The Earl of Devon is divorcing his former Baywatch star wife 18 years after their wedding at his ancestral castle outside Exeter, it was revealed today.
Charles Courtenay, 48, has split from Ohio-born AJ Langer, 49, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ and the ‘wellbeing of their wonderful children’.
Ms Langer played Caroline Larkin in Baywatch as a teenager and was also in 1990s teen drama hit My So-Called Life and The Wonder Years. In later life she starred in a number of Hollywood movies including Escape from LA, starring Kurt Russell, and Meet The Deedles, featuring Paul Walker.
The Earl of Devon met his future wife at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. At the time she had no idea that the beaming British lawyer – who was on tour with an English rugby union club and wearing a kilt – was the heir to a spectacular 4,000-acre estate in the West Country.
They got married in 2005 at the family’s seat – the 600-year-old Powderham Castle, near Exeter and went on to have two children. As part of the divorce, Courtenay has requested joint custody of Joscelyn, 16, and Jack, 14.
Charlie Courtenay, 19th Earl of Devon and member of the House of Lords, pictured with his wife, A.J. Langer, at Powderham Castle
AJ Langer, centre, in Baywatch as a teenager
At first after getting married they lived in California so Langer could continue her Hollywood acting career, pictured left on the set of ‘The Americans’ in 2012 and right in Meet The Deedles, a 1998 comedy
A statement on behalf of the Earl said: ‘After much care and consideration, Charles Courtenay, the Earl of Devon, and Countess of Devon, Allison Joy Courtenay, have made the decision to separate and to divorce.
‘Charlie would like to express his gratitude for his partnership with AJ and all that they have created together as parents, friends and partners both in Los Angeles and at Powderham.
‘The wellbeing of their wonderful children is the highest priority, as he and AJ focus upon co-parenting in the years ahead.
‘Charlie is grateful for their supportive communities in Devon and in California, and he politely requests that his and his family’s privacy is respected at this time.’
Details of the divorce filing were first reported by the Blast website.
The couple together at Powderham Castle in Devon
Posing: Allison (pictured modelling at a younger age) and Charlie had no idea of each other’s backgrounds when they first caught each other’s eye across the dance floor at a Las Vegas hotel
Allison was probably best known for her role as ‘Rayanne Graff’ (left) on the show, My So-Called Life
Information in the application said they couple had actually separated over a month ago on September 30.
They had met at a Las Vegas party in 2002 and had no idea who the other was.
The earl was an intellectual property barrister but they fell in love as soon as their eyes met.
At first after getting married they lived in California so Langer could continue her Hollywood acting career.
But they later moved to the UK to live, a change she hinted to a podcast had been challenging.
Speak to the Celebrity Catch Up show, Langer said: ‘I was a completely independent person from the age of 15.
‘I lived alone for many years and travelled alone a lot and always went to the beat of my own drum.
‘Then here I was in the middle of really intense and very, very deep-rooted patriarchy.
‘It has been really fascinating.’
His father, Hugh Courtenay, 18th Earl of Devon, who also had three older daughters, sadly passed away aged 73 in 2015.
He became the 19th Earl and his wife the Duchess.
Langer previously told Breezy Mama: ‘The whole title thing…I am no expert. It means more to some people and less to others. It definitely makes for interesting conversation, and an interesting story.’
Langer, a keen surfer, and Courtenay, a barrister, had no idea of each other’s backgrounds when they first met eyes across the dance floor at the Las Vegas hotel’s Circle Bar.
‘He was wearing a kilt – on tour with London Scottish Rugby. We smiled at each other across the crowded room……’ Langer, who goes by her initials, ‘AJ’, said of the fateful meeting.
She revealed that her future husband was not aware she was an actress who had gained international fame playing Rayanne Graff on the critically acclaimed but short-lived television show My So-Called Life.
The show – which also starred Claire Danes and Oscar-winner Jared Leto in their first major roles – was cancelled after just one season.
As part of the divorce, Courtenay has requested joint custody of the couple’s children Joscelyn, 16, and Jack, 14
Meanwhile, she had ‘no idea about the castle or titles or anything’, she told Breezy Mama.
She said she only found out about her husband’s aristocratic status ‘months’ into their relationship when he drove her to his family’s estate, which sits on the west bank of the River Exe estuary.
‘I had no idea… until he drove me up the driveway months into our relationship — which was good ’cause I wouldn’t have known what to do with that information anyway,’ the mother-of-two said.
Langer and Courtenay subsequently started dating in Los Angeles – where Charlie was temporarily posted with a London-based law firm. On April 30, 2005, the couple tied the knot in the city.
Two years later, they welcomed their first child, Lady Joscelyn Skye Courtenay, via a home birth.
Another two years later, their son, Jack Haydon Langer Courtenay, was delivered at their home.
Langer told Breezy Mama her daughter was named after a member of her husband’s family tree.
‘Jack is his grandfather’s name on his mother’s side – a very special person to Charlie and his inspiration for playing rugby. Without rugby we never would have met in Vegas!’ she added.
From 2005 until 2014, Courtenay – a former student of the prestigious English boys’ boarding school, Eton College in Windsor (also attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Princes William and Harry) – worked as a barrister for the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins.