Cheryl and Ashley Cole split confirmed by spokesman

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The Independent Online

Cheryl Cole is separating from her husband Ashley Cole, her spokesman said today.

The split follows allegations that the star's husband, the England and Chelsea footballer, had again been unfaithful.

Cole flew back to Britain today after fleeing to the US when reports about her husband surfaced.

Her spokesman, Sundraj Sreenivasan, said: "Cheryl Cole is separating from her husband Ashley Cole. Cheryl asks the media to respect her privacy during this difficult time. We have no further comment to make."

The statement ends one of the most high-profile showbusiness marriages - the couple wed in 2006.

Until now, the Fight For This Love singer, 26, has maintained a dignified silence over reports that her husband had been with other women.

Yesterday she was pictured in LA being comforted by US dancer Derek Hough, 24, whom she met when she recorded her album 3 Words.

Before going to the US, she performed at the Brits, taking to the stage despite her heartbreak.

Before the scandal broke, the Girls Aloud star had spoken about one day wanting to start a family with her husband.

The marriage survived a previous allegation of infidelity, which came 18 months after the couple's highly-publicised wedding.

Two women then sold stories about how they had become involved with the footballer.

Ironically, Cole's career hit new heights - becoming the nation's darling with a judging role on the X Factor - following the reports.

Fight for This Love, Cole's first solo single, was inspired by her battle to fight for her marriage.

But as her relationship crumbled, her career could have been put in jeopardy if she was seen to stick by him again.

The singer had reportedly ordered her 29-year-old husband to leave their £6 million Surrey mansion before she returned to Britain.

She told him his marriage was over by text message, stating: "Move out. It's over", from LA early on Sunday, according to The Sun.

Ann Corbitt, the latest woman named as allegedly having had a fling with the footballer, refused to comment on the split.

She referred all inquiries to publicist Max Clifford.

In an email she wrote: "Please contact my representative, Max Clifford, at Max Clifford Associates in London."

The allegations about Cole and Ms Corbitt were reported in the News of the World.

Ms Corbitt, 28, who works for Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen in the US, claimed the pair had a fling during a pre-season US tour in July.

Mr Rasmussen's office said the local government worker was not coming into the office today.