Demi Moore, 49, and Ashton Kutcher, 33 — whose unlikely marriage defied societal norms and, for a while, Hollywood odds — have split.
"It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have decided to end my six-year marriage to Ashton," Moore said in a statement to the Associated Press on Thursday. "As a woman, a mother and a wife, there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life. This is a trying time for me and my family, and so I would ask for the same compassion and privacy that you would give to anyone going through a similar situation."
Tech-pioneer Kutcher took to Twitter: "I will forever cherish the time I spent with Demi. Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and unfortunately sometimes they fail. Love and Light, AK."
The announcement didn't come as a surprise: The couple have been engulfed in infidelity rumors since earlier this fall.
Reports of trouble
Sara Leal, a 22-year-old administrative assistant, told Us Weekly that she and Kutcher spent time together on Sept. 24, his wedding anniversary. Leal said that he told her at the time that he was separated from Moore.
The breakup is a double PR pounding for Kutcher, who last week was lambasted for posting a tweet in defense of ousted Penn State football coach Joe Paterno before knowing the facts behind the firing. As part of the fallout, Kutcher turned over management of his Twitter account to his team at Katalyst Media.
Kutcher's life was off to a promising start this fall, with his return to the small screen in a big way on Two and a Half Men. But then rumblings of a rupture at home emerged online in late September, with Kutcher and Moore posting oblique messages that hinted at the stories of marital strife.
She, still writing as "Mrs. Kutcher," said: "When we are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself & study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. — Epictetus." He said, essentially: "Don't believe the hype," thanks to a link to the Public Enemy song.
More recently, Kutcher linked to a post called "30 Truths I've Learned in 30 Years" on a self-help website. Truth No. 9? "Relationships must be chosen wisely. It's better to be alone than to be in bad company. There's no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen — in the right time, with the right person and for the best reason."
There weren't just virtual clues. At the Sept. 26 New York premiere of Five, the Lifetime series of short films that she co-directed, Moore largely avoided interviews.
Details' September cover story Q&A with Kutcher didn't even mention his wife.
On Sept. 30, during Rosh Hashanah, the couple arrived at and left the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles separately, according to People.
On Oct. 9, a day after Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day of atonement, the Kabbalists were photographed in a Santa Barbara, Calif., park.
On Oct. 14, a moving truck sat parked outside the duo's Santa Monica, Calif., house. The next night, Kutcher turned up solo to Bill Clinton's foundation celebration at the Hollywood Bowl.
And then on Oct. 17, a noticeably thinner Moore walked the New York red carpet of her movie Margin Call with her engagement rock, but without her hubby. (Days later, she joined her husband in his Two and a Half Men trailer, Us reported.)
Kutcher, too, kept his wedding ring on for his solo walk down the red carpet at the GQ Gentleman's Ball on Oct. 26 in New York. On Nov. 4, Moore was seen looking "happy" at a Los Angeles fashion show, according to Us, and on Nov. 10, she was snapped still wearing her rings.
Moore's latest film? The poignantly titled black dramedy Another Happy Day.
Earlier this year, however, the couple did mostly paint a picture of happy domesticity. In a January USA TODAY interview with Natalie Portman to promote their movie No Strings Attached, Kutcher seemed to relish his role as stepdad to Moore's three daughters (Rumer, 23, Scout, 20, and Tallulah, 17) with ex-husband Bruce Willis.
"Tallulah was, like, 8 when (Demi and I) first started dating (in 2003). So I've got like the 8-to-20 thing on lock." Portman called him "a very good parent."
Still, when asked if he had baby fever, like his then-pregnant co-star, he answered, "I don't know what that is."
In April, during a rare joint interview with USA TODAY to discuss their anti-sex-slavery initiative, the couple were cozy, laughing and holding hands. She squeezed his knee and called him, "Honey." They finished each other's sentences and never strayed more than a few feet away from one another. "One of the big things at our house is family dinners," Moore said.
In 2005, before they were married, Moore talked in an interview with Harper's Bazaar about expanding her family with Kutcher, "which is all the things we truly desire."
At the time of their 2005 wedding, he was the ex-Iowa frat boy who became a Punk'd prankster; she was the Brat Pack bombshell turned Charlie'sAngels villain. Tongues wagged about the couple's 16-year age difference, more than that other famous (and now defunct) older woman-younger man union, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins— no matter that soon after Moore hooked up with Kutcher, the cougar became a pop-culture phenomenon.
But what arguably made the Kutcher-Moore marriage raise eyebrows even higher was the clan's coziness with Willis. The blended bunch, for instance, regularly vacationed together.
And though Moore revealed to Vanity Fair in 2007 that the coupling "caught us both by surprise," she told Bazaar in the same 2005 interview that there was nothing casual about their courtship. "You talk about meeting your soul mate. I truly feel I have been given that gift. And believe me, I wasn't some lightweight package. I'm, like, the package that didn't just come with luggage — I had trunks."