RTE presenter Gerry Ryan has announced that he and his wife Morah are to separate after 26 years of marriage.
In a statement issued through James Hickey of Matheson Ormsby Prentice Solicitors yesterday afternoon, the couple asked for privacy and said they would not be making any further comment on the matter.
"It is with regret that Gerry and Morah Ryan announce their separation after 26 years of marriage," the statement read.
"They remain dedicated to their five children and ask that, for the sake of the family, the media give them privacy at this time. The couple will make no further comment and ask that their and their children's privacy be respected."
The popular broadcaster made no mention of the separation on air during yesterday's show, and had left Montrose before the statement was released yesterday afternoon.
The couple met in college and married in 1982, three years after Mr Ryan joined RTE but six years before starting the hugely successful 'Gerry Ryan Show' on 2fm.
Since then, Mr Ryan has positioned himself as one of the biggest stars of Irish radio, although his attempts to replicate that success on television have not proved as successful.
Friends said the break-up did not come as a major surprise.
Mrs Ryan, a regular in media social diaries over the past 15 years, is also known for charity work. She organised a surprise bash for Mr Ryan's 50th birthday in June of 2006, when 75 guests, including Gay Byrne, actor Liam Cunningham and nightclub-owner Robbie Fox, turned up to lunch at Shanahan's on the Green in Dublin.
The couple were seen out in public together a number of times over Christmas and New Year, including the first night of 'Snow White' at Liberty Hall, with three of their children.
Based in a listed house on Castle Avenue, Clontarf, on the northside of Dublin, the couple have five children, Charlotte (20), Rex (17), Bonnie (13), Elliot (11) and Babette (8).
Mr Ryan recently signed a €100,000 contract with Penguin Ireland to write his autobiography. It is due to be published this Christmas.
Last week, the 2fm disc jockey was named as the second-highest paid presenter with the national broadcaster. Mr Ryan earned a salary of €558,000 in 2006.
His agent, Noel Kelly, could not be contacted last night, and members of Mr Ryan's family declined to comment.
Life of Ryan
> Gerry began his career in pirate radio before joining RTE in 1979.</p>> He is one of the highest paid personalities, earning €558,000 per year.
> He was recently commissioned to write a book, for which he is rumoured to have been given a €100,000 advance.
> He has hosted a number of TV shows -- the most recent being 'Operation Transformation'.
> He is the most popular presenter on 2FM, with 328,000 listeners to his three-hour show every day.
> The couple married in 1982 and have five children together -- Babette, Elliot, Bonny, Rex and Charlotte.