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Don't look back: A hard lesson for stars in love

As another on-off celebrity relationship ends in tears, Rob Sharp reflects on ex-appeal

Love in the limelight never did run smoothly. From Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to Harry Windsor and Chelsy Davy, Blake Fielder-Civil and Amy Winehouse, and now Sienna Miller and Jude Law, comfort can be derived from celebrities' obsessions with rekindling old romances only to see them blow up in their faces.

Even by the standards of the notoriously turbulent world of famous couplings, Law and Miller's relationship, which US magazine People has reported ended earlier this year, was tumultuous. It lasted seven years, saw two courtships, one infidelity and numerous reconciliatory holidays. The pair join a roll-call of other famous figures trying and failing to relight burned-out fires: Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson; Kate Moss and Pete Doherty; Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson.

According to People, the Law-Miller axis finally snapped earlier this year. Miller's involvement with the Sherlock Holmes star, first announced at the time of their 2004 engagement, is widely credited with thrusting her career and personal life into the public eye. But Miller has not had an easy ride. In 2006 the actress, known for roles in Layer Cake and Stardust but always eclipsed by her boyfriend's higher profile, broke off her engagement after Law admitted sleeping with his nanny, Daisy Wright.

"It is mutual and amicable and they are still friends," a mutual friend of the pair told People. "It was an entirely end-of-the-relationship decision. It had run its course." A spokesperson for Law added: "I can confirm that Jude Law and Sienna Miller are no longer in a relationship."

The couple met in 2003 on the set of Alfie, in which Law, 38, played the titular character. They became engaged the following Christmas. Just three years later revelations emerged of Law's infidelity. Wright had been employed to look after one of Law's children with his ex-wife Sadie Frost, with whom the actor's first marriage had been dissolved after Frost cited "unreasonable behaviour". After the engagement was called off the pair were linked to a slew of models, actors and actresses.

But Law and Miller rekindled their relationship 14 months ago. They enjoyed a New Year break in the Caribbean and were reportedly planning marriage, and have been frequently photographed together. While no reason was given for the most recent split, Law has reportedly expressed concern over the time Miller has spent with an "unnamed young actor".

If only they had learned from others' mistakes. Taylor was married and divorced twice from Burton. Perhaps inspired by the success of his elder brother's on-off relationship, Prince Harry is back with Davey. Winehouse was spotted on a date with her ex-husband Fielder-Civil last year. Moss and Doherty, so far, have no plans to reunite.