LOS ANGELES - Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin announced their separation on Tuesday, signalling the end of the A-list couple's 11-year marriage.
In a statement entitled "Conscious Uncoupling" posted on Paltrow's lifestyle website Goop.com, the stars said they had decided to "remain separate" after reviewing their marriage over the past year.
"It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate," said the couple, who moved back to Los Angeles recently after spending several years in London.
"We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that, while we love each other very much, we will remain separate." Paltrow, 41, and Martin, 37, have two young children, Apple, nine, and Moses, seven, and appealed for privacy as they navigated their break-up.
"We are, however, and always will be a family," the couple said. The statement was accompanied by a snapshot of the couple smiling in a happier moment.
"We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time." Paltrow, who co-stars in the successful "Iron Man" movies, won a Best Actress Oscar in 1999 for her role in "Shakespeare in Love." As recently as January, the couple had been seen cuddling affectionately together at the Golden Globes Awards in Beverly Hills.
However the state of the marriage has been the subject of tabloid speculation for years, with recent reports in February indicating that Martin was unhappy at the couple's move to Los Angeles.
In a wide-ranging interview with Harpers Bazaar last year, Paltrow said her marriage to Martin was sometimes challenging.
"We are growing into very similar people," she reflected. "It's cool, it's good. It's not always easy though!" In a 2012 interview Paltrow had hinted that managing two artistic temperaments in one household was the couple's biggest challenge.
"Probably our artistic temperaments together," she said. "Artists are sensitive; there are ups and downs, mood-wise. Musicians need a certain gravitas and focus in order to write." Paltrow and Martin reportedly met backstage at a Coldplay concert in late 2002, after the singer asked an assistant to arrange a meeting with the actress.
The following year, the couple tied the knot in a secret ceremony in California soon after announcing they were expecting their first child together.
Martin founded Coldplay with a university friend in 1996 and the band enjoyed huge critical acclaim with their first two albums "Parachutes" and "A Rush of Blood to the Head." Since then they have sold tens of millions of albums. The group's sixth album, "Ghost Stories" is due for release in May.