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Football star Cha Du-ri, 32, has filed for divorce from Shin Hye-seong, 33, the daughter of a local hotel and real-estate mogul, records from the Seoul Family Court confirm.
The couple met and married in 2008 and has two children. Neither is speaking publically about the impending split.
Cha is the son of Korean football great Cha Bum-kun, a striker who excelled for Bayer Leverkusen in Germany’s Bundesliga in the 1970s and ’80s.
While he has come woefully short of matching the accomplishments of his father, Cha still managed a respectable career, playing for several German clubs and Scottish giants Celtic FC over the past decade, before landing with FC Seoul this season.
Cha’s spirited play during the 2002 and 2010 World Cup tournaments cemented his status as one of the most popular sporting personalities in Korea, with his face frequently appearing in print advertisements and on television commercials.
Shin is the daughter of Shin Chul-ho, owner and CEO of the luxurious Imperial Palace Seoul Hotel and who also controls a resort in the Philippines.
Rumors about Cha’s turbulent marriage life were first reported by the German media, which continues to show strong interest in anything related to the Cha family.
Bilt, an influential German media outlet, reported last year that Cha, then playing for Fortuna Dusseldorf, abruptly took a trip to Korea just before the season opener because Shin insisted she didn’t want to live abroad anymore.
There were also rumors that Cha’s decision to sign with FC Seoul was influenced mostly by his disgruntled wife.