LATEST: A judge has dissolved the first marriage of James Brown's wife, clearing the way for an annulment between her and the funk legend.

Judge CHARLIE SEGARS-ANDREWS signed an order on Thursday (15APR04) dissolving TOMI RAE BROWN's previous marriage on the grounds that it was never consummated.

Tomi Rae says, "I am glad that I can finally feel freed up."

Rae, 33, married the 70-year-old singer three years ago while still legally married to JAVED AHMED of Pakistan.

The soul singer filed for an annulment of his marriage to Tomi Rae after he was charged with criminal domestic violence in January (04). Brown and his wife - who is also one of his back-up vocalists - got into a fight at their home.

But the issue of her 1997 marriage to Ahmed had to be cleared up before the annulment could proceed.

James Brown is expected to appear in magistrate's court in June (04) for a jury trial on the domestic violence charge.

His lawyer says Brown plans to remarry Tomi Rae after the annulment is granted.

19/04/2004 09:30