other so openly, we wondered. Then we figured out that Padma was about five hours into the open bar. Eventually, though, Rushdie left — alone! Why? Sob! — and Lakshmi wandered back into the room, looking stunned and a little upset. Soon afterward, we overheard her saying to Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Records, "Why is it that I can only make out with my husband?" Well, we've said it before: Even if you have to bend over to kiss him, that odd little man has a certain je ne sais quoi.Jada Yuan

How do you dress for a party honoring Bono? Look to Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani, and David Bowie for guidance at our complete coverage of at the Condé Nast Black Ball for Keep a Child Alive.