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Villaraigosa's wife files for divorce on grounds of `irreconcilable differences'

June 13, 2007|Duke Helfand | Times Staff Writer

The wife of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa filed for divorce Tuesday afternoon, marking the second time she has sought to dissolve their marriage.

The move by Corina Villaraigosa, 49, came a day after the mayor publicly accepted responsibility for their separation, saying he felt "a personal sense of failure" about the end of their 20-year marriage.

During a news conference Monday, Villaraigosa, 54, refused to answer questions about whether the split was caused by another romantic relationship.

In her petition, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Corina Villaraigosa cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the break, according to sources who had seen the document. The couple will need to reach agreement on child support, custody and visitation terms.

The mayor's wife, a longtime educator in the Montebello Unified School District, could not be reached Tuesday. But the mayor's office said the divorce would be amicable.

"Mrs. Villaraigosa believes that now is the right moment to file and the mayor supports her in that decision," said Deputy Mayor Sean Clegg. "He believes it's time to start focusing on the future and their shared responsibilities as parents."

This week, Villaraigosa is expected to move temporarily from Getty House, the mayor's official residence in Windsor Square, to the couple's home in Mount Washington.

Corina Villaraigosa and the couple's two children -- 14-year-old Natalia Fe and 18-year-old Antonio Jr. -- will remain at Getty House during a transitional period. Antonio Jr. is headed to Princeton University in the fall and Natalia Fe will be attending school on the Westside.

The mayor's wife filed for divorce in 1994 after it was revealed that her husband had had an affair. The couple reconciled after an extended separation.

Rumors have circulated through City Hall for months about the couple's impending separation, and few people interviewed in recent days were surprised by the split.

Clegg said the mayor had not been served Tuesday with divorce papers. Once he receives them, however, he will have to file a written response with the court.

duke.helfand@latimes.com

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