Turkish soap star sparks divorces in Arab world

Women swoon over romantic lead actor


The hit Turkish soap "Noor" which is being aired on MBC has sparked a rash of divorces in countries across the Middle East as women compare their real-life husbands to the TV heart throb, according to press reports.

The trouble centers around the lead male character called Muhannad – played by Turkish actor Kivanç Tatlitug – whose good looks and charms have left many Arab women weak at the knees.

Fed up with his wife's obsession with Muhannad and constant complaints that he should be as romantic as the TV hunk, a Saudi husband from Dammam divorced his wife and threw her out of the marital home, Saudi newspaper Al-Yawm reported.

A Jordanian daily said a husband divorced his wife after she uploaded Muhannad’s picture on her cell phone.

And a Syrian website reported that there were four divorces in Aleppo because of the steamy soap.

In one case, a husband divorced his wife after they had a heated argument about the actor while watching the series, which MBC has dubbed into Arabic to suit Middle Eastern audiences.

According to a neighbor, the wife reportedly told her husband: “I want to sleep with Muhannad for only one night and die afterwards.”

In another case, a husband divorced his wife after she hung a picture of Muhannad – the character Mehmet in the original Turkish version – on their bedroom wall.

Noor, which airs on MBC, the parent company of Al Arabiya, is about a woman who is married to Muhannad after he loses his true love in a tragic accident.

Muhannad is then forced to marry Noor by his family. The series traces the hardships Noor must go through to win her husband’s heart and to prove herself on a professional level.

Noor, called Gümüs in the original series, is played by Turkish actress Songül Öden.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).