Legendary British astrophysicist and author Stephen Hawking died in the early hours of Wednesday, at the age of 76.

While his contribution in the world of theoretical physics and his perseverance in the face of a devastating disease is known throughout the world, he also had a complex and turbulent love life. He was divorced twice – from ex-wives Jane Wilde and Elaine Mason respectively.

Jane Wilde

Hawking, married his university sweetheart, Jane Wilde, in 1965. He met her in 1963, shortly before being diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, at the age of 21.

Despite knowing that Hawking’s health was only going to go downhill from that point, Wilde agreed to marry him – a heart-breaking love story that was documented in the film “Theory Of Everything,” based on a memoir written by Wilde called “Travelling To Infinity.”

After having three children together, the couple separated in 1990 and divorced in 1995.

Wilde opened up about her tempestuous marriage to Hawking, saying that it was not his health but his ever-growing fame in the world of theoretical physics that split them apart.

After experiencing financial troubles in the initial years of their marriage, everything changed after “A Brief History of Time” was published in 1988 and became an instant bestseller around the world. Just like all the “sycophantic” people surrounding her husband, Wilde was also expected to worship him – something that she refused to do.

“To me, Stephen was my husband and the father of my children; one does not say to one’s husband, “Oh, you’re so clever! I must worship the ground under your feet, or in this case, wheels,” she said, the Telegraph reported.

“I found this kind of sycophantic attitude – the attitude adopted by so many people around Stephen – exceptionally frustrating and, of course, it grew a lot worse when we finally had to engage carers,” she added.

She also said that her husband refused to have outside help even at a point when he had to resort to a wheelchair to get around, which put a toll on her.

“Naturally he was in denial but also his mind was so deeply involved with the intellectual realms of research into the origins of the universe that he did not have time to think about more mundane matters,” she said.

However, even after marrying her boyfriend, Jonathan Hellyer Jones, in 1997, Wilde continued to support her husband due to his health problems. After Hawking divorced his second wife, Wilde established a working relationship with him.

Elaine Mason

Elaine Mason Professor Stephen Hawking (L) and his ex-wife Elaine Mason attend the international bookfair in Frankfurt, Germany, Oct. 19, 2005. Photo: Getty Images/ Ralph Orlowski

Hawking married Elaine Mason in 1995, after he split from his first wife. Mason was a British nurse who was hired to take care of the brilliant physicist.

Hawking and Mason’s marriage was embroiled in controversy from the very beginning. The fact that Mason left her husband and two children to marry Hawking left many people speculating that she was a gold-digger, a allegation Mason has always  vehemently denied.

In 2004, a story of other caregivers alleging that Mason was emotionally and physically abusing her husband emerged.

“Well I’m not surprised. Not surprised at all – I just wish it had happened a long, long time ago,” an unnamed former nurse told Mail Online at the time. “She is the reason I left. It’s the reason everyone leaves. It’s impossible to reconcile the way she treated Stephen with the ethics of our profession. I don’t want to say anymore because it brings back painful memories.”

After the allegations surfaced, the police investigated into the claims but dropped the case against Mason due to lack of evidence.

Wilde commented on the rumors saying, “The revelations have made me feel ill. He is a special man and vulnerable man but, when his children see the aftermath of these events, they can only tell him he must do something about it.”

The end of Hawking and Mason’s marriage was also not free of drama. After staying together for 11 years, the couple divorced in 2006, without citing any concrete reasons for doing so.

As a result, the media had a field day with much speculation surrounding their married life. One story claimed Hawking was cheating on Mason with other caregivers. However, the rumor was never proven.

“That is complete and utter libelous rubbish,” a source close to Hawking told The Telegraph at the time.