Are they divorced – or aren’t they?
Malaysians might finally get answers around what happened between Sultan Muhammad V and the Russian bride 24 years his junior, after the former model hinted on social media that she was mulling a tell-all.
Rihana Oksana Petra addressed the rumors around the couple’s split in an Instagram post on Monday (Sept 2), saying she knew the public wanted a conclusive answer.
“I know that everyone really wants to know what happened to us. Before, I was not ready to reveal my story,” she said.
“Maybe, if I tell you the truth, I will feel better… but I just don’t want to hurt anyone,” she added without elaborating. “It will be painful.”
Accompanying the caption was a cosy wefie of herself and the Sultan, a departure from the professionally-taken pictures of the couple typically posted to her account.
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Saya tahu semua orang sangat mahu mengetahui apa yang berlaku sebenarnya antara kami. Sebelum ini, saya tidak bersedia untuk menceritakan semuanya.. Kemungkinan, jika saya memberitahu anda kisah sebenar, saya akan merasa lega.. Tetapi, saya tidak mahu menyakiti sesiapa pun, ianya pasti akan menyakitkan sekali.😔 I know that everyone really wants to know what happened to us.. Before, I was not ready to reveal my story… Maybe, if I tell you the truth, I will feel better… but I just don’t want to hurt anyone 😔 it will be painful.
Notably, this is the first time the former Miss Moscow has shown any indication that rumors of their split might be true.
Previously, she strongly denied the claims, describing her husband as “a decent Muslim” and saying media reports on the topic were “not legitimate”.
On Instagram, she has also maintained an image of being in a happy marriage, continuing to recount anecdotes of her romance with the Sultan and post updates on their baby’s development, even as Muhammad V’s lawyer confirmed that Muslim courts had finalised the divorce paperwork.
His lawyers also appeared to hint that the monarch had doubts over his identity as the baby’s father.
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A little bit more than three months ago, Leon was still living in my stomach. And now his weight is 6,750 grams and my hands get tired to carry him for a long time… Children grow and change very quickly. Therefore, up to one year, there is a tradition to celebrate their birthdays every month. I believe that in such moments, parents should spend as much time with their baby as possible so they don’t miss such valuable moments as the first smile, the first laugh, the first word, the first steps … 🇷🇺 Чуть больше, чем три месяца назад, Леон все ещё жил у меня в животе. А теперь он весит 6750 гр и руки начинают уставать его носить по-долгу. Детки растут и меняются очень быстро. Поэтому до одного года принято отмечать дни рождения каждый месяц. Я считаю, что в такой момент, родители должны проводить со своим малышом как можно больше времени, чтобы не упустить такие ценные моменты, как первая улыбка, первый смех, первый самостоятельный поворот, первые шаги… 🥰 Photo by: @veraundritzphotography
Notably, there are no pictures of the three as a family on Rihana’s account, and mother and baby appear to have been residing in Moscow for an extended period of time.
In response to the former beauty queen’s latest post, fans – most of whom believed the couple were indeed divorced – flooded the comments section with messages of support.
One commenter referenced the Sultan’s first failed marriage and advised Rihana to “move on” and “delete all his photos”, while others said they hoped she would heal from the episode.
Several commenters also advised her to keep the details of her marriage secret as a prudent measure.
If Rihana does reveal her side of the story (she previously promised to, and did, tell fans how the Sultan proposed) it could explain why the Kelantan Palace has never officially recognised the couple’s union or accorded her a title, unlike other foreign brides.
It could also explain the Sultan’s mysterious and unprecedented abdication of Malaysia’s throne earlier this year – well before his term was up. Observers have speculated that the move was linked to his marriage with Rihana.
The model previously said on Instagram that staying silent would mean conceding to “untruths”, and that she intended to defend her family’s honour.