Rock legend Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills MCCARTNEY have split after nearly four of years of marriage.
The former beatle, 63, and charity campaigner Mills, 38, released a statement today (17MAY06) confirming their separation, citing "media intrusion" as the cause of their marital troubles.
A joint statement reads, "Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways.
"We have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives.
"Our parting is amicable and both of us still care about each other very much."
Only last week (ends12MAY06), Mills denied reports of marital problems saying, "It's hilarious. Of course we are together. Paul and I are still very much together. Paul and I are together 100 per cent."
The couple met in 1999 - a year after MCCartney's first wife LINDA died from breast cancer (17APR98) - at a charity function for Mills, who has been an avid campaigner for anti-landmine charities after losing her leg in a motorbike accident in 1993.
They married in a 17th century castle in County Monaghan, Ireland, in June 2002 and had baby daughter BEATRICE in October 2003.
MCCartney has three children from his first marriage to Linda - MARY, STELLA and JAMES - as well as being the stepfather of Linda's daughter HEATHER from a previous relationship.
Former model Mills was previously married to computer executive ALFIE KARMAL from 1989 until 1991.