Actress Kate Winslet splits from husband Sam Mendes

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and her husband Sam Mendes have separated after nearly seven years of marriage, it was announced today.

The split, announced by their legal representatives, was said to be "entirely amicable".

The couple - who are "saddened" by the split - separated earlier this year.

Their lawyer, Keith Schilling of legal firm Schillings, said: "Kate and Sam are saddened to announce that they separated earlier this year.

"The split is entirely amicable and is by mutual agreement. Both parties are fully committed to the future joint parenting of their children."

He added: "They ask that the media respect the privacy of the family."

He said there would be no further comment on the matter.

Winslet and Mendes tied the knot in a secret ceremony in the West Indies in May 2003, during a holiday.

The actress's daughter from her first marriage, Mia, was present at the low key event.

The couple's family were not present at the private ceremony, just three of their friends.

They made their first UK public appearance together in 2002 when they attended the premiere of Mendes's second film, The Road To Perdition.

Winslet had been married for little over three years to assistant director Jim Threapleton, but they divorced in December 2001.

Winslet and Mendes became an item within two months of her split from Threapleton.

Mendes's past loves have included actresses Jane Horrocks and Rachel Weisz.

The couple had a son named Joe in December 2003.

Last year Winslet won a Best Actress Oscar for The Reader - after being nominated for an Academy Award five times previously without success - propelling her into the movie star super league.

The actress said she had been rehearsing her acceptance since she was a child.

"I feel like an unlikely hero," she said previously. "I was not the privileged kid things like this could happen to.

"My mum won a pickled onion competition in the local pub just before Christmas and the Reading Evening Post sent me a picture of her holding her jar.

"Well, Reading Evening Post, here's your next Winslet picture."