The wait is over. Turns out Madonna and Guy Ritchie couldn’t justify their love after all.
The Material Girl’s publicist e-mailed a statement (co-signed by Ritchie’s rep) to the Associated Press on October 15, confirming that the high-profile couple is getting a divorce. Madonna’s U.K. spokesperson, Moira Bellas, confirmed the split to CNN as well. This ends many months of speculation about marital problems between the American pop superstar and the cult British film director — rumors that continued in spite of the couple’s repeated vehement denials.
“Madonna and Guy Ritchie have agreed to divorce after seven and a half years of marriage, their representatives confirmed today,” Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s U.S. representative, said in the joint statement to AP. “They have both requested that the media maintain respect for their family at this difficult time. A final settlement has not been agreed upon yet.”
Rosenberg also told E! News: “It is sad.”
Only hours before, British tabloid The Sun had run a story claiming that Ritchie and Madonna would make the official breakup announcement imminently. While The Sun reported that the couple was constantly fighting, the Daily Mirror said that Ritchie had returned to England to tell his parents in person about the split. Ritchie is currently shooting his latest movie, Sherlock Holmes, in France.
The Sun also claims that Ritchie, 40, is the one pushing for the divorce, saying that the filmmaker sees his iconic wife as “dead weight around his neck”. The paper quoted an anonymous source close to the couple who said: “Guy’s said if they were going to split, it has to be now — and their marriage will finally be over in a matter of weeks… Despite huge attempts to patch things up, they both know deep down that divorce was on the cards. It wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.”
Ritchie and Madonna reportedly want to create a mutual agreement before going to court. “The judgment of the court would be to try and assess what they came in with,” lawyer David Allison of London firm Family Law in Partnership told AP, “and divide what they built up fairly equally.”
The couple owns homes in New York, Los Angeles, and London along with a 1,200-acre estate in Wiltshire, England. Their aggregate estate is alleged to be worth about $525 million U.S., with $35 million of that belonging to Ritchie. According to an E! Online report, the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, so Ritchie could come away from the divorce with up to $100 million.
Madonna, 50, was rumored earlier this year to be romantically linked to New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez. In July, she issued a formal statement denying the affair and stating: “My husband and I are not planning on getting a divorce.” Around the same time, her estranged brother Christopher Ciccone said in a TV interview that Madonna was “not the kind of person to just walk away” and that she would “do what’s best for her family and her kids.”
Ritchie and Madonna married in December 2000 at a lavish wedding ceremony in a Scottish castle. They have one son, Rocco, 8, as well as an adopted son, David, 3. Madonna’s 12-year-old daughter, Lourdes, comes from a previous relationship with dancer Carlos Leon. Her first marriage was a stormy union with actor Sean Penn, from 1985 to 1989.
Madonna (often referred to in the British press as Madge) is currently in the middle of her Sticky and Sweet world tour. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. Ritchie, best known for the 1998 gangster flick Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, recently released a new film, RocknRolla.
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