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IMAGE: Barbie
Stefano Paltera  /  AP file
Barbie and Ken will be spending time apart, Mattel sources say.
updated 2/12/2004 1:57:28 PM ET 2004-02-12T18:57:28

Just like J.Lo and Ben, the romance is over for Barbie and Ken.

After 43 years as one of the world’s prettiest pairs, the perfect plastic couple is breaking up. The couple’s “business manager,” Russell Arons, vice president of marketing at Mattel, said that Barbie and Ken “feel it’s time to spend some quality time — apart.”

“Like other celebrity couples, their Hollywood romance has come to an end,” said Arons, who quickly added that the duo “will remain friends.”

Arons denied that there was any truth to rumors that the breakup was linked to the Cali (as in California) Girl Barbie, arriving in stores now. To better reflect her single status, Cali Barbie will wear board shorts and a bikini top, metal hoop earrings, and have a deeper tan.

This new style already has attracted a new admirer, Blaine the Australian boogie boarder.

Barbie — the most popular fashion doll in the world, according to toy maker Mattel — met Ken on the set of a TV commercial in 1961, and they have been inseparable ever since.

Arons hinted Wednesday that the separation may be partially due to Ken’s reluctance to getting married. All those bridal Barbie dolls in toy chests around the globe are really just examples of Barbie’s wishful thinking, he explained.

Another possible factor is Barbie’s career. The doll who was “born” Barbie Millicent Roberts in 1959 has been everything from a rock star to military medic, and she’s currently marketed in more than 150 countries. According to Mattel, every second, three Barbie dolls are sold somewhere in the world.

So where does that leave Ken? Said Arons: “He will head for other waves.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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