Popular actor Ken Watanabe, 57, has publicly admitted that he had been in an extramarital affair as rumored since earlier this year.
The actor, wearing a gray suit and a black tie, appeared in front of journalists at a press conference in Tokyo on July 15, approximately four months after the news of the affair first broke in tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun in March.
“Most of what is written in the (Shukan Bunshun) article is true,” Watanabe told reporters, after apologizing for taking so long to talk about the matter. “I am deeply sorry for making my fans, supporters and work-related staff worried over my frivolous actions. Above all, I am deeply sorry for having hurt my wife.”
The March article, which reported on Watanabe seeing an unnamed 36-year-old Japanese woman in New York, caused a major stir in the Japanese media and a crack in Watanabe’s presumably “ideal” marriage with actress Kaho Minami, 53.
Watanabe and Minami have been married since 2005, and have been looked upon as one of the most stable couples in the Japanese show business world, having undergone major health issues together, including Watanabe’s battle with leukemia in 2016.
The March article, however, showed Watanabe — known for his roles in The Last Samurai, Inception and the Broadway musical The King and I — holding hands with the woman in Central Park in New York. The photo was reportedly taken in mid-February. Other photos showed the two taking a selfie and having dinner at a restaurant.
The magazine also reported that the two had been together for over three years, though Watanabe said that “it wasn’t continuing for the entire time,” suggesting that they were seeing each other on and off during this time. Watanabe’s affair was supposedly taking place in the same time when his wife, Minami, was fighting an early stage of breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in February 2016.
Watanabe and the woman reportedly met in Osaka while he was filming. According to the Shukan Bunshun article, she is a jewelry designer, who used to work as a hostess in Ginza.
The two are no longer together, Watanabe told reporters. However, when asked if he had real feelings for her, he did not deny it, but rather brushed the question off by saying, “I don’t think I could've been with somebody if I disliked them.”
Watanabe and Minami currently live separately. The actor told reporters he hopes to make it up to her. Asked if he was considering a divorce, he answered vaguely, saying “I’m not in a position now to talk about this.” He gave the the exact same comment when he was asked if he still loved his wife.© Japan Today