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Did 'darkness' of making Revolutionary Road together bring about the Winslet-Mendes split?

When the split between Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes was confirmed, commentators attributed the break-up to their working together on the film Revolutionary Road.

The 2008 film, for which Winslet won a Golden Globe, offers a very dark account of a marriage in 1950s America coming apart at the seams.

The seemingly devoted husband (Leonardo DiCaprio) and wife (Winslet) realise that they're not quite as compatible as they had thought. A deadening sense of disappointment and anticlimax clouds their lives together as they contemplate the life they once dreamed of having.

In the film's aftermath, the Mendes/Winslet marriage itself reportedly began to fray. This, though, is far from the first instance of a couple working together and then drifting apart.

Movies make and break couples. In the hothouse atmosphere of a film set, tensions are exposed and emotions unleashed that can't always be suppressed once the cameras stop rolling.

When Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman split up after 10 years together in early 2001, it was claimed by their publicists that their respective work commit-ments had prevented them spending time together.

However, it wasn't so long before their split that Cruise and Kidman had been working alongside one another over many months in intense circumstances for Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut, released in 2001. This was itself a claustrophobic psycho-drama about a marriage coming under intense strain.

Sometimes, movies have helped keep couples together. During her marriage to Jean-Luc Godard in the 1960s, actress Anna Karina used to feel far more stable when they were working on a movie. It was in the lulls between films that cracks began to appear.

Godard would tell her he was off to buy a packet of cigarettes -- and then would vanish for weeks on end. The filmmaker went abroad on mini-pilgrimages to meet famous writers and directors without telling Karina where he was going. "I'd sit and wait in front of the phone. At that time, there were no answering machines," the actress recalled. By contrast, when they were on set together, she at least knew exactly where he was.

Movie stars or filmmakers getting divorced is hardly a shock. It comes with the territory.

Lana Turner, for example, ran through seven husbands.

Nonetheless, the Mendes/Winslet split seems to have taken the movie world by surprise. Alongside the prurient curiosity about what triggered their separation, there has been dismay. The Reading-born Mendes and Winslet may both be Oscar winners, but they weren't a flamboyant pair living their private lives in the public eye. He liked cricket. She was ready to send herself up on Ricky Gervais's Extras. They seemed grounded and self-deprecating.

Not a typical Hollywood couple at all.