Jane Hawking

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Jane Hawking
Jane Beryl Wilde

(1944-03-29) 29 March 1944 (age 79)
Alma materWestfield College, London
Occupation(s)Author, teacher
  • (m. 1965; div. 1995)
  • Jonathan Jones
    (m. 1997)
Children3, including Lucy Hawking

Jane Beryl Wilde Hawking Jones (born 29 March 1944) is an English author and teacher. She was married to Stephen Hawking for 30 years.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Jane was born to George and Beryl Wilde (née Eagleton). She grew up in St Albans, Hertfordshire. She was raised in the Church of England and is an active Christian.[2][1]

She studied languages at the University of London's Westfield College.[3] Jane and Stephen Hawking met through mutual college friends at a party in 1962. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS) in 1963. Though aware of his consequent shortened life expectancy and limitations, the couple became engaged in 1964 and married in 1965 in their shared hometown of St Albans.[4] They had three children: Robert, born in 1967, Lucy, born in 1970, and Timothy, born in 1979.[5]

After years of working on her doctoral thesis through Westfield College, Hawking received her PhD in medieval Spanish poetry in April 1981.[6] She felt compelled to obtain a PhD to have her own academic identity within the University of Cambridge.[1][7]

Jane and Stephen Hawking separated in 1990, and divorced five years later. In 1997, she married musician Jonathan Hellyer Jones.[8] However, she continued to support Hawking through his health problems as he continued to work.[1] In the postlude to her 2007 memoir Travelling to Infinity, she writes about Hawking after his second divorce (from nurse Elaine Mason): "We are able to associate freely again and enjoy many a family occasion together. It has been quite like old times..."[citation needed]

During her marriage to Hawking, while dealing with the progression of his illness, Jane experienced depression. In a 2004 interview, she cited her Christian faith as giving her hope during her marriage and the depression she experienced as a result of being his then-caregiver. In that interview, she noted the irony in her faith-based strength to support him in light of Hawking's well-known atheism.[1]

Later life[edit]

In 1999, she wrote an autobiography about her first marriage, Music to Move the Stars: A Life with Stephen, which was used as a basis for the 2004 television film Hawking about his early years as a PhD student at Cambridge University and the beginnings of their relationship and marriage.[1] She and Stephen Hawking established a working relationship following his separation and divorce from his second wife.[citation needed]

In 2009, an updated version of the autobiography was republished under the title Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen and was subsequently made into the award-winning film The Theory of Everything.[3][9] Following the release of the film, Hawking discussed her life on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour in January 2015.[10]

Portrayal in media[edit]

Hawking was portrayed on television by Lisa Dillon in the 2004 television film Hawking, and on film by Felicity Jones in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, for which Jones was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.[11]


  • At Home In France: Guide to Buying and Renovating Property In France Allegro Publications 1994 ISBN 0952308002
  • Music to Move the Stars: A Life with Stephen Macmillan Publishers, London 1999 ISBN 0-333-74686-4
  • Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen Alma Books 2007 ISBN 1-84688-065-3
  • Silent Music Alma Books 2016 ISBN 9781846884122
  • Cry to Dream Again Alma Books 2018 ISBN 9781846884375


  1. ^ a b c d e f Adams, Tim (4 April 2004). "Jane Hawking: Brief history of a first wife". The Observer. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  2. ^ Gornall, Jon. Dr Jane Hawking: Her own theory on it all. The National (UAE), March 8, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Anderson, L.V. (7 November 2014). "How Accurate Is The Theory of Everything?". Slate. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  4. ^ Ferguson, Kitty (3 January 2012). Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-230-34060-2.
  5. ^ Ferguson, Kitty (5 July 2012). Stephen Hawking: His Life and Work (paperback ed.). Bantam. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-8575-0074-8.
  6. ^ "simplyknowledge – Biographies- Stephen Hawking".
  7. ^ Hawking, Jane (1 January 2015). "The Theory of Everything: the true story of Stephen Hawking and Jane Hawking's marriage".
  8. ^ Ferguson, Kitty (2011). Stephen Hawking: His Life and Work. Transworld. ISBN 978-1-4481-1047-6.
  9. ^ "Fact-Checking the Film: 'The Theory of Everything'". Entertainment Weekly. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  10. ^ Presenter: Sheila McClennon; Producer: Susannah Tresilian; Interviewed Guest: Jane Hawking (2 January 2015). "Jane Hawking; Surrogacy; Same Clothes Every Day; Safe Houses for Over-45s". Woman's Hour. 03:30 minutes in. BBC. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  11. ^ "I never expected my name to be associated with these kinds of awards". Independent.co.uk. 15 January 2015.

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