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Rhea Pillai is an Indian model known for her works in television and advertising. In 2003, she was honored as the "Woman of the Year", along with Raveena Tandon, Anoushka Shankar and Ritu Beri, on International Women's Day for social service.[2] In 2006, she had a minor screen role in the Hindi movie Corporate. Pillai is involved in the Art of Living Foundation.[3]

Rhea Pillai
Rhea pillai.jpg
Born1965 (age 53–54)
RelativesZubeida (maternal grandmother)

Early lifeEdit

Rhea with Leander Paes, 2012

Pillai was born the daughter of Raymond Pillai and his wife Durr-e-shahwar Dhanrajgir.[4] Both of her parents were of mixed communal heritage, and theirs was also a mixed marriage. Her father, Raymond Pillai, was the son of a Malayalam-speaking Hindu father and an Anglo-Indian mother, and he was raised as a Christian. Pillai's mother, Durr-e-shahwar Dhanrajgir, was the daughter of Maharaja Narsinghraj Dhanrajgir Gyan Bahadur, a Hindu and one of the top noblemen of Hyderabad state, by his consort Zubeida, who hailed from a family of Muslim royals and had acted in the first Indian sound film Alam Ara (1931). She is also the great granddaughter of India's first female film director, Fatima Begum and happens to be the great niece of Sultana, one of the earliest film actresses from India who was the elder sister of her grandmother Zubeida.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1984, Pillai married a US national named Michael Vaz.[1] Vaz and Pillai separated in 1988 and got divorced in 1994.[1]

In 1998, Pillai married actor Sanjay Dutt, but they separated after a few years.[6] She stated in 2006 that they remain close friends.[7] After the divorce became official in 2008 and details of the settlement were published by the tabloid MiD DAY,[8] the broadsheet newspaper The Telegraph criticised Pillai for her materialism and her conduct in relation to Dutt.[9]

Pillai had a live-in-relationship with Indian tennis player Leander Paes in 2005. The couple has a daughter, Aiyana.[7] She has filed a case against Paes and his father alleging domestic violence in June 2014 at a local metropolitan court.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c "Rhea Pillai submits divorce decree from first husband". Mumbai Mirror. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  2. ^ The ITA Awards » GR8! Women Achiever Awards 2003 Archived 2010-11-02 at the Wayback Machine. Indian Television Academy. Retrieved 2011-01-10
  3. ^ "Interview with Rhea Pillai". Soul Curry magazine. 6 March 2009. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "Who is Rhea Pillai? An account of her past, association with Sanjay Dutt and much more". 4 May 2014.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Sanjay Dutt". India eNews. 31 July 2007. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ a b "Rhea Pillai interview". One India. 29 November 2006. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Rhea Pillai submits documents to show she did get a divorce from first husband". Mid-day.
  9. ^ Bharathi S. Pradhan, The Rhea Pillai affair, The Telegraph, 23 March 2008. Retrieved 2011-01-10
  10. ^ "Paes didn't want me to have 'dignity of a wife': Rhea Pillai to court". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Rhea Pillai files complaint against Leander Paes, says evicted from their home". Indian Express. Retrieved 16 January 2015.

External linksEdit