Hiba Abouk’s separation from Achraf Hakimi took an unexpected twist when she learned that his assets are in his mother’s name. Abouk’s divorce filing reportedly contained a request for over half of Hakimi’s assets, amounting to about $6.5 million. According to a statement by Abouk, she and Hakimi separated long before Hakimi was accused of rape. 

Abouk’s Muslim parents were strict and conservative but didn’t pressure her to wear a hijab

Hiba Abouk, the youngest of four siblings, was born in Madrid, Spain, on 30th October 1986. Her Libyan father had a Gypsy great-grandfather; her mother hailed from Tunisia, where the family lived before settling in Madrid. 

Abouk grew up in a strict home run by conservative Muslim parents. She told El Comercio that certain topics, including young romance, were taboo in her family. “Even to this day, I never talk about my private life,” Abouk stated. “My family instilled it in me.”

Abouk’s parents barred her from living like the typical teenager. “I didn’t have the same customs as my school friends,” she stated. “They wouldn’t let me stay the night at a friend’s house. They were very strict.”

She opined that the strictness stemmed from a conservative view of how a young Muslim woman should live. “She [her mom] works, but she is of zero tradition in independence,” Abouk told La Vanguardia. “She believes that women should be passive, that we were not given privileges for our own good, that the husband was more important than the career.”

Curiously, however, Abouk’s parents didn’t pressure her to wear a hijab, a ubiquitous part of Muslim women’s clothing. Abouk said that her mother never wore a veil. “I never had to make the decision to go or not to go covered, I never considered it,” she stated. “Being a Muslim does not have to say that you wear a veil.”

Abouk told La Vanguardia that she doesn’t oppose the hijab and that people should be free to wear what they want. “I know veiled women who are feminists,” Abouk said. “The use of the hijab is criticized and I think it is an excuse to criticize Islam. I am totally against Islamophobia.”

Abouk’s parents didn’t believe she would succeed as an actress

Abouk said that she followed her mother’s advice to study hard. “Of the four siblings, I was the only one who followed my mother’s advice, the one who studied the most,” Abouk said. However, she opted for a career away from academia: acting. 

The choice placed her at odds with her mother, who wanted Abouk to study medicine, and her father, who opined that Abouk couldn’t succeed as an actress. Therefore, Abouk left home in her late teens – and ended up proving her parents wrong. Abouk explained:

“No one supported me. So at 18, I left home. I have a lot of character. At first, you can imagine the little daughter who leaves home because she wants to be an actress. I was the worst in the world. But now I have convinced them.”

Despite possessing acting talent, Abouk nearly failed – casting directors rejected Abouk due to her Arab ethnicity. Abouk had faced discrimination all her life due to her ethnicity, so she wasn’t surprised that the casting directors snubbed Arab actors. 

“When I left home, in the first calls I made looking for work, everyone lost interest when I said my name,” Abouk said. “Sometimes I faked it, but it was difficult for me to lie.”

Despite speaking fluent Spanish without an accent, Abouk faced rejection supposedly because she spoke with an accent. Abouk shortened her name in an attempt to hide her origins. She explained:

“They [her agents] suggested I change my name, but I didn’t want to reject my origins. Of course, we shortened it: my full last name is Aboukhris.”