LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) - Hollywood A-list couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced the end of their 10-year marriage on Tuesday, ending months of rumours.
The confirmation of the split between the Oscar-winning actor-director and the actress came a day after their wedding anniversary on Monday.
“After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce,” said the couple, who have three children, in a joint statement. “We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time.”
The end of the marriage was mourned on Twitter, with typical responses such as: “Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are splitting up, true love does not exist,” People magazine said.
Affleck, 42, and Garner, 43, started dating shortly after meeting on the set of the 2003 superhero movie Daredevil. They married two years later in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Their children are Violet, nine, Seraphina, six, and Samuel, three.
TMZ celebrity news website said that the couple will file for divorce, though not immediately. Their split is described as “amicable” and they will get joint custody of their children. They will work things through with a mediator and business managers, filing divorce papers only once property and custody issues are resolved, the report said, citing unidentified sources.
Rumours of the separation were fuelled by tabloid reports that moving vans were spotted near the couple’s Southern California home last month.
People magazine said the strain between the couple had become increasingly obvious. They tried to present a united front for their children, but last month, the imminence of the break-up was clear when they were spotted out at a farmers’ market, the report said.
“They looked miserable,” an eyewitness said. “They didn’t speak the entire time. They looked like they were only trying to be around each other for the girls.”
Affleck stars as Batman in the upcoming movie Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Garner, known for the television series Alias, has been in movies including 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club and 2007’s Juno.
Unlike many Hollywood couples, Affleck and Garner did not have a prenuptial agreement, TMZ said. But the website, citing multiple sources, said discussions between lawyers were going “smoothly”, adding that Affleck is not much richer than Garner, who it said made a “massive amount of money” out of Alias.
Affleck has only been married once, but his former partners include actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Jennifer Lopez (she and Affleck were known as Bennifer).
Garner dated actor Michael Vartan after she divorced actor Scott Foley in 2003.
When Affleck won the Best Picture Oscar for 2012’s Argo, his acceptance speech was memorably unromantic.
“I want to thank you for working on marriage for 10 Christmases,” he told Garner from the stage. “It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with.”
In a 2014 interview, she said her marriage to Affleck was in a “mindful” stage. “You can’t expect to be courted all the time, and I don’t want to court him right now – I don’t have the energy,” she told InStyle magazine.
“But we’re definitely in a very mindful place where we’re making an effort to be together, do things at the same time and be loving.”
On Tuesday, the two pleaded for privacy. “This will be our only comment on this private, family matter. Thank you for understanding,” they said.