By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 17, 1998 12:00 AM

While Helen Hunt, 37, was on the talk show circuit this week to promote her two new Christmas movies, “What Women Want” (with Mel Gibson) and “Cast Away” (with Tom Hanks), she was also bringing a chapter in her life to a close. The Oscar winner (“As Good As It Gets”) filed a Los Angeles Superior Court divorce petition Monday to end her 17-month-old marriage to actor-husband Hank Azaria (“The Birdcage” and several voices on “The Simpsons”), 36. She cited irreconcilable differences. They have been separated for about six months, and publicists for neither party had a comment for the press. When they married in a traditional Jewish ceremony at their unfinished Southern California home on July 17, 1999, reported PEOPLE, Hunt and Azaria exchanged vows before nearly 100 guests, including her then-“Mad About You” costar Paul Reiser and “Friends” star Matthew Perry. They also showed a home movie that spoofed their romance, which began in 1994.