Actress Hirosue Ryoko (27) yesterday suddenly announced on her website that she and model/designer Okazawa Takahiro (32) are divorced. Following a recent pattern set by such celebs as actress Takeuchi Yuko and talento Chiaki, Hirosue will support herself as a single mother. She has custody of their 3-year-old son and Okazawa will not pay any alimony. Hirosue certainly shouldn’t have any financial worries – she’s appearing in two movies due for release this year, “Okuribito” and “Goemon”; she stars in the Fuji TV drama series “Yume no Mitsukekata wo Oshietaru” and has another role lined up for later in the year; and she currently has four commercial contracts, including Coca Cola and cosmetic maker Shiseido.
Hirosue’s success of the last couple of years mirrors her huge popularity as one of Japan’s top young stars in the late 1990s, though motherhood took her out of the scene for a year and a half in between. She got her start in 1994 by winning a contest sponsored by skin care brand Clearasil. She found success quickly, appearing in dozens of dramas and movies and debuting as a pop singer in 1997. She surprised everyone when she entered Waseda University in 1999 but ended up leaving without graduating after four years. At the end of 2003, she surprised everyone again when she announced that she was five months pregnant and engaged to Okazawa. But rumors of a split appeared in 2006 and they were living apart by the end of that year. One main reason for the divorce is said to be that they both have successful careers. Okazawa is an established fashion model and has been the poster boy for Nike. His own fashion brand CLS is one of the top names in the hip “Ura-Harajuku” area of Tokyo popular among young people. In January he opened a shop in Taipei which he designed himself.