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JK Rowling‘s abusive former husband has accused the novelist of being ‘delirious’ – after she claimed that he hid the unpublished manuscript of the first Harry Potter novel to stop her leaving him.

In a sensational podcast, the multi-millionaire author said ‘controlling’ former Portuguese TV reporter Jorge Arantes kept the pages of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone ‘hostage’ as their marriage broke down. 

Talking on ‘The Witch Trials of JK Rowling’ she said she even feared he ‘would burn the pages’ – and started secretly photocopying them to protect them in case they were lost.

But disgraced Arantes, 54, who has admitted slapping his ex-wife during their turbulent marriage, denied that he had even taken the book – and even made the extraordinary claim he helped write it.

In a bizarre rant from his home in Portugal, he said: ‘I don’t know why she is saying what she is now, maybe she is delirious from three years of Covid lockdown.

JK Rowling's former husband Jorge Arantes (pictured outside his Porto home) has claimed he participated in the writing of the first Harry Potter book

JK Rowling’s former husband Jorge Arantes (pictured outside his Porto home) has claimed he participated in the writing of the first Harry Potter book 

Rowling married Arantes in 1992 after meeting him in a bar in Portugal where she had moved to work as a teacher following her mother’s death

Rowling married Arantes in 1992 after meeting him in a bar in Portugal where she had moved to work as a teacher following her mother’s death

‘I was surprised when I read about this. I deny it. It doesn’t make any sense. Why would I do something like that? Maybe you should ask her.’

Seemingly trying to take the credit for Rowling’s wildly successful Harry Potter series, he went on: ‘When she was writing the book, I was participating in it, she was reading it out to me, and I was reading it to her.

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‘The first book was fascinating; the writing was wonderful, and I always liked it because we shared a passion for literature, and especially literature for children.

‘The project was for seven books, and I was very involved with the first one and she knows that. She started writing it when we were together.’

Arantes and Rowling, 57, tied the knot in 1992, in the Portuguese city of Porto, after a whirlwind romance, following a meeting in a bar after she had moved there to teach English.

A wedding certificate obtained by MailOnline, shows how the couple lived with Arantes mother Marilia Rodrigues – who died in 2020 aged 90 – in Porto.

Rowling moved to Portugal after her mother’s death and the couple had a daughter, Jessica, now 29 but she left him just a year later after he had dragged her out of the house and attacked her.

JK Rowling revealed her abusive ex-husband hid the manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel in a bid to stop her from leaving him

JK Rowling revealed her abusive ex-husband hid the manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel in a bid to stop her from leaving him

Arantes said he doesn’t deny that their marriage was marred by violence – and revealed that he has no relationship with his daughter.

On the podcast Rowling said: ‘The marriage had turned very violent and very controlling. He was searching my handbag every time I come home.

‘I haven’t got a key to my own front door because he’s got to control the front door. And I think he’s not a stupid person. I think he knew, or suspected, that I was going to try and bolt again.’

Rowling described living in ‘a horrible state of tension’ with Arantes because she had to hide her desire to leave him.

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She went on: ‘And yet the manuscript kept growing. I’d continue to write. In fact, he knew what that manuscript meant to me because at one point he took the manuscript and hid it and that was his hostage.’

Rowling described how she became increasingly determined to leave, and she would secretly ‘take a few pages of the manuscript into work every day – just a few pages so that he wouldn’t realise anything was missing – and photocopy it’.

She said: ‘And gradually in a cupboard in the staff room, bit by bit, a photocopied manuscript grew and grew and grew, because I suspected that, if I wasn’t able to get out with everything, he would burn it or take it or hold it hostage.

‘That manuscript still meant so much to me. That was the thing that I actually prioritised for saving. The only thing I prioritised beyond that, obviously, was my daughter, but at that point she’s still inside me, so she’s as safe as can be in that situation.’

Describing the night she walked out on Arantes, Rowling said: ‘There came a night where he became very angry with me and I cracked and I said ‘I want to leave’.

‘He became very violent and he said, ‘You can leave but you’re not getting Jessica, I’m keeping her, I will hide her’.

‘So I put up a fight and I paid the price. There was a violent scene which terminated with me lying in the street.

‘I went to the police and filed a complaint and the next day went back to the house with the police and got Jessica.’

The Witch Trials of JK Rowling is a seven-part podcast in conversation with the author, hosted by American activist and journalist Megan Phelps-Roper

The Witch Trials of JK Rowling is a seven-part podcast in conversation with the author, hosted by American activist and journalist Megan Phelps-Roper

JK Rowling, 57, opened up about her abusive former husband during the explosive podcast

JK Rowling, 57, opened up about her abusive former husband during the explosive podcast 

Megan Phelps-Roper (pictured), host of The Witch Trials of JK Rowling podcast

Megan Phelps-Roper (pictured), host of The Witch Trials of JK Rowling podcast

She said she had fiercely protected her privacy after becoming famous because of her fears of being tracked down by Arantes.

Rowling revealed he had followed her to Edinburgh and broken into the first home she bought with money from her publishing deal for her debut Potter novel, which was published in 1997.

She said: ‘I was so ill-equipped for what happened to me. It was changing faster than I could deal with and all the time I had this lurking fear because I know there is someone out there who does not wish me well.

‘The reason we left the first place was my ex-husband arrived and broke in. Moving became quite a pressing issue at that point.

‘I was trying to reconcile suddenly having a lot of press interest with really, really wanting to live under the radar for very concrete reasons.

‘I was living in a state of real tension I couldn’t express to many people.’

A spokesman for Rowling said the novelist did not want to comment on her ex-husband’s latest claims.

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