AFTER months of speculation over their relationship status, TV star Denise Van Outen and husband Lee Mead have called time on their marriage.
The couple, who tied the knot in the Seychelles in 2009, have a three-year-old daughter Betsy together and say she is their number one priority and they will remain friends.
“Denise Van Outen and Lee Mead are sad to confirm they have decided to separate,” a spokesperson for the pair said.
“The couple remain the best of friends, with their daughter Betsy as their number one priority. The family ask for privacy at this time.”
According to The Sun, the couple separated when Lee returned from the States in May. Lee had been attempting to carve a career out in the US over the past year, while Denise was busy working on Strictly Come Dancing in the UK.
The long distance nature of their relationship and their hectic schedules put a massive strain on both of them and they slowly fell out of love with each other. Lee has reportedly moved out of the family home in London.
“They're going their separate ways,” a source close to the couple said. “It's very sad but they have grown apart.
“They hardly saw each other over the last nine months because of their work commitments. The distance just became too difficult to overcome. They have grown apart – and fallen out of love.
“Lee will still come to the house to look after Betsy because he and Denise still genuinely like each other though their relationship has broken down.”
Lee and Denise met in 2007 on the set of BBC1 talent show Any Dream Will Do, where Denise was a judge and Lee was a contestant.
The Essex native went on to win the show – earning him the leading role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
The couple got married \[Ciarda Martin\]on the Indian Ocean surrounded by 12 close friends and family members.
Shortly after their wedding, Denise and Lee announced they were expecting their first child together.
But it wasn't long before rumours about their relationship began to circulate.
“When people first said there were strains in their marriage 18 months ago it wasn't true,” the source continued.
“But with all the public scrutiny it became like a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Their hectic schedules, work commitments meant the couple were spending less and less time together.
Speaking in April, Denise said; “It is really difficult. I started on Strictly in September and we have literally been like ships passing in the night.
“That's what our jobs are like. We haven't spent any proper time together in six months. I'd say this has been the hardest few months out of it all.”