Madonna and Guy Ritchie have confirmed they are divorcing after more than seven years of marriage.
The singer has been under intense media scrutiny since the summer (08) amid rumours she indulged in an affair with New York baseball star Alex 'A-Rod' Rodriguez.
Madonna and Rodriguez were alleged to have had an "affair of the heart", according to his estranged wife, Cynthia. They divorced last month (Sep08).
Madonna denied having an affair with Rodriguez, insisting rumours of a split between her and director husband Ritchie were untrue.
But the couple has been forced to admit their marriage is over following further speculation in British newspaper The Sun.
Madonna's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg confirmed to the Associated Press via email that the couple will divorce.
The brief statement reads: "Madonna and Guy Ritchie have agreed to divorce after seven-and-a-half years of marriage. They have both requested that the media maintain respect for their family at this difficult time."
The statement, co-signed by Ritchie's representative, also says the couple had not agreed to a settlement.
The Sun reported on Wednesday (15Oct08) that the pop superstar would announce the split after her Sticky + Sweet world tour later this year (08).
A source told the newspaper, "Despite huge attempts to patch things up they both knew deep down that divorce was on the cards. It wasn't a matter of 'if' but 'when'.
"They tried hard over the last few months but their fighting was getting out of control."
The couple met after being introduced through mutual friends Sting and wife Trudie Styler in 1999. Madonna gave birth to their son Rocco in Los Angeles in 2000. They married in Scotland later that year (00).
Madonna previously married actor Sean Penn in 1985 but they divorced in 1989. She has a 12 year old daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, from her relationship with fitness trainer Carlos Leon. She and Ritchie also have another son, David, whom they adopted from Malawi in 2006.