It was probably one of Hollywood's least expected splits, but actress Kate Winslet and her director husband Sam Mendes have separated after six years of marriage, the British couple's lawyer has announced.
"Kate and Sam are saddened to announce that they separated earlier this year. The split is entirely amicable and is by mutual agreement," London lawyer Keith Schilling said in a statement. "Both parties are fully committed to the joint parenting of their children," Schilling added. "They ask that the media respect the privacy of the family."
Winslet and Mendes have a six-year-old son, Joe, and Winslet has a nine-year-old daughter, Mia, from her previous marriage to Jim Threapleton, an assistant director she met while making the low-budget Hideous Kinky.
The 34-year-old British actress rose to global prominence as the romantic heroine in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.
She was married for just over three years to Threapleton, but they divorced in December 2001. Mendes and Winslet became a couple within two months of her split from Threapleton.
They made their first public appearance in Britain together in 2002 when they attended the premiere of Mendes's second film, The Road To Perdition.
Mendes, 44, directed his wife in the 2008 drama Revolutionary Road, an experience he described as "exhilarating", and confessed he saw "a side of her I just didn't know".
At the time of release of the film – which is about a disintegrating marriage in 1950s suburban America – Mendes told British newspaper The Times: "We are very happy, but obviously there is a cathartic aspect of making a movie about a bad marriage.
"Put it this way: the last thing you want to do when making a fight film is to go home and have a fight. So here is the opportunity for getting it out without having to live it."
Revolutionary Road reunited Winslet with DiCaprio and won her a Golden Globe for best actress.
Upon accepting the gong, she thanked Mendes, whom she affectionately called "babe".
"Thank you for directing this film, babe, and thank you for killing us every single day and really enjoying us actually being in such horrific pain," she said. "But I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I loved every second of working with you and it's made me love you more."
However, realistically, it is alleged that them working together had a detrimental effect on their marriage.
Online media reports suggest that Winslet and Mendes' marriage began to suffer after the two collaborated on Revolutionary Road.
According to The Daily Mail online, a source close to the couple was quoted as saying that "things were extremely rough to say the least recently. Things went downhill after Revolutionary Road".
The report added that Mendes began devoting more time to work, what with directing Away We Go, signing up to direct the next James Bond film, taking on the process of developing adaptations of the British classic, Middlemarch and the Joseph O'Neill novel, Netherland, plus working on a new touring season with his theater company, The Bridge Project.
A friend of Mendes told the British publication that "he became bored working on his latest theatrical project, and he took that boredom home with him. And that led to the spark being taken out of their marriage".
The source added: "Kate is devastated. She thought their marriage was forever and now she has two children from two marriages and both are not living with their fathers."
Often described as one of Hollywood's "golden couples", Winslet and Mendes were based in New York.
It can be said that both were equally successful in their careers. Winslet won the 2009 best actress Oscar for The Reader, while Mendes was awarded the Academy Award for best director in 2000 for American Beauty.
The duo tended to shy away from the celebrity party circuit and instead concentrated on home life.
"As a family we do normal things that other families would," Winslet said last year.
Mendes attended the ceremony with Winslet when she won the Oscar last year, as shown in our main photograph, but this year she went to the event alone (below right).
Educated at Britain's prestigious Cambridge University, he made his name as a theatre director, before his spectacular success with American Beauty which won five Oscars, including a best actor gong for Kevin Spacey.
His next project will be the 23rd James Bond film, expected to go into production later this year.
Mendes's past loves have included British actresses Jane Horrocks and Rachel Weisz.
Winslet's film career also includes Second World War drama Enigma in 2001 and the 2006 romantic comedy The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law.
The star is currently filming the HBO TV mini-series Mildred Pierce, with director Todd Haynes and actors Guy Pearce and Evan Rachel Wood, about a divorced single mother. Sadly, it seems like life is imitating art for the actress. (With inputs by AFP)
hollywood splits that rocked the showbiz world
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
At the premiere for the film Stakeout, Willis met Moore, who was dating Emilio Estevez at the time. Nevertheless, the couple married in 1987, and had three daughters.
On October 18, 2000, they divorced, giving no public reason for their breakup.
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Cruise met Kidman on the set of their film Days of Thunder. The couple married on December 24, 1990, and adopted two children.
They separated in February 2001 when Kidman was three months pregnant. The actress reportedly later miscarried.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
Pitt met the Friends actress in 1998, and married her on July 29, 2000.
However, in January 2005, Pitt and Aniston announced that they had decided to separate after seven years together. Later, it emerged Pitt was dating Angelina jolie.
Stuart Townsend and Charlize Theron
Irish director and actor Townsend dated the South African actress after meeting her on the set of 2002's Trapped.
In December 2009, it emerged that Theron stopped wearing an antique commitment ring he had given her, and that she ended her relationship with him.
Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz
The singer began dating Diaz soon after they met at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in 2003.
On the December 16, 2006 episode of Saturday Night Live, Diaz introduced Timberlake as the night's musical guest, but the couple officially split shortly afterwards.