Melanie Griffith is to divorce Antonio Banderas after 18 years of marriage. The acting couple have allegedly been living apart for several months but have now decided to formalise their split. However, the pair are said to making an effort to handle the split carefully and keep things amicable so as not to disrupt their children's lives.

Griffith and Banderas said in a statement issued by their publicist: "We have thoughtfully and consensually decided to finalize our almost 20 years marriage in a loving and friendly manner honoring and respecting each other, our family and friends and the beautiful time we have spent together."

Griffith and Banderas' parting of ways represents a monumental crumbling of one of Hollywood's once seemingly most steadfast unions. The couple met and fell in love on the set of the 1995 film Two Much and forged one of Tinseltown's strongest and longest marriages, despite the increasing talk of issues that has arisen in the past 12 months.

"They have not been happy for a long time and they have taken a lot of breaks already so their estrangement is nothing new," said an insider, via The Daily Mail, adding "They wanted to wait till the timing was right to announce their divorce. It's not a rash decision."

More: Antonio Banderas says fighting comes "naturally."

It was the 56 year-old actress who took the steps to file for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences" and seeking child support, sole physical and joint legal custody of their 17-year-old daughter, Stella, as well as spousal support. Although this has been Griffith's longest relationship, it will also be her fourth divorce after her two marriages to Miami Vice star Don Johnson and one to Scarface Steve Bauer also dissolved.

As news of their divorce has broken, Griffith has been pictured out-and-about looking happy and calm with her large "Antonio" heart tattoo still visible on her arm. Her decision to move forward with the divorce has reportedly come as a result of her growing exasperation towards conflicting schedules and not being able to focus on her own career enough.

More: Antonio Banderas to portray Pablo Picasso in new biopic.

"Melanie used to always follow Antonio on his movie sets. She was there when he made Evita with Madonna and when he filmed [The Mask Of ] Zorro with Catherine Zeta-Jones and for tons of movies after that. She was always there to support him," said a friend. "But in recent years she has been tired of being his plus one and she wanted to do more before she retired. You can't blame her. She is an amazing actress in her own right. She has been working more."

Griffith also has two adult children, Dakota Johnson and Alexander Bauer, from her marriages to Bauer and Johnson.

Antonio Banderas Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith Has Cited "Irreconcilable Differences" In Her Divorcing Of Antonio Banderas.