LARA BRADLEY TV PRESENTER Ryan Tubridy has separated from his RTE producer wife Anne Marie after a marriage that lasted just two years, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The 32-year-old and his wife are expected to make a joint announcement later this week when she returns from a trip abroad.
But a source close to Tubridy said last night: "The marriage is over. It's a very difficult time for them both. Their main concern is for the children and they would like their privacy respected at this time."
The separation comes just as Mr Tubridy's rising star appeared unstoppable. The RTE golden boy has an annual salary of more than ?400,000 and one of the highest profiles in Irish broadcasting. His wife is a respected radio documentary maker and series producer on Joe Duffy's Liveline.
The couple met at RTE in 1997 when Mr Tubridy spotted Anne Marie Power in an RTE recording studio. He later said: "She was going in to make a programme, I was going out. My head turned and my life changed. I pursued her relentlessly. She used to sashay down the corridor and I was quite taken by her.
"She was very erudite and she made documentaries on flamenco. She was much brighter than I am and continues to be, which isn't that hard really if you dig deep enough, and I asked her out."
Three years after the birth of their first child, Mr Tubridy proposed on bended knee in the Abbeyglen Hotel in Clifden. The engagement stirred a bizarre controversy when it was announced in the Irish Times with the words "Ella Tubridy is delighted to announce the engagement of her parents Ryan and Anne Marie", and Mr Tubridy was taken aback to receive a number of letters from readers who took offence to the style of the announcement.
The couple married in Dublin in 2003 and celebrated their nuptials with a cosy Twenties-themed reception in Mr Tubridy's mother's back garden in Booterstown with 120 close friends and family. Their second daughter Julia was born just over a year later.
Mr Tubridy was born in Dublin in 1974 and is the youngest of Catherine and Patrick Tubridy's five children. The family have powerful political connections. Mr Tubridy's mother is a sister of Niall Andrews, the MEP, and David Andrews, the former government minister whose son Barry is also a TD. His aunt Dot had close links with the Kennedy family in America.
Mr Tubridy made his broadcasting debut aged just 12 when he appeared on the Poporama Show on Radio Two. He has been a regular around Montrose ever since and is now one of the country's most famous faces with a prime-time Saturday night chat show and Radio One talk show every weekday.