Sunanda Pushkar was an entrepreneur, based for a time in Dubai, UAE. The daughter of an Army Colonel, she was from Sopore in Kashmir. She graduated from a college in Srinagar and worked for some time as a receptionist at the Centaur Hotel in the city.
Sunanda met her first husband, Sanjay Raina, a Kashmiri Pandit, while still at college. The marriage ended in divorce and some years later, she married Sujith Menon, who was from Kerala.
Sunanda and Sujith shifted to Dubai in the early 1990s. During this time Sunanda worked with an ad agency and went on to start her own event management firm.
Sujith died in a road accident in 1997. Sunanda stayed on in Dubai, bringing up her young son Shiv as a single parent and began working with a real estate firm.
Sunanda met Indian politician Shashi Tharoor in 2009 and in 2010, the couple got married, with celebrations in Kerala and Dubai.
A few months before their wedding, Shashi Tharoor was forced to resign from his first ministerial post after allegations that Sunanda had been given a free stake worth Rs50 crore in a new Kerala team for the Indian Premier League. It was alleged that this was a payment to Tharoor for allegedly arranging the sale of the team in his home state to a consortium. Both Sunanda and Shashi denied these claims
On 16 January 2014, in a series of tweets, Sunanda Pushkar accused Pakistani reporter Mehr Tarar of "stalking" her husband. But the couple later issued a statement which said they are "happily married" and "intend to stay that way."
On the same day, Sunanda checked into the Leela Palaces hotel in Delhi. On 17 January evening, Shashi Tharoor returned from an all-day Congress meet to find Sunanda Pushkar dead on the bed of their hotel suite.