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Michael Aris and Aung San Suu Kyi Marriage Profile

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Aung San Suu Kyi

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to the media during a press conference ahead of parliamentary elections on March 30, 2012 in Yangon, Myanmar.

Photo: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images
Believing their love for one another would help them triumph over the Myanmar authorities, the marriage of Aung San Suu Kyi and Michael Aris was severely tested by her house arrests. The last time that Suu and Michael saw one another was in 1995 when he visited her in Burma at Christmas.

Here is information about their wedding, children, and marriage.

Fast Marriage Facts - Michael and Suu Kyi:

Wedding Date: January 1, 1972.
First Marriage: Yes.
Marriage Ended: March 27, 1999 when Michael died.

Did You Know?

In June 2012, on her first visit to the United Kingdom since 1988, Suu Kyi was finally able to visit Michael's grave.

Born:

Suu Kyi: June 19, 1945 in Rangoon Burma, now known as Yangon, Myanmar.

Michael Vaillancourt Aris: March 27, 1946 in Havana, Cuba.

Died:

Michael Aris: On his 53rd birthday, Michael died of prostate cancer on March 27, 1999 in Oxford, England.

When Myanmar authorities refused to allow Michael to visit Suu Kyi, "she refused to leave to visit him for fear that she would not be allowed to return to her country."
Source: Seth Mydans, Liz Robbins. "Burmese Dissident Is Freed After Long Detention." NYTimes.com. 11/13/2010 .

How Michael and Suu Kyi Met:

Suu Kyi and Michael met when she was a student at Oxford. Their courtship was primarily by mail between Bhutan and England.
Barbara Victor: "What happened next in Suu's life could be attributed only to that moment in any woman's life when she realizes that she is in love. As she found herself missing Michael more and more, she realized that a career at the United Nations, however prestigious, would never be as satisfying as becoming his wife and the mother of his children ... In 1971, Daw Suu Kyi left for Burma on home leave. Stopping in India to visit friends, she continued on to Bhutan to see Michael. It was during that visit that the couple decided to marry."
Source: Barbara Victor. The Lady: Aung San Suu Kyi: Nobel Laureate and Burma's Prisoner. 2002. pg. 51.

Wedding Information:

Suu and Michael were married on January 1, 1972 in a Buddhist ceremony in London, England at the home of Lord and Lady Gore-Booth.
"She agreed to wed Dr. Aris on the provision that he would understand that she must return to Burma, if her people needed her."
Source: "Suu Kyi's Husband Dies." BBC.co.uk. 3/27/1999.

Children:

Michael and Suu Kyi have two sons. Both of their sons live in the United Kingdom.
  • Alexander Aris: Born in 1973 in London, England.
  • Kim Aris: Born in 1977 in Oxford, England.

Occupations:

Suu: Member and Leader of the Opposition of the Pyithu Hluttaw for Kawhmu since May 2012. Chairperson and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy since 1988. Pro-democracy leader, author, released from house arrest in November 2010. Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991. According to burmacampaign.org, she set up a "health and education trust in support of the Burmese people to use the $1.3 million prize money."
It took 20 years, but Aung San Suu Kyi delivered her Nobel lecture on June 16, 2012 in Oslo, Norway.

Michael: Senior research fellow in Tibetan and Himalayan studies at St Antony's College at Oxford University, author, lecturer.

Residence:

Suu's home is in Myanmar, formerly Burma. Her once impressive lakeside villa became a weed-filled, dilapidated compound while she was under house arrest. At one time, her roof blew off in a storm and she lost electricity at the same time.

Quotes About the Marriage of Suu Kyi and Michael Aris:

Suu in a letter she wrote to Michael before their marriage: "Sometimes I am beset by fears that circumstances and national considerations might tear us apart just when we are so happy in each other that separation would be a torment. And yet such fears are so futile and inconsequential: if we love and cherish each other as much as we can while we can, I am sure love and compassion will triumph in the end."
Source: Aung San Suu Kyi. Freedom From Fear and Other Writings: Revised Edition. 1996. pg. xix.

Michael: "The days I spent alone with her [Suu] that last time, completely isolated from the world, are among my happiest memories of our many years of marriage. It was wonderfully peaceful ... I produced Christmas presents I had brought one by one to spread them out over several days. We had all the time in the world to talk about many things. I did not suspect this would be the last time we would be together for the forseeable future."
Source: Aung San Suu Kyi. Freedom From Fear and Other Writings: Revised Edition. 1996. pgs. xxv-xxvi.

Michael: "It was a quiet evening in Oxford, like many others, the last day of March 1988. Our sons were in bed and we were reading when the telephone rang. Suu picked up the phone to learn that her mother had suffered a severe stroke. She put the phone down at once and started to pack. I had a premonition that our lives would change for ever."
Source: Aung San Suu Kyi. Freedom From Fear and Other Writings: Revised Edition. 1996. pg. xvii.

According to close friends, Mr. Aris was unflinchingly supportive of his wife's decision and never once complained that she should abandon the mission and come home.
Source: Warren Hoge. "Michael V. Aris, 53, Dies; Scholarly Husband of Laureate." NYTimes.com. 3/30/1999.

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