Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes separate as secretly as they married

Hollywood golden couple split up earlier this year, family solicitor reveals

Tom Peck
Tuesday 16 March 2010 01:00 GMT

They are both Oscar winners in their own right, but from now on their statuettes will adorn separate mantelpieces. The actor Kate Winslet and her director husband, Sam Mendes, have parted.

Keith Schilling, of the legal firm Schillings, said yesterday: "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 that there would be no further comment.

The statement was issued after the actress flew to Mexico with her two children, one by Mendes, the other from her previous marriage to director Jim Threapleton. Mendes was with friends in New England. His Bridge Project theatre company had finished productions in New York of Shakespeare's The Tempest and As You Like It on Saturday night.

In 2008 Mendes directed Winslet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road, a movie about the disintegration of a marriage. It was after Revolutionary Road that the couple's relationship is believed to have begun to decline.

In an interview at the time, Mendes said: "We are very happy, but obviously there is a cathartic aspect of making a movie about a bad marriage. When she's acting she looks like my Kate – her face is no different, she's not wearing prosthetics and there's no ageing or anything like that – but she is just a different person. I didn't see her on the set – I just saw the character she was playing. It was remarkable." Winslet claimed that having her husband direct her in sex scenes with her longstanding friend was "weird". Both said they discovered previously unknown sides to the other during the filming of the domestic drama.

Winslet rose to international fame in 1997's Titanic, which was the highest-grossing film ever until it was overtaken recently by Avatar. In 2001, the first film directed by Mendes, American Beauty, won him an Oscar for best director. Last year Winslet won the best actress Academy Award for her role in The Reader, after her sixth nomination. At 33 the she is the youngest actress to have received so many nods.

As Winslet dominated last year's awards season, aside from the inevitable floods of tears the couple appeared perfectly contented. This year she attended the ceremony alone, saying Mendes was at home "babysitting". The couple had not been since in public together since an appearance at last year's Wimbledon tennis championships.

Winslet and Mendes married in secret on the Caribbean island of Anguilla in May 2003. The couple's family were not present; just three of their friends. Winslet gave birth to their son, Joe, the couple's only child together, later that year. Winslet also has a daughter Mia, nine, from her first marriage to Jim Threapleton, whom she met on the set of the 1998 movie Hideous Kinky, of which Threapleton was assistant director. They married in a simple ceremony in Winslet's home town of Reading before decamping to a local pub for bangers and mash. They separated three years later.

Winslet met Mendes when the director wanted to cast her in a play at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London, where he was artistic director from 1992 to 2002. The couple began their relationship two months after Winslet split from Threapleton.

The couple have homes together in New York City and in the Cotswolds, and have avoided flying together where possible for fear of leaving their child orphaned. Mendes was booked on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. After a late change to his plans he watched the atrocity develop from New York's JFK airport.

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