Race ace Jenson Button today confirmed he and wife Jessica Michibata have split up – as it was claimed they have been “living separate lives for months”.
The ex-Formula One world champion and the Japanese model are now heading for divorce almost exactly a year after their beach-front wedding in Hawaii.
A source close to the British driver said the split happened some time ago and the pair decided to make it permanent after spending barely any time together in the last four months.
“At the moment it is all amicable,” said the insider after the Mirror revealed the break-up.
“But the truth is that for months and months they have been living separate lives.
“Things went downhill about six months into the marriage and they last spent any meaningful time together at the United States Grand Prix in October.
“Jenson is sad about it but is resigned to the fact the marriage is over and there’s no way back.”
A spokesman for the driver confirmed: “Jenson and Jessica have decided to go their separate ways. It is very amicable and there is no one else involved.”
The couple were last pictured together nearly two months ago in a snap, posted online, of them celebrating Jessica’s 31st birthday in Los Angeles.
Jenson, 35, now faces having to reach a divorce settlement with Jessica, who remained based in Tokyo even after they wed.
He admitted in September to rarely seeing her because of “work commitments” during the intense nine-month racing season.
The 2009 world champ, worth £35million, returns with McLaren for the Formula One season in March.
His 2015 deal was worth a reported £6.5million, with a “double your money” clause in it for a second year.
He has now secured this, meaning he will earn up to £13million during 2016.
The pair met in 2008, parted for a while in 2010 and then reunited. They married on the island of Maui on December 29 last year.
In August they were the victims of a burglary at a St Tropez holiday villa as they slept.
Valuables worth about £300,000 were stolen in the night raid – including Jessica’s engagement ring, which was later replaced.
Today his mother Simone Lyons refused to comment at the family home near Swindon.