One evening in late May, Noriko Sakai was entering the luxury condominium that is her home with an armful of shopping bags, followed by her son. But her husband was nowhere to be seen.
Over 20 successful years as a singer and actress, Sakai, popularly known as Nori-P, has evolved from a young pop idol to a “mama-doru” (an idol who is also a mother), appearing on the cover of parenting magazines and performing in a PR film on the new jury system as a housewife.
In 1998, Sakai married a professional surfer, the son of the owner of a prominent sporting goods chain store. She learned to surf herself and used to invite her friends, SMAP member Takuya Kimura and singer Shizuka Kudo, who later married.
Besides her work in the entertainment industry, the singer/actress founded her own fashion brand and the public image of Sakai as a good mother and wife is well established.
But a friend says, “They are the kind of couple that often quarrel but in a way that usually doesn’t affect their marriage. Recently she came to consult about another fight they had… but something was different this time. It seems her husband is having an affair and she kicked him out of their home.”
The husband is currently staying at their vacation house in Chiba. According to his acquaintance, the husband initially said he was there to concentrate on surfing, but appeared depressed and admitted that his wife asked for a divorce.
On another Sunday afternoon, Nori-P left her home with her son, driving her Porsche. The husband was absent. Around 7 p.m., she came out again with her son and another boy who appeared to be a friend. Sakai returned an hour later with supermarket bags. The husband was not seen throughout the day.
So what’s really going on with the 11-year marriage?
A long-time friend of the couple disclosed that the two had a huge row during their trip to Okinawa during Golden Week. The husband admitted that it was his fault, but also complained that he was stressed about being acknowledged only as “Nori-P’s husband.”
Sakai’s pet name for her husband is “An-chan,” which comes from the main character in the TV drama that marked the change in her career from a pop idol to an actress. Even his nickname is related to Sakai’s work in the entertainment industry… perhaps having a famous idol as wife comes with its own problems.
As far as Shukan Post is aware, the couple is living separately. But the representative of Sakai’s management company denied any knowledge about estrangement or divorce between the couple. “I just spoke to her on the phone and she laughed and said her husband was sitting next to her.”
“It’s true that the two tend to get very emotional when they quarrel, and Sakai’s husband is often away to surf in Chiba. But there’s nothing new to that. And people get weary of married life. It happens to anyone.”
But the husband still hasn’t been seen at their home.© Japan Today