16 Oct 2008

Madonna and Ritchie confirm split

3:30 pm on 16 October 2008

Pop star Madonna and her husband film director Guy Ritchie are to divorce after nearly eight years of marriage.

An announcement on Wednesday followed several months of speculation that the couple's relationship was in trouble.

In July, the singer's publicist said the marriage did not "need saving".

The pair appeared together at last month's premiere of Ritchie's new film RocknRolla in London, walking arm-in-arm and posing for photographs in London's Leicester Square.

Ritchie, 40, earlier rebutted suggestions his marriage was over with a public show of support at Madonna's 50th birthday party in August. He also told a US magazine in July the marriage was "fine".

Madonna is due to play a concert in Boston later as part of her Sticky and Sweet tour.

She and Ritchie married in December 2000 at Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands and have two sons - Rocco, aged seven, and David Banda, whose adoption from Malawi was approved in May.

The singer also has a daughter, Lourdes, aged 12, from an earlier relationship.