Confirmed: Madonna and Guy to divorce

Guy Ritchie and Madonna arrive at the world premiere after party of his movie RocknRolla in September.
Guy Ritchie and Madonna arrive at the world premiere after party of his movie RocknRolla in September.

Posted by Rachel Leigh email

LONDON (AP) - Madonna's spokeswoman says the singer and her husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, will divorce after 7 1/2 years together.

Update, TUE 11 AM: A statement e-mailed to The Associated Press from spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg says the couple has agreed to divorce, and asks the media to respect their privacy.

The statement, co-signed by Ritchie's representative, says the couple had not agreed to a settlement.

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Previously: Pop star Madonna and her film director husband, Guy Ritchie, are to divorce, according to British media reports.

The Sun newspaper reported that the couple will announce the split imminently.

However a spokeswoman for Madonna in London refused to comment on the news.

Ritchie, 40, and Madonna married seven years ago at a lavish ceremony in Scotland, but rumors have been circulating within the press recently that their relationship is increasingly under strain.

Earlier this year, the singer denied being involved romantically with New York Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez was eventually divorced from his wife.

A recent escalation in rows led to Madonna and Ritchie communicating via their personal assistants, The Sun added.

The last time the couple was seen together in public was in September, when Madonna took a break from touring to celebrate her husband's birthday at a London pub.

"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," The Sun, quoting a source, reported.

"They tried hard over the last few months but their fighting was getting out of control. The final straw came before Madonna started her U.S. tour. They had a screaming match and Guy told her she had become a dead weight around his neck, dragging him down all the time."

The couple have two children together -- Rocco, 8, and David, 3, adopted from Malawi in 2006. Madonna also has a daughter, Lourdes, 12, from a previous relationship with dancer Carlos Leon.

Madonna, who turned 50 earlier this year, was previously married to U.S. actor Sean Penn from 1985 to 1989.

The British Press Association said that Ritchie has broken off from filming in France to fly back to the UK to inform his parents of the split.

His latest film is "RocknRolla," currently showing in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

According to The Sun, Madonna had wanted to wait until the end of her Sticky and Sweet global tour before announcing the news. But the date has now been brought forward with both parties wanting a divorce finalized before Christmas, it claimed.

However, divorce lawyer Jeremy Abraham told CNN that such a swift resolution would be unlikely.

"By my calculations, the earliest it's likely they could be divorced is the middle of February next year," he said.

With Madonna worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Abraham added that he hoped the couple would be instituting an agreed plan to separate, rather than following the "Mills-McCartney nightmare" and fighting for a financial settlement through the courts.

After an acrimonious separation from Paul McCartney, Heather Mills was awarded a settlement of almost $50 million in March this year.