The Anjali Chakra x Sufi Malik Breakup and Cheating Confession, Explained

Queer South Asian couple Anjali Chakra and Sufi Malik, who went viral several years ago for their gorgeous photos together, have set sapphic group chats ablaze this weekend by announcing not only a called off wedding but also a cheating scandal. Even friends I have who were previously unaware of Anjali Chakra and Sufi Malik have suddenly become aware of their breakup.

Who Are Anjali Chakra and Sufi Malik?

Anjali Chakra (@anjalichakra) and Sufi Malik (@sufi.sun) are two queer California-based influencers. Malik has worked as an artist and teacher, and Chakra has worked as an event planner. They met in the place where many great lesbian relationships of our time began: tumblr. It took seven years before they began officially dating. Anjali slid into Sufi’s DMs according to a Business Insider profile of the pair: “I DM’d Sufi one day asking if we could talk about her experience as a queer South Asian woman, and she agreed,” Anjali said in the profile. They met in person in New York and started dating in 2018.

In 2019, Anjali and Sufi were in an ad campaign for Borrow the Bazaar, a company that rents out South Asian outfits for special events. (Fun Fact: I browsed Borrow the Bazaar while planning my own wedding.) Sufi and Anjali had two weddings to attend in the same weekend (I imagine being in a double desi relationship often leads to this predicament!) and agreed to do the shoot in exchange for free rentals.

When the shoot’s photographer Sarowar Ahmed tweeted out the photos, they promptly went viral. Sufi is Muslim and Pakistani, and Anjali is Hindu and Indian, and the underrepresentation of queer South Asian couples in media and art led to an outpouring of enthusiasm and joy for the couple’s love.

The couple went viral again a week later when Sufi posted anniversary photos of both women posing romantically in lehengas on Instagram.

In 2022, the couple got engaged, with Anjali posting it was the easiest yes of her life. Presumably, up until recently, wedding planning was going smoothly. On January 1 for New Year’s, they posted they were in their bridal era. Both have been posting updates about the wedding planning process, which as a recent queer South Asian bride brought me genuine joy!

As of this weekend, the wedding has recently been called off. Which brings us to…

Why Did Anjali Chakra and Sufi Malik Break Up?

Yesterday, Sufi dropped a shocking Instagram text post on her grid. It reads:

Hey everyone, there has been a major turn of events in my relationship with Anjali. I made an unrecognizable mistake of betrayal by cheating on her a few weeks before our wedding. I’ve hurt her tremendousbly, beyond my own understanding. I’m owning up to my mistake and will continue to do so. I understand the gravity of the situation and can only ask relentlessly for forgiveness, from Anjali and Allah.

I’ve hurt the people I love and care about the most through my actions, including our family and friends; our community that I cherish. Thank you so much to everyone who supported us all these years, we owe everything to you all. We ask you all for privacy and respect at this time.

With humility,
Sufi

The post was coupled with a second text statement on Anjali’s feed, which reads:

Sufi & I have been blessed to spend the last 5+ years together in a loving and beautiful partnership that we have been so honored to share with all of you.

Since the beginning, your outpouring of love and support has played such a special part in our journey and we will continue to carry that love with us moving forward.

This may come as a shock, but our journey is now shifting. We have decided to call off our wedding and end our relationship due to infidelity committed by Sufi.

As we close this chapter, I wish for absolutely no negativity to be shown towards Sufi, and that you respect this difficult decision. What we have shared has been so full of love and nothing short of magical — I will choose to remember it this way.

All my love,
Anjali

How Are People Reacting to Anjali and Sufi’s Breakup?

Let me tell ya: IN NOT VERY NICE WAYS. Listen, I am the last person to pen a defense of cheating, and that’s not what I’m going to do here. But the backlash against Sufi — especially given that Anjali herself has called for no negativity to be shown towards Sufi — has been outsized and mean. There’s no way for us to know the details of people’s relationships, and the way people love to gobble up the scandal of infidelity when it comes to public figures and celebrities often lacks nuance and empathy. I say this as someone who devoured Scandoval discourse!

It’s complicated, because by posting about the cheating in the first place, Anjali and Sufi are definitely opening the floodgates for people to judge and react to the infidelity and the breakup. Calling off a wedding is an intensely personal decision, but there’s also of course a ton of pressure on the couple to be transparent and honest with their followers who have been inspired by their relationship. But it’s possible to be inspired by a couple’s love without fully projecting onto them and hinging your own feelings and desires onto them. The breakup and the cheating doesn’t change the fact that I felt moved by Anjali’s posts about shopping for her wedding lehenga.

These are real people who were in a real relationship, and even though they often created content based around their relationship, that still doesn’t give people unfettered access to scrutinize or demonize. Cheating is a betrayal, but it is not a betrayal of anyone outside of the people it directly impacts.

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 814 articles for us.

8 Comments

  1. This is the flipside of choosing to live your life online. You can only exert limited control over how followers react when things go wrong.. The whole nature of parasocial relationships is that people have invested so much they feel betrayed when the public figure does wrong act accordingly. A backlash is inevitable and it seems naive to expect anything different.

  2. I spend way too much time on TikTok watching lesbian content and they never popped up on my fyp, that’s weird. I just hope she cheated with a woman, we don’t want this to have an even bigger effect on south asian queer women.

  3. muslimah cheat because family doesn’t recognize and she in ways no believe her courtship is real. internally hating oneself and cheat because not real is sadly common in our culture. lesbians in love sometime it can be so hard and even some acceptance from family we still have feeling that we are just friends but more and a little wrong. it’s not wrong we are ok but yes cheat often and it’s not ok

    • Normally I would agree completely, but it seems like her ex put the information out there first. She could have left any mention of it out of her own statement, but then her comments would have blown up with questions and comments about her ex’s infidelity anyway. I can see where she thought it was better to just address it upfront.

      I’m not quite sure why the ex felt the need to put that information out there, but maybe she felt too guilty to put her ex through a lot of public speculation about whose fault the breakup was and why.

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