Agent of Taiwan table tennis player urges privacy amid divorce report

04/23/2021 07:02 PM
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Chiang Hung-chieh (left) and Ai Fukuhara show their wedding rings wedding to the pres in September 2016. CNA file photo
Chiang Hung-chieh (left) and Ai Fukuhara show their wedding rings wedding to the pres in September 2016. CNA file photo

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) The agent of Taiwanese table tennis player Chiang Hung-chieh (江宏傑) on Friday appealed to the public to respect the privacy of Chiang and his wife, Japanese table tennis star Ai Fukuhara, following a news report that he was seeking a divorce from her.

"We ask the public to give them some space, so they can resolve their matters in peace," Chiang's management company, HIM International Music, said on Friday, after Taiwan's Apple Daily newspaper reported that Chiang had recently filed for divorce.

In the report Friday, the paper cited anonymous sources as saying that Chiang, 32, had filed for divorce at Kaohsiung District Court, seeking to end his four-year marriage to Fukuhara, and that they would soon begin talks over the custody of their three-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.

The paper also said Chiang's management company had confirmed that he had "hired a lawyer."

HIM International Music declined to comment on the Apple Daily report.

Later that day, Fukuhara issued a statement thanking Chiang for providing a platform for consultation, according to Japanese media reports.

"We want to do what's best for the children," she said.

News that the celebrity couple's marriage was on the rocks first broke in early March, when Japanese media reported that the 32-year-old Fukuhara had asked for a divorce because of Chiang's alleged verbal abuse.

Fukuhara, who has been in Japan since January, did not deny that she had asked for a divorce, but said a final decision would not be made until she had discussed the matter with Chiang.

Around that time, Fukuhara was photographed with an unnamed male in car and at a hotel in Japan's Yokohama City, sparking rumors that she was having an affair.

Fukuhara later told the media that the man was "a friend" who was keeping her company to help lift her mood, and she denied that they had stayed in the same room at the hotel.

On March 20, Fukuhara's mother, who had been living at Chiang's home with her grandchildren in Taiwan, flew back to Japan, a move that Fukuhara said was because of her mother's "advanced age and need for care."

A two-time Olympic medal winner, Fukuhara married Chiang in 2016, and she retired from competitive table tennis in 2018.

Prior to her retirement, she was Japan's top female table tennis player and at one point was ranked No. 4 worldwide.

She is also famous in China and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, as she was playing table tennis in China from a young age.

Chiang, from Hsinchu, is a member of Taiwan's national table tennis team, and his highest world ranking was No. 47.

In recent years, he has spent much of his time in show business and currently hosts a TV show, although he has not officially announced his retirement from competitive sport.

(By Wang Hsin-yu, Joseph Yeh and Matthew Mazzetta)

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