Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met Akshata Murty when they were students at Stanford University
Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, may live in London, but their love story began halfway around the world.
The British prime minister first met Murty while they were students at Stanford University in California. The couple fell in love while working toward their graduate degrees, and following their graduation in 2006, Sunak popped the question.
In 2009, the pair tied the knot in Murty’s native India, where her parents are widely known for their information technology company Infosys. Since its founding in 1981, the company has grown to employ thousands of people around the globe and is worth billions. Murty shares ownership of the company, allowing her to amass a fortune worth more than $700 million, Forbes reported in October 2022.
Murty has remained committed to giving back through charity work and generous donations to her alma maters to support budding entrepreneurs. In April 2022, the heiress came under fire for her non-domicile tax status in the U.K. — meaning she didn't have to pay U.K. tax on income earned abroad, including that of her shares in Infosys, and remained an Indian citizen. After her tax status made headlines, Murty relinquished her non-domicile status, opting to pay British taxes on her worldwide income — even though it was not required by law.
“It has become clear that many do not feel [non-domicile status] is compatible with my husband’s role as chancellor. I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family,” Murty wrote in a statement on Twitter.
She continued: “My decision to pay U.K. tax on all my worldwide income will not change the fact that India remains the country of my birth, citizenship, parents’ home and place of domicile. But I love the U.K. too. In my time here I have invested in British businesses and supported British causes. My daughters are British. They are growing up in the U.K. I am so proud to be here.”
So who is Rishi Sunak's Wife? Here's everything to know about heiress and businesswoman Akshata Murty.
She was born and raised in India
Murty was born on April 25, 1980, in the city of Hubli in Karnataka, India. Her early years were spent living with her grandparents after her parents, N.R. Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murty, quickly realized that caring for an infant was incredibly difficult to balance with their careers.
“Two months after your birth in Hubli, we brought you to Mumbai, but discovered, quickly enough, that it was a difficult task to nurture a child and manage careers side by side. So, we decided that you would spend the initial years of your life with your grandparents in Hubli,” Murthy wrote to his daughter in Legacy: Letters from Eminent Parents to Their Daughters.
Growing up, Murty was incredibly focused on her studies — in an effort to keep her from distractions, the family didn’t even have a TV in her home. Her family later relocated to Bangalore, India, where she attended Baldwin Girls' High School.
Her parents founded the information technology company Infosys
In 1981, Murty’s parents founded the IT company Infosys with several other engineers and just $250 in capital, according to Rediff.com.
Since then, the company has grown to be the second-largest Indian IT company, employing more than 343,000 people around the world. Over 40 years since its founding, Infosys is valued at more than $18 billion, Forbes reported. According to the outlet, as of July 2023, N.R. Narayana Murthy has a net worth of $4.4 billion.
Murty, his daughter, is a shareholder in the company, reportedly holding around a 0.94% stake (just over 38 million individual shares), with an estimated value of more than $715 million, the Sunday Times’ Rich List reported in May 2022.
She attended college in the U.S.
After graduating from high school, Murty pursued higher education in the U.S. She first studied economics and French at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. After graduating in 2002, Murty enrolled at Stanford University to obtain her M.B.A. and graduated from the program in 2006. She later attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, where she received an associate’s degree in apparel industry management in 2013.
Murty is still involved with her alma maters and has been a member of the CMC Board of Trustees since 2011. She has made donations to the college, created a professorship, established a program in Bangalore and founded the Murty Sunak Quantitative and Computing Lab.
Murty and Sunak have also made generous donations to Stanford, where they established the Social Innovation Fellowship program. The program provides financial and advisory support to alumni with innovative plans to address social or environmental challenges.
“I come from a family of entrepreneurs — my mother on the social side through the foundation world and my father on the corporate side. I was raised with a view that entrepreneurship can change people’s lives,” Murty shared with the university.
She has worked in the technology industry
After graduating from Stanford, Murty followed in her parents’ footsteps in the technology industry. Although she did not take the reins at Infosys, she did work at Siderian Ventures in San Francisco. While at the green technology venture capital firm, she worked as a marketing director.
Then, after a brief stint in the world of fashion, Murty returned to the venture capital space when her father founded Catamaran Ventures. He launched the company in the hopes of funding Indian startups operating in the areas of health care, education and nutrition, per the Times Of India. In 2013, Murty and Sunak joined the company; the couple co-founded the London branch of the firm. Sunak resigned in 2015 and is now busy with his political career, while Murty is still a director at the company, according to Companies House, an executive agency of the British government.
Murty also served as a director of the boutique gym Digme Fitness, holding a 4.4% stake, and the menswear brand New & Lingwood until 2022, per Bloomberg. She continues to hold investments in other companies.
She once had her own clothing line called Akshata Designs
“I understand that there may be some curiosity around what I’m doing given my parents’ achievements, but I hope that one day this business is able to stand on its own feet and I’m able to speak on its merit rather than anything else,” she said. “This is my passion and I couldn’t imagine being engaged in anything else but the business of this venture.”
Over the next few years, Murty shared her collections, which were often inspired by the work of artists from remote Indian villages. While speaking with Vogue India, Murty explained that she hoped her clothing line would serve as “a passport to different cultures.”
The clothing brand shut down in 2017.
Murty met Sunak while they were attending Stanford University
Murty and Sunak first crossed paths while they were studying at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Sunak has said there was “clearly something” between them after their first meeting. At one point, Sunak took a class he didn’t need in order to spend more time with her.
“I didn't really need to take it but I did it anyway so we could sit next to each other,” Sunak said in an interview with The Sunday Times.
While looking back on their relationship during a campaign event in 2022, Sunak said that he was “incredibly grateful” that Murty had taken “a chance on the short kid with a backpack,” per Business Today.
Sunak proposed to Murty in Half Moon Bay, California
When Sunak popped the question to Murty, the pair were on a trip to Half Moon Bay, California, a beach town near Stanford. They were walking along the coast when Sunak got down on one knee, and they then celebrated their engagement at a nearby hotel.
“We got engaged in a place called Half Moon Bay — it was a place that when we were students, we met when we were studying together in the States, and we used to walk in this area and look up at this nice fancy hotel that we never could stay in,” Sunak said during an interview on Piers Morgan Uncensored.
He continued: “Then I surprised her and we did go and stay there. But before that, we went for a walk along the cliffs and we were alone and that's where I proposed.”
They got married in 2009 and share two daughters
In August 2009, Murty and Sunak tied the knot in a three-day wedding held at the Leela Palace Hotel in Bangalore. The low-key ceremony included only the couple’s closest family and friends.
During the reception, they hosted a much larger crowd. The guest list included politicians, tech moguls and sports stars, the Times of India reported.
The couple welcomed their daughter Krishna in 2011 and their daughter Anoushka in 2013. Looking back, Sunak has said he has very fond memories of his early days as a parent.
“I was very lucky because when they were born, I ran my own business with others but I was completely in control of my time and so I was very much around,” he told The Sunday Times. “I always say my parenting sweet spot is 0 to 3 and I was really lucky that when they were that age I had the time to just be there a lot and do a lot. I loved every second of it.”
The couple own homes around the world
Since getting married, Murty and Sunak have acquired real estate around the world.
According to The Evening Standard, the pair own several places in London, including a flat in South Kensington that Sunak purchased in 2001. Since then, the couple have also purchased a home in Kensington, London, as well as Kirby Sigston Manor in North Yorkshire, England.
Additionally, the couple also own a penthouse apartment on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California.
Currently, the couple and their children reside at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the prime minister and their family.
She is his biggest supporter
Since stepping into his role as prime minister, Sunak has praised his wife for her constant support of his political career. Speaking to Piers Morgan about their relationship, Sunak shared that he “wouldn't have been able to do this job without her love and support.”
He added: “There are lots of different aspects to [love]. The bit I'm probably most focused on at the moment and the bit that means most to me at the moment is the support that she gives me doing this job.”
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