Actress Anne Watanabe divorces actor husband Masahiro Higashide over his extramarital affair

Actress Anne Watanabe and actor husband Masahiro Higashide were married for five years.
Actress Anne Watanabe and actor husband Masahiro Higashide were married for five years.PHOTOS: WEIBO, ORICON/YOUTUBE

TOKYO - Actress Anne Watanabe, the daughter of Hollywood star Ken Watanabe, has divorced her actor husband Masahiro Higashide after he was found to be having an affair.

One of the most famous celebrity couples in Japan, Watanabe, 34, and Higashide, 32, had been married for five years and have three children. They announced their split on Saturday (Aug 1) and promised to work together to take care of the children.

Watanabe, who is also a model and goes by the sole name of Anne, separated from Higashide early this year after he was found to be having an affair with actress Erika Karata.

News of the affair broke in January and both Higashide and Karata, 22, made separate apologies for it.

The news was highly controversial as the two had reportedly began the affair in 2017 during filming for the movie Asako I & II (2018).

Karata, best known for her role in South Korean drama Arthdal Chronicles (2019), was only 19 then and Anne was pregnant at the time with the couple's son, who was born in November 2017. The couple have a pair of twin daughters born in 2016.

The scandal was a major blow to Higashide and Karata's careers - with the actor losing his endorsement deals and Karata getting dropped from her acting roles.

Higashide declined to clarify if he wanted a divorce from Wanatabe, but when reporters asked him if he liked Karata or his wife more, he said he could not answer as it would "hurt his wife". Clips of his response were widely shared online, causing swelling public anger towards him.

Higashi made his acting debut in The Kirishima Thing (2012), a high school drama which won Picture Of The Year at the 36th Japan Academy Film Prize and went on to star in movies such as Death Note: Light Up The New World (2016).

He and Watanabe became romantically involved after playing a couple in drama series Gochisosan (2013-2014). They married in 2015.