Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux said they were announcing their split after less than three years of marriage in order to cease speculation over their relationship.
The Hollywood stars said on Thursday they would continue their “cherished friendship” and would maintain “the deep respect and love” they had for each other.
The rumour mill had been swirling with speculation prior to the announcement, with occasions being detailed where the couple were apparently not side-by-side.
Aniston was shown celebrating her 49th birthday on Sunday with female friends including Courtney Cox, rather than with Theroux.
There had also been reports that Aniston was spending much of her time in Los Angeles, while Theroux was in New York.
Publications also detailed an apparent last-ditch attempt to save their marriage with a holiday to Mexico in January.
In a joint statement, the pair announced they were splitting out of a “mutual and lovingly” made decision brokered at the end of last year.
“In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation,” they said.
“We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship.
“Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly.”
The Friends star and the Mulholland Drive actor married in August 2015, having become engaged three years earlier. They do not have children.
Aniston, who previously wed Brad Pitt, had recently hit out at gossip culture, telling Marie Claire: “My marital status has been shamed, my divorce status was shamed, my lack of a mate had been shamed, my nipples have been shamed.
“It’s like, why are we only looking at women through this particular lens of picking us apart? Why are we listening to it? I just thought: I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human.”
But their wishes that rumours will cease seem not to have been heeded with those on social media already speculating Aniston and Pitt could reunite.