Actress Mika Mifune, 32, and Joji Takahashi, 56, guitarist and vocalist of rock band THE TRA-BRYU, have announced they will divorce after 16 years.
The couple had long been known for their happy marriage despite the age gap.
Takahashi first met Mifune when she was 13 years old and married her on her 16th birthday, the legal age for marriage, attracting massive media attention.
Reflecting on her marriage in 2011, Mifune -- the daughter of the late movie star Toshiro Mifune -- said: “Being with an older man, you don’t get treated like a child even at the age of 16, so I had to try my best to grow up. When we were dating, we always went out together with my mother. But the first time just the two of us had a date, Joji turned to me at Shibuya crossing and just out of nowhere said, ‘Hey, why don’t we get married?’
“When we married, people were saying ‘You’re too young, it’s not going to work. It’s just going to end in divorce.’ So I thought I needed to grow up quickly, to become an adult. Of course, there was a big gap between my ideal of an adult woman and myself at that age.”
The couple became known as a happy couple and in 2011, were named as “Partners of the Year,” an award given to ideal married couples by online dating service O-Net. Theyt often appeared on TV shows together.
However, in recent years, things started to go sour. Sports Nippon, quoting Mifune's friends, said that Takahashi had ordered a “curfew” for his wife whenever he was at home. Even if Mifune was out at business-related events, she had to be home by a certain time. On the other hand, Takahashi would hang out with his friends until the next morning, leaving his wife at home.
In a statement to media, Mifune said she appreciates the time she and Takahashi spent together and said that now "I would like to walk my own way independently”.
The couple have a 10-year-old daughter.
Sports Nippon reported that Mifune and her daughter moved out of their Tokyo apartment in December 2013 and have been staying with her mother in Osaka© Japan Today