In what officially ends one of music's most unpredictable couplings, Eminem has filed for divorce from his wife of 14 months, Kimberly Mathers. The rapper's record label confirms that the fork-tongued, 27-year-old otherwise known as Marshall Mathers III filed the papers Wednesday morning in Macomb County, Michigan, Circuit Court and acknowledged that the couple's well-publicized problems made a split "unavoidable."
Eminem also is asking for joint custody of their 4-year-old daughter, Hailie Jade.
"The two have had an on-again, off-again relationship that's been extensively detailed in the press," says Interscope Records spokesman Dennis Dennehy. "In early June the couple separated and since then, Eminem has come to the decision that a divorce is unavoidable."
It's never been simple. Kim has long been the target (or, in some cases, the victim) of many an expletive-strewn lyric and tortured scream on the rapper's two multiplatinum albums, The Slim Shady LP and this year's The Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem (figuratively) killed her off on songs like "Kim" and " '97 Bonnie and Clyde" ("...don't worry, dadda made a nice bed for mommy at the bottom of the lake").
But despite the lyrical assaults, the pair have been together off and on since high school. And after patching up their differences, they tied the knot last summer.
The fact that they were having problems was no secret. In June, Eminem was arrested after he allegedly pistol-whipped a man caught kissing Kim outside a Warren, Michigan, bar. The rapper was charged with felony weapon and assault charges and faces up to five years in jail.
Following the incident, Kim, 25, lashed out publicly at the press and her husband, saying in a letter to the Detroit Free Press that "the fact that he just jumped to conclusions has gotten him and myself in trouble." A month later, she reportedly attempted suicide at the couple's Sterling Heights, Michigan, home.
Eminem is currently performing on Dr. Dre's all-star extravaganza, the Up In Smoke tour, which wraps up August 23 in San Bernardino, California.
Kimberly Mathers' attorney, Neil Rockind, told the Free Press that she knew Eminem prepared divorce papers, but she didn't know he was going to file them Wednesday.
"After talking with her, I think that she recognizes that this is an opportunity to remove herself from a relationship that has been holding her back," he said. "This is no reason for her to shed too many tears over a relationship with somebody who obviously does not want her around."
(UPDATED at 10:15 a.m. PT on 8/17/00)