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Mayumi and Richard Heene Marriage Profile


Photo: Wife Swap / ABC.com

Richard and Mayuma Heene and family on Wife Swap.

Photo: Wife Swap / ABC.com
The decision of Richard and Mayumi Heene to live their marriage and raise their sons on the edge apparently had legal consequences for both of them. Here is information about the marriage of Richard and Mayumi Heene.

News Updates:

12/23/2009: For the Balloon Boy hoax, Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail and Mayumi Heene was sentenced to 20 days in jail. The couple could be fined by the FAA and asked to reimburse authorities for rescue attempt costs. Richard has until January 11, 2010 to report to jail.
"Heene's 90-day sentence includes 60 days of work release that will let him pursue his job as a construction contractor during the day as long as he reports back to jail at night. The Heenes were also put on four years' probation, during which they cannot earn any money related to the stunt. That means any book, movie or reality TV deals are off limits ... His wife will serve her 20 days behind bars after her husband completes his sentence. Her time served will be flexible — she can report to jail on 10 weekends."
Source: P. Solomon Banda. "Balloon boy parents are sent to jail for hoax." SFGate.com. 12/23/2009.

11/13/2009: Richard and Mayumi appeared in court and plead guilty to charges in the Balloon Boy hoax.

10/23/2009: On 10/17/2009 "Mayumi Heene told Larimer County investigators that she and her husband, Richard Heene, knew that their 6-year-old son Falcon was hiding at their Fort Collins home the entire time, even as police and military scrambled to search for the boy, according to the documents."
Source: "Documents: 'Balloon boy' dad had hoax in mind, wife says." Cnn.com. 10/23/2009.

10/18/2009: Criminal charges will be filed in the 10/15/2009 helium-filled giant Mylar balloon episode involving the Heene's son Falcon.


Richard A. Heene: Abt. 1961.

Mayumi Iizuka: Abt. 1964 in Japan.

How Richard and Mayumi Met:

Mayumi and Richard met at an acting school in Hollywood.
Alan Gathright: "Heene lived for many years in Southern California, where he and his future wife met as aspiring actors at the Lee Strasberg acting school and launched a production company."
Source: Alan Gathright. "Deputies Investigated Disturbance Between Ballon Boy's Dad, Mom." TheDenver Channel.com. 10/16/2009.

Wedding Date:

October 12, 1997 in Clark County, Nevada. (per Clark County Recorder's Web Site)


  • Bradford Heene:
  • Ryo Heene:
  • Falcon Heene:


Richard: Reality TV participant, weather chaser, contractor, amateur scientist.

Mayumi: Reality TV participant.


Mayumi and Richard lived in Fort Collins, Colorado when the "balloon boy" incident occurred. The couple has since moved their family to Brooksville, Florida.

Previous Marriages:

According to CNN.com, Richard was previously married. In an interview with Nancy Grace, his ex-wife Patty referred to Richard as a "master of mental warfare" and that she divorced Richard Heene out of fear for her children.

Quotes About the Marriage of Richard and Mayumi Heene:

Barbara Slusser: "She's [Mayumi] a highly intelligent woman, a lovely soul. Man, she's gotten herself into a situation with Richard and the kids. Whatever he says goes. She's basically his slave."
Source: Luchina Fisher. "Balloon Boy Mom: Co-Conspirator or Abused Wife?" ABCNews.go.com. 10/20/2009.

Scott Stevens: "It's a cultural thing, and he leveraged that knowledge. He believed that Asian women can be subservient, and that's what he wanted. But it takes two to tango, and she was with him for more than a decade. Every day that was the dynamic in play."
Source: Luchina Fisher. "Balloon Boy Mom: Co-Conspirator or Abused Wife?" ABCNews.go.com. 10/20/2009.

Latoya West: "But did all the nationwide attention from the show leave the Heene family hungry for more? ... In an interview on Larry King Live, Falcon was asked why he had been hiding in the attic while he heard people calling for him. "You guys said that we did this for the show," the six-year-old boy said to his father. Busted? Hmm. It looks like after Wife Swap, the Heene family's life may have turned into one big reality show."
Source: Latoya West. "Balloon Drama Takes Family from Wife Swap to CNN." Realitytv.about.com. 10/16/2009.

"Alderden said the charges that could be filed against the parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, include conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and false reporting to authorities. The parents are not currently under arrest ... the sheriff's department planned to meet with federal authorities to consider additional charges. Some of the most serious charges each carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 fine ... He also said the department has concerns about the possibility of domestic violence in the family."
Source: "Colo. sheriff calls balloon saga a hoax." Msnbc.com. 10/18/1009

Joseph Berger: "But he [Alderden] said he has learned in the course of the investigation that the Heenes had been schooled in dramatic techniques, meeting with an acting school in Hollywood."
Source: Joseph Berger, Brian Stelter. "Sheriff Calls Balloon Chase a Hoax." NYTimes.com. 10/18/2009.

Mark Sappenfield: "Alderden also said that at one meeting with local officials Mayumi was advised to go to a safe house with her children. Alderden said 911 dispatchers had received two previous calls from the Heene house: one that was determined to be a mistake and one that involved "suspicious circumstances" of potential domestic violence against Mayumi. Alderden said there had not been sufficient evidence to proceed. Mayumi rebuffed the offer of the safe house, and Alderden said local child-welfare officials did not believe they had sufficient grounds to take the children into protective custody."
Source: Mark Sappenfield. "Balloon boy charges: What are they? Police tell all." CSMonitor.com. 10/18/2009.

Foster Kamer: "In this case, it's the story of a guy with a dream that's become too common: quickfire fame, notoriety, a reality television show. Heene had tasted that nasty once-forbidden fruit of easy notoriety on Wife Swap. Twice. And the Heene family didn't look great then, either: Heene was a father with a short temper who couldn't discipline his kids. He was eccentric and a guy of questionable stability, but when you score it with music, sound effects, and frame it between commercials, it looks a lot less harmless than it actually is."
Source: Foster Kamer. "Deflated: Balloon Boy's the Story of Our Ugly, Sorry Era." Gawker.com. 10/18/2009.

ABC Wifeswap: "Richard calls Mayumi his 'ninja wife'; she maintains equipment, drives the storm-mobile, films tornadoes and waits with the kids while Richard jumps on his motorbike, heads into the eye of the storm and launches rockets to measure magnetic forces. At home the family are as chaotic as a twister: the kids have no table manners and throw themselves around the house, and while Richard devotes every moment to his research, he expects Mayumi to cook, clean and run the house without any help."
Source: Heene/Martel Wife Swap Episode Guide

Richard: "Grown men like a younger woman because of that. Once a woman hits 25, it’s downhill from there ... I’m so glad my wife was born in Japan."
Source: Lisa Stauber. "Wife Swap Storm's Brewing!" RealityTVMagazine.sheknows.com. 10/3/2008.

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