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Madonna: Divorce! [Official]


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Official: Madonna and Guy Ritchie to divorce

Philippe Naughton

Madonna and her husband, the British film director Guy Ritchie, are to divorce.

The split was confirmed this afternoon in a joint statement from the couple after a front-page report in The Sun which said that they "can't bear to live with the pretence any longer".

"Madonna and Guy Ritchie have agreed to divorce after seven-and-a-half years of marriage," the statement said. "They have both requested that the media maintain respect for their family at this difficult time. A final settlement has not been agreed upon yet."

The couple married in December 2000 at Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands when Ritchie was still riding high from his two major film successes, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.

But rumours of marital difficulties have dogged the couple for about a year. In July the wife of baseball’s highest paid star, Alex Rodriguez, filed for divorce, blaming Madonna for the collapse of her marriage. Madonna, 50, denied any romantic involvement with Rodriguez.

The speculation was fed by reports in the summer that the singer had lined up Fiona Shackleton, the lawyer who represented Sir Paul McCartney in his recent divorce battle with the model Heather Mills.

With a joint fortune estimated at £300 million at stake - the vast majority earned by the singer - the split could produce a similarly high-profile divorce battle, especially if it is fought out in London, where the couple have mostly lived during their eight year marriage.

The couple also own homes in London, Los Angeles and New York, and a 1,200-acre retreat in Wiltshire.

The couple have a son, Rocco, 8, and David Banda, who was adopted as a baby from Malawi, 2. Madonna has a daughter, Lourdes, 12, from her relationship with the dancer Carlos Leon.

It appears that the couple had planned to wait until after the end of Madonna's Sticky and Sweet tour before announcing their break-up officially. Madonna is to perform concerts tonight and tomorrow in Boston.

They managed to present a united front last month at the premiere in London of Mr Ritchie’s film RocknRolla and at Mr Ritchie's 40th birthday party at the Punch Bowl pub in Mayfair, which is among the assets that will be up for grabs.

Madonna's spokeswoman said that relations between the couple were still cordial, and they expected to agree a divorce settlement without going through the courts.

In the event that they did go to court, legal experts said that it would be in Madonna's interest to fight the battle out in the United States rather than in London, where courts are more favourable to the poorer partner in a marriage.

Ritchie’s career has faltered during the marriage, although he is currently making a Hollywood blockbuster, Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey. Madonna has enjoyed career record sales totalling 200 million and is one of the world's most bankable touring artistes.

The needs of the couple’s children would also be considered by the court, as they were in the McCartney divorce, when Ms Mills received £24.3 million after four years of marriage.

Andrew Newbury, a divorce specialist with the Manchester-based firm Pannone, said: "If Guy Ritchie were to instigate proceedings in Britain, then recent precedents mean Madonna would be facing the potential of a much larger settlement than, say, if she lived in California."


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War of the Ritchies: The bitter rows over Kabbalah, adoption and New York that led to Madonna and Guy's split

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:22 PM on 16th October 2008

Madonna may have publicly branded Guy Ritchie 'emotionally retarded', but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of her grievances against her soon to be ex husband.

The couple are said to have endured a string of bitter rows and mud-slinging in recent months over a wide reaching range of issues.

Madonna is said decided to end the marriage after Guy became increasing irritated by her obsession with Kabbalah and his refusal to move to New York.

She is reported to have told friends he also failed to support her plans adopt a three-year-old Malawian girl, which she still intends to push ahead with.

She also apparently complained that he was tight with his purse strings and declined to tap into his own £30million fortune to pay for their lifestyle.

A source told The Sun: 'When Guy heard the reasons Madonna was divorcing him he hit the roof. He thinks she's trying to make him out to be the villain of the piece. He's incandescent with rage.

'The situation is on a knife edge. Guy can't believe some of the things Madonna has said about him.

'Noone knows if this is going to be settled easily or turn into an absolute bloodbath.'

The rows culminated in an almighty fall-out last Friday in which the singer gave her husband an ultimatum to move from London to New York with her.

Ritchie, 40, reacted furiously and refused to relocate - sealing their fate.

'Guy just went mad saying there was no way he was moving abroad away from his roots and family on a whim just because Madonna desired another of her notorious image changes,' a well-placed source told the Mail.

'Madonna was incensed, telling him, "either you're in or out".'

The couple have also argued about their religious beliefs.

A source adds: 'Madonna believes the reason she is a world icon is that she has somehow been chosen to channel messages to the masses.

'She feels her destiny has been preordained. Guy on the other hand thinks that's a load of b*******.'

Guy is believed to have branded Madonna a control freak, with a source saying: 'Guy felt emasculated through the marriage.'

Madonna's close friendship with her former lover Carlos Leon is also rumoured to have been a source of tension between the couple.

New York based personal trainer Leon, who is the father of Madonna's 12-year-old daughter Lourdes, has become the singer's 'rock' in recent times, according to sources.

He is known to have been staying in the singer's New York apartment, overseeing redecoration, and the pair have been under the same roof while she's in the city as part of her Sticky & Sweet tour.

An insider tells says: 'Guy and Carlos always had a very friendly relationship. But that recently turned sour because Madonna had been getting closer to Carlos'.

And of course there is her rumoured relationship with relationship with baseball star Alex Rodriguez.

The two have been linked since early July when it was reported by the same magazine that he had been making late-night visits to her Central Park West apartment in New York.

Rodriguez's wife Cynthia then launched divorce proceedings because of his 'extramarital affairs'.

Cynthia told friends at the time she believed her husband and Madonna had 'an affair of the heart'. Madonna vehemently denied a relationship with Rodriguez at the time.

Earlier this month, Madonna reportedly invited Rodriguez to spend the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur with her and her three children.

A family friend told American magazine Life & Style: 'On Oct. 8, they went to a special Kabbalah service at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. They all left around the same time.'

They reportedly returned to the hotel the next day for seven hours of spiritual readings.

'It’s a very sacred day, so one can only assume she’s feeling very serious about Alex,' added the friend.

A source added: 'Guy was horrified to learn that she invited Alex to [spend time with] her and her children.'

Another insider concluded: 'What started out as love has now ended with real acrimony. It’s very, very sad.'


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Actually, I think it's too bad. I stopped being a Madonna fan after her Ray of Light era (the dance stuff got too Eurotrash and pretentious for me -- apart from the Abba sample), but I do think she fell hard for Guy Ritchie. It must be devastating to have failed her marriage. However, can a woman so uptight, so controlled, so closed off, such a workaholic ever find happiness with somebody else?

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I believe she will make it through, as she always does. As a obsessive-compulsive Virgo and with the help of kabbalah, pilates and other stuff she practices... And above all, because survival in that sense is so important to her, she will somehow someday leave all that behind her.

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