London, May 17 (Reuters): Former Beatle Paul McCartney and his second wife Heather Mills have separated after four years of marriage, they confirmed in a statement today, blaming media intrusion for the split.
McCartney, 63, and former model Mills, 38, who married in a lavish ceremony in Ireland in June 2002, said the constant attention had made “it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship”.
“Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways,” the statement said.
“Our parting is amicable and both of us still care about each other very much.”
In another message on his website, McCartney denied that Heather had been attracted by his multi-million pound fortune. “It’s been suggested that she married me for the money,” he said. “There is not an ounce of truth in this.”
“She is a very generous person who spends most of her time trying to help others in greater need than herself,” he added.
The couple, who have a two-year-old daughter, Beatrice, met in 1999 at a charity event, a year after the death from breast cancer of McCartney’s first wife, photographer Linda Eastman.
“We hope, for the sake of our baby daughter, that we will be given some space and time to get through this difficult period,” the statement said.
The announcement follows weeks of speculation in British newspapers about the state of the couple’s relationship. The Daily Mirror today reported that the split had come about because the musician could no longer cope with the couple’s bitter rows.
“He and Heather were getting on so badly it became impossible for them to sleep under the same roof,” the paper quoted an unidentified friend of the musician as saying.
The Mirror speculated that Mills could receive '200 million from McCartney’s fortune, estimated at '825 million according to the Sunday Times annual “Rich List”.
In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine published before their marriage, Mills said she had offered to sign a pre-nuptial agreement but McCartney had turned down the offer.
McCartney’s marriage to Eastman, which lasted 29 years, was said to be one of the happiest in show business and they rarely spent a night apart. He was heartbroken by her death.