EXCLUSIVE: Inside the Life of Middle East's Slain Pop Princess

But, according to her family, Suzan chafed as her husband became increasingly possessive. With her family's help she moved away from Maatouk. Tamim's family says the two were divorced, though Maatouk insists they remained married up to the time of Tamim's death. Al Bawaba, a regional news source, reported in 2003 that Tamim was granted a divorce by an Islamic scholar, but that Maatouk refused to recognize the religious ruling. A Tamim family lawyer says the question is being settled in court, the answer playing heavily into who controls Suzan Tamim's estate.

What is clear in the public eye was the bitter fighting between Maatouk and the Tamim family. The jilted husband filed more than a dozen lawsuits against Tamim, cases that made tabloid headlines.

In 2003, after Tamim traveled to the United States for a concert series, Maatouk reportedly sought a civil court order requiring Tamim return to Lebanon. He had sued Tamim for leaving home without her husband's consent, a violation of Lebanese civil law. In 2006 Maatouk accused Tamim of stealing $350,000 and had her arrested in Cairo by Interpol. She was cleared and released shortly after. Maatouk did not respond to ABC News calls for comment on the lawsuits or the Tamim case.

Tamim's troubled personal life broadly overshadowed her music. With Maatouk in control of her recording contract, her career came to a halt. Local newspapers reported that as Tamim traveled to Syria and Egypt Maatouk tried to bar her from performing, claiming breach of contract with his production house, Arab European Record Company. She moved to Cairo, where a powerful media executive introduced her to Hisham Talaat Mustafa, a billionaire politician and real estate mogul whose high-end properties include the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, her lawyer and parents said.

"Someone had given her Mustafa as a contact and told her if she ever needed anything in Egypt then to get in touch," Tamim's father said.

"She went to Maatouk to get rid of Mouzanner, then to Talaat Mustafa to get rid of Maatouk," he said.

Joe Raad, Tamim's friend and stylist, traveled to see her in Cairo. At that point Tamim described Mustafa as a patron, one who could help her finalize the break with Maatouk.

"She saw in him the person who could protect her and the person who could remove her from her problems. I think that's why she got involved with Talaat," said Raad.

Tamim saw a fresh start in Egypt. Her brother, a close confident, was studying nearby at the American University of Cairo. She started shooting music videos, but with a notable difference in her on-screen persona.

"Suzan changed when she became involved with Mustafa. Her clothes became more conservative in her video clips her style changed, the sleeves got longer," Raad said.

Raad said he noticed that Tamim started praying more often. Already religious -- her family says she twice made a pilgrimage to Mecca -- Tamim told her friend that she had taken up with an important person and that the relationship was "bil halal," meaning it wasn't sinful.

"When Talaat met Suzan she enamored him and he wanted to marry here and there are those who say that they [had a temporary marriage], some who say his family didn't allow it. She died and took her secrets with her," said Issa, based on her reporting on the Tamim case.

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