‘Ayu’ set to file for divorce over failure to keep promise

Staff Report

Pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki, or “Ayu” as she is fondly known, will file for a divorce from U.S.-based Austrian actor Manuel Schwarz because she could not keep a promise to move to the U.S. to live with him, she said on her fan club’s website Monday.

The couple were married Jan. 1, 2011, and originally planned to live in the U.S. together, but Hamasaki, 33, changed her mind after the March 11 disasters.

“I am the reason (for the divorce.) We decided to live in the U.S. upon our marriage, but the Great East Japan Earthquake struck two months after we married, and I began to have a strong feeling that I don’t want to leave Japan,” the Fukuoka Prefecture native said on the website.

“I could not think of living in the U.S., and thus I left him alone for many days,” she went on. “We discussed (our future) a lot. I thought physical distance can be overcome by visiting each other, but the physical distance has turned into mental distance.”

Hamasaki, one of Japan’s most popular female singers, in March donated ¥35 million to the Japanese Red Cross Society for disaster victims in the Tohoku region.

The singer and Schwarz, 31, met during shooting of the music video for Hamasaki’s “Virgin Road” in Los Angeles in August 2010.